Technical FAQ's

All the Sesame systems are made bespoke so typically any limitation your building presents, we can overcome.

The restraints listed in the technical facts below can even be rewritten so if you cannot find a solution please give us a call and we can see what we can do.

All the Sesame systems have been developed over the years by clients and architects pushing the boundaries with us.

Please click on any of the technical facts listed below for more information.

The retracting stairs

Horizontally retracting stairs will disappear into the void behind your staircase. For no more than six steps, we require a minimum of 1200mm space. This area tends to be underneath the front door of the property so we need to check that the space is available. For more than five steps please see our equation below:

Length of Stair Pit = ((Total Tread Depth from top step riser to bottom step riser – 1555)/2)+1200 Minimum Total = 1200mm.

It is also possible to consider vertically retracting stairs. For this option please talk to our team for help in deciding.

The vertically retracting stair lifts do not require a void behind the staircase as they retract down rather than sideways.

The minimum width of a staircase needs to be 900mm wide in order to accommodate a Sesame lift. This is to ensure that the usable space on the platform is sufficient. The standard size for one of our platform lifts is 1000mm wide by 1400mm deep which is much preferable to the minimum size.

The Sesame stairs can not accommodate bull nosing as when the stairs retract and the lift rises the bull nosing becomes a crush hazard. The treads must be square to the risers.

Any nosing fitted must not protrude above or in front of the tread or riser respectively by more than 1.5mm

The Stairs can be clad in any material. The thickness of material depends on the riser heights (typically 40mm build up on the risers and treads is a maximum).

The steps are driven hydraulically and are supported and contained within a mild steel framework. The steps are manufactured from stainless steel and are designed to accept the specified cladding type and thickness. Each riser height is adjustable independently from 120mm to 170mm. Each moving step is rated at 125kg of cladding. Each stationary step is rated at 240kg SWL.

The width of the staircase can be specified by the client however Crush hazards surrounding the disabled lift usually define the exact width of the staircase.


The on lift barriers

Total riseBarriers requiredLimitations
Rise 0 to 200mmNo barriers or wheel-stops are requiredOnly available in private properties or supervised environments.
Rise over 200mm but less than 1000mm for wheelchair usersA wheel-stop is required. This is a vertically rising stainless steel barrier, 100mm high as seen on our Sesame Waterloo Lift. The wheel-stop prevents the wheelchair from rolling off the lift. This wheelstop does not protect standing pedestrians from falling off the lift. An alternative Sesame system that caters for standing users to travel on the lift is the Sesame Westminster Stair Lift.

The wheelstop system is for seated users only. Ambulant disabled people are often presented with a wheelchair to travel whilst seated on the chair lift.

A barrier 1100mm in height is needed at the upper landing level to stop anyone falling down the void. This could be a rising barrier, gate, manual barrier or a door, please click on the following Upper Landing Barrier link for more information.
For seated users only. This option should not be used for standing pedestrians as the wheel-stop will present a trip hazard to anyone standing on the lift.
Rise over 1000mm & standing usersThe lift must be fully enclosed on all four sides to a height of 1100mm on the lift table. This allows people who are standing to use the lift. The Sesame Pimlico Lift houses 3 rising barriers on the lift table. The Sesame Whitehall DDA Lift uses the surrounding handrails and the on lift rising barrier. The Sesame Windsor Lift uses permanent handrails and an automatic gate.

Again an upper landing barrier is needed to protect the void that is created when the stairs retract.

The lifting actuator

Most Sesame systems use a scissor lift table as the lifting actuator which conforms to European Safety of Machinery standards (EN 292) and Machinery Directive (CEE 89/392). Typically the lifts come with a safe working load of 350kg however this can be increased by special request. Consideration needs to be given to BS 6440:2011 as this limits the SWL to the surface area of the platform lift (the scissor lifts used in most cases are heavily over specified for capacity to increase the stability and the quality). The scissor lift is a mild steel construction coated for external use and the platform that is fitted to the scissor lift is stainless steel for internal or external installation.

For some bespoke designs Sesame may use different lifting actuators such as this Bespoke Stairlift in London.


