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Tampere firm obtains utility model for a lift solution for no-lift apartment buildings
The lift supports living at home and reduces the need for home services and institutional accommodation

The Tampere company Rakennustoimisto Palmberg Oy has been granted right to a utility model they have invented to enable the installation of safe and spacious lifts in 3-4 storey no-lift apartment blocks built in the 1960s and 1970's. Having a lift in the building makes living there much pleasanter, and, especially in the case of the big age groups now becoming elderly, it increases their chances of continuing to live at home for a long time to come. A lift also enhances the value of the property and its competitiveness on the housing markets. Palmberg have also an international patent pending for their product protected AAP lift type.

In the Palmberg Lift Solution built by Rakennustoimisto Palmberg Oy the extension is outside the facade.
High resolution image (1001 KB)
Photo: Rakennustoimisto Palmberg Oy

Most of the apartment blocks built thirty to forty years ago were 3-4 storeys high and had no lifts. They also included many studio-type bedsitters with no balcony. Such homes can easily be fitted out for the use of elderly people, too. However, as residents grow older they tend to justify their urge to move house by their mobility problems and especially by lack of a lift. They go to live in sheltered accommodation, mostly at the expense of the municipality – or to a building equipped with a lift.

Palmberg have obtained a utility model for their Palmberg Lift Solution – i.e. so-called mini-patent. The solution is a totally novel system for installing lifts in no-lift buildings where space is short and the stairwell is problematic for the construction of a lift shaft. The method makes it possible for the lift to be installed by building on to the outside the façade of the building by the stairwell. The old stairwell is refitted and the lift door comes at the same level as the doors of the apartments. The landings are then spacious and safe. A further advantage is that while the lift is under construction people can continue to live normally at home and no modifications are needed inside the apartments.

At national level the problem of apartment building without lifts has been recognised; the Housing Fund of Finland (ARA) and many municipalities subsidise the installation of lifts by up to 60 per cent of the costs. Such funding has enabled the installation of some 200 lifts in the stairwells of Finnish apartment blocks. For example, the installation of a lift in each of the five stairwells of a four-storey apartment building constructed in 1966 and comprising 52 homes is ongoing in Myllypuro in Helsinki. The residents forming the company of owners need to meet 40 per cent of the total costs, making approximately 7,600 Euros per apartment, which, with a 20-year loan, means 53 Euros per month.

The lift is a boon for apartment block residents of all ages. Young families welcome the opportunity to transport prams in the lift. Slightly bigger children need to carry bags of ice hockey equipment. Already today, and especially with the aging of the large age groups, there is a need for more municipal services and care, and in households with no lift there is special concern about the restrictions this imposes on their mobility. Having no lift restricts independent functioning and active participation in a familiar environment, and indeed, even getting abroad. Lifts in apartment blocks on the other hand serve to promote desired and even lifelong residence in one's own home. At the same time the municipalities could concentrate on increasing economically viable services in home care and health care instead of disrupting people's housing histories and pouring money into places in institutions.

Drawing of a stairwell in a three-storey building with no lift
Drawing: Olli Tasanen

Drawing of a stairwell equipped with a Palmberg Lift Solution
Drawing: Olli Tasanen

Further information:

Rakennustoimisto Palmberg Oy
Antti Lakka, Project Manager
Tel. +358 20 715 7152
Tampereen kaupunki
Eeva Päivärinta, Director of Administrative Development Centre
Tel. +358 50 359 3413

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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