The underside of the wheelchair lift

When the wheelchair lift rises we protect the mechanism below from view in one of the following ways:

  1. A set of bellows that extend and compress as the wheelchair lift rises and lowers respectively. The edge of the lift is then protected with a safety sensor that stops the lift from lowering when it meets an obstruction. In case of any obstruction, the wheelchair lift must be raised for the obstruction to be removed before lowering again. The minimum pit depth option for the bellows can be found by clicking this pit depth link. Please click on the following Knightsbridge Stair Lift link to view a Sesame lift with the bellows and safety edge.
  2. A solid stainless steel skirt. This option allows the lift table to be slightly smaller as the bellows and safety edges take up more space however this option requires more pit depth. Please click on the following Kensington Stairlift link to view an example of a Sesame lift with a solid stainless steel skirt concealing the underside of the lift.
  3. A solid bespoke clad skirt. Sometimes our wheelchair lifts are to remain in the raised position to act as part of the upper landing level. With this option the underside is then clad in whatever material the surrounding riser wall is made of. Please click on the following Windsor Lift link to view a Sesame wheelchair lift which has marble concealing the underside of the lift.

Drainage for Part M lift pits

Sesame Part M lifts installed externally will require additional drainage within the lift pit. This can be achieved using the existing drainage system, or alternatively with a soak always/ sump pump.

Where a sump pumps is used a separate pit with its own access hatch is recommended to facilitate easy of maintenance.

All external lifts are made from high quality stainless steel and galvanised mild steel to prevent corrosion. All electronic components are IP rated, this does not however cover fully submersion, for example as a result of inadequate drainage within the lift pit.


The stair lift controls

Due to the number of styles of Sesame lifts there are many variations as to how they are controlled:

  1. Sesame lifts with a wheelstop such as the Knightsbridge Stair Lift are required to be switched off when not in use. This is due to the toe guard which surrounds the lift stopping wheelchairs from rolling off the lift platform, not preventing standing users from falling from the lift platform. The switching off of the lift is occurs automatically after the lift is left idle for more than 5 minutes. In addition, after the lift completes a cycle (stairs forward, barrier down) it automatically switches off. This means that the user must have a key to switch the lift on. Regular users can be issued with their own key, and other users can either be issued with a key upon arrival or else can use the optional "Call For Assistance" bell.
  2. Sesame lifts fitted with 1100mm barriers, as seen in the Westminster Equality Act Lift in Ireland 1122 movie, allow users to stand while travelling on the lift. As a result these Sesame lifts may be left on at all times. (on lift controls should be housed in one of the 1100mm high barriers).

Additional Information:

  1. The standard set of controls at the upper landing would include the following buttons and key switches "On/Off", "Call Lift", "Lift Down", "Stairs Forward" (for lifts with stairs), "Emergency Stop", "Emergency Barrier Lower" (for lifts with upper barriers), "Call For Assistance" (for lifts that are switched off when not in use).
  2. The standard set of controls at the lower landing would include the following buttons and key switches "On/Off", "Call Lift", "Lift Up", "Stairs Forward" (for lifts with stairs), "Emergency Stop", "Emergency Lift Lower", "Call For Assistance" (for lifts that are switched off when not in use), "Emergency On Lift Barrier open" (for lifts with on lift gates or barriers).
  3. The upper and lower button stations can either be face mounted to the surrounding walls or fixed to a free standing button post at that level.
  4. The Standard set of controls on the lift would include "Lift Up", "Lift Down", "Emergency Stop", "Call For Assistance"
  5. The standard method to switch the Sesame lift "ON" is using a key however a swipe card system can be added to the button station.
  6. The "call for assistance" receiver location is specified by the client.
  7. When the lift is controlled by a member of staff from a mainframe button station, the control panel can be hidden behind a hinged door.
  8. Private residential lifts can be fitted with remote controls units to wirelessly control the lift, lifts have even be fitted with voice control units to control it.
  9. For an example set of button station drawings please Contact us.


The access lift power supply

Smaller lifts such as the Sesame Mayfair Stair Lift require a 16 amp commando socket supply, with a 240v sources fitted with a type-C or type-D motor-rated breaker. Larger lifts, for example the Westminster Stair Lift with rising barriers on the lift require a 240v Single Phase 32amp commando socket from a type-C or type-D motor-rated breaker.

The socket should be located within the pit or machine room. Our designer will send you a drawing of the exact location of the required power supply. For extremely large bespoke lifting platforms, we may need 3-phase power – our team will be able to help discover what you needs are.

In the case of top step mounting under the upper landing service hatch area of a horizontally retracting stair lift, 30mm conduits will be required from the locations of the button stations and any other associated components to the pit which will be shown on the Sesame issued drawings. When a plant room is required, a 100mm conduit to the plant room is needed from the pit along with 30mm conduits from control locations to the plant room.


Crush hazards surrounding the disabled lift

The maximum gaps between moving parts and the pit should be less than 10mm, generally Sesame designs all gaps to be between 6mm and 8mm.

All adjacent surfaces should conform to the following or else will be deemed to be a potential crush-hazard:

- Flush

- Up to a 1.5mm of overhang/protrusion

-Greater than a 1.5mm less than 5mm overhang must be chamfered at 15degrees.

-Be less than 10mm or greater than 100mm away from a moving edge.

Any projections deemed to be a crush-hazard must conform to the following:

-Be made smooth, continuous and free of overhangs. The continuous surface must then either be moved to within 10m of the lift or moved to at least 100mm from any moving parts of the lift.

- If a continuous surface is not achievable then the crushing hazard must be moved to at least 300mm from the edge of the lift, or the lift table must be fitted with a safety edge.

Local crushing hazards are typically handrails or overhangs on adjacent walls and structures.

NOTE: Sesame designers will provide detailed guidance on these issues.

For Example, if a handrail local to the lift presents a crush hazard as detailed above then the handrail must either be 300mm away from the retracting stairs and the disabled lift, or the Sesame disabled lift should have a safety edge to detect the hazard. If the handrail however does not present a crush zone (a plumb flush solid stainless steel bar handrail) then it can sit either less than 10mm or more than 100mm away.


Pit depth

This is the area under the lower floor level, which houses the platform lift mechanisms. The pit depth is dependent on the rise of the staircase, as per the pit depth chart below:

Lift typeTotal riseRequired minimum pit depth (including cladding and bedding space)
This is the smallest depth that can be accommodated and is required for our Sesame Jubilee Lift or the Sesame Thames Stair Lift0 to 999mm160mm plus the thickness of the cladding.
Horizontally retracting stair lift such as the Kensington Stair Lift0 to 650mm450mm (including cladding and bedding)
Horizontally retracting stair lift such as the Sesame Regent Stair Lift0 to 999mm650mm (including cladding and bedding)
Vertically retracting stair lift such as the Sesame Victoria Stair Lift & Seattle ADA Lift
All850mm for the Victoria & 1,640mm for the Seattle
Rising button box on lifts such as the Sesame Knightsbridge Stair LiftAll1,350mm
Rising barrier on upper landing on lifts such as the Mayfair Stair Lift0 to 999mm1,600mm below upper landing finish floor, or 650mm below lower landing floor when the rise is between 950mm and 999mm
Rising barrier on lift on lifts such as the Sesame Whitehall Stair Lift0 to 2999mm1,800mm below lower landing finish floor (1,600mm on special design)

If you have concerns about pit depth, please contact us – we may still have a solution for you! Our design team can work around pit restrictions to some extent, such as when the area below is used for rentable space. Get in touch and we’ll have you find the correct solution.


Bespoke lifts conforming to European Standards EN 81-41

Our lifts are CE Marked. CE marking is a key indicator of a product’s compliance with EU legislation and enables the free movement of products within the European market.

Sesame lifts comply with the Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC), including the relevant Harmonised Standards e.g. EN 81-41 which is the safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts. Special lifts for the transport of persons and goods. Vertical lifting platforms intended for use by persons with impaired mobility.

The Sesame lifts would be covered in the vertical lifting platforms section of EN 81-41 it regulates short rise lifts with a travel speed of less than 150mm per second. The patented Sesame toe guard or wheelstop, included in many Sesame lifts, is covered within EN 81-41

The British Standard BS 6440:2011 “powered vertical lifting platforms having non-enclosed or partially enclosed liftways intended for use by persons with impaired mobility is very closely related to EN 81-41. As Sesame Access Systems Ltd is a British registered company it is able to export of products to the EU. Any specific requirements needed to comply with domestic codes and regulations can be allowed for during the design stage, as each Sesame lift is made bespoke to suit the customer's exact requirement.

Sesame has issued a Declaration of Conformity to prove we comply with European Standards, including European CE mark. Sesame Access is able to translate our Declaration of Conformity into any European language for local compliance certificates.


Lift Installation

With over 20 years of experience, Sesame Access has developed in conjunction with our partners companies the following procedure to ensure a two week lift installation and prompt handover. Deviations from the following steps may result in delays to the install and practical completion dates.

1) The Lift Pit

  • Pre-install inspection of pit must take place minimum of 1 week before install
  • Sesame cannot inspect the pit until it is finished with all gridlines and datums
  • The pit must be clean, and clear of all debris and other trades
  • Delivery and installation details will be covered
  • See "Pre-Install Checklist" below

2) Lift Delivery and Install

  • The trim/lining of the pit arrives first, and is fixed and levelled
  • The Sesame lift will be delivered via Hiab and if possible, lowered directly into the pit
  • If the Hiab cannot lower into the pit, a gantry crane will be used to traverse lift into position
  • Once in place, Sesame engineers will install the lift and get it up and running
  • See below "Pit-Trim Sign Off", "Standard Install RAMS" and "Data Sheets"

3) Cladding and Commissioning

  • The cladding must be cut to size, and permanent power must be on site to begin the second week
  • Sesame will supervise the cladding of the lift, to ensure all requirements and standards are met
  • The final installation steps, including commissioning and testing

4) Handover

  • All handover and testing documents are issued from the Sesame head office
  • The client must receive training on correct and safe lift operation
  • All Sesame lifts come with a 1 year warranty, and one standard service after 6-month. Click here for service details
The Finished Product

Building works around the chair lift

A structural engineering survey may be required to prepare to pit, as well as civil engineering works to strengthen it with any required structural supports and to prepare the electrics. Sesame Access can provide the structural surveys and undertake all the buildings works for you – the advantage of this being that we can project manage the builders and work closely with your architects to ensure the project runs smoothly.


Sesame wheelchair lifts on a fire exit

We’d ask to speak to your Fire Officer at the start of the enquiry in order to discuss this and get their advice. British Standards state that, in the event of a fire, no wheelchair lifts can be used within the building in case of an electricity supply failure – we can supply battery back-ups with the wheelchair lift to ensure this isn’t a problem, but we would insist that the client has a strict fire procedure in place. Again, every individual case is different, so talk to us to find out more about your options.

Sesame wheelchair lifts come with a 24v battery backup as standard. This allows the user to emergency lower the lift, and any upper or on lift barriers, as well as to emergency open any gates on.


How long is a lift cycle?

Lifts can travel up to a maximum speed of 150mm per second. This gives us the following timings:

* Travel speeds are however usually set slower than the allowed 150mm per second to allow for a smoother lift cycle.


What is the lead in times for Sesame Lifts?

We normally estimate between 6 to 7 months. Working close to the architect and customer our access lifts take approximately eight weeks to design, ten weeks for parts to be manufactured, nine weeks to assemble and quality control, and two weeks to be installed on your premises. We allow one week as contingency between each stage. If you require a shorter time frame, please talk to us and we can see what’s possible.


How do the Stairlifts lifts work?

The following is a list of procedures for one of our more typical lifts know as the Sesame Mayfair Stairlift

1. The wheelchair user approaches the lift, and pushes "Call for Assistance" button
2. A trained member of staff then turns the lift on via the keyswitch
3. A trained member of staff presses and releases "Call Lift" on the upper landing button
station, causing the gate to open
4.The wheelchair user can move onto the lift platform. Once they are safely on
the lift platform, they must apply the brakes on their wheelchair
5. The trained member of staff presses and holds "Call Lift" button. This closes the gate and
instructs the lift to start travelling between levels. Once the lift reaches the upper or lower landing, the gate will automatically open
6. The wheelchair user releases the brakes on their wheelchair and moves off the
lift platform.
7. If the wheelchair user has exited the platform at upper landing, the
trained member of staff pushes and holds "Lift Down" to return the lift to its resting
8. The completion of the travel cycle will shut the lift down, or it will automatically shut down if left idle for 5 minutes.


Cladding the Sesame Lifts

Sesame stair lifts can be clad with whatever material you require – marble, stone, concrete, carpet… anything! The finish of our lifts is of paramount importance to us, so we want to make sure we get it right. Please note that cladding labour and materials are excluded from our initial quotes.

The gap between moving parts should be less than 10mm. When dealing with stair treads that are hundreds of years old, they have often worn down by foot traffic. This means that the gap may be 8mm (less than 10mm) Sesame can work with decreases in gap in the worn down areas. If this is the case Sesame can reduce the minimum gap down to 5mm, but we can only therefore allow for a further 5mm of worn down stone. Any more than this will require the stone to be placed or the existing stone would need reworking by the stone masons.


Maintaining the Sesame Lifts

Every Sesame lift comes with a one-year warranty, which includes one standard service six months after installation. We strongly recommend that Sesame also services your DDA lift after the warranty period has expired. British Standards recommends DDA lifts are serviced every six months by the manufacturer. The engineers who service our DDA lifts are the same engineers who have built and installed our DDA lifts.

The following is a list of the service packages we can offer:-


Call out - Monday – Friday (9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. 5 days a week) excluding Public Holidays

This agreement includes 2 routine maintenance visits annually. Routine maintenance visits will take place between Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.

● Telephone support: Calls received out of office hours will be forwarded to a mobile phone and reasonable efforts will be made to answer / action the call, however there will be a backup answer phone service.

● Email support: Emails received outside of office hours will be collected, however no action can be guaranteed until the next working day.

● Onsite assistance can be guaranteed within 72 hours during the business week.


Call out - Monday – Saturday (9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. 6 days a week) excluding Public Holidays

This agreement includes 3 routine maintenance visits annually. Routine maintenance visits will take place between Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.

● Telephone support: Calls received out of office hours will be forwarded to a mobile phone with full efforts made to answer / action the call within the contracted hours.

● Email support: Emails received outside of office hours will be collected, with a response made as soon as possible.

● Onsite assistance can be guaranteed within 48 hours during the business week.


Call out – Monday – Sunday (6:00A.M. to 11:00 P.M. 7 days a week) including Public Holidays

This agreement includes 4 routine maintenance visits annually. Routine maintenance visits will take place between Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. Servicing out of these hours would cost an additional £1,500.00 annually (4 services in a 12month period).

● Telephone support: Calls received out of office hours will be forwarded to a mobile phone with full efforts made to answer / action the call within the contracted hours.

● Email support: Emails received outside of office hours will be collected, with a response made as soon as possible.

● Onsite assistance can be guaranteed within 24 hours during the business week.

Each Service includes:

Check operation of system

Check operation of emergency lower system by operating emergency lower key.

Check operation of emergency stop switches Check scissor lift operation. Carry out the following inspection carefully

Fully raise the scissor lift to full travel after operating maintenance keyswitch and engage safety prop

Check hydraulic pipework and fittings for leaks or damage, correct as necessary

Check cylinder for leakage

Check cylinder bearings and bearing pins for wear

Check cylinder rods for damage

Check scissor lift pipework and cabling for damage or chaffing

Check tightness of main nuts and bolts

Check for lubrication. Ensure that all joints between moving parts are lubricated and clean

Before disengaging props, ensure that the scissor mechanism and roller tracks are free of obstruction

Check drive chain and sprockets

Check slide systems, clean as necessary

Check limit switch positions and integrity

Check cabling and connections

Check battery terminals

Check solenoid caps

Check all E-stops operate safely

Lifts with Stairs

Check hydraulic pipework and fittings for leaks or damage. Correct as necessary

Clean bottom wheel runner plates

Check tightness of main nuts and bolts

Faulty parts are covered under warranty for a period of a year after installation


How much do your stair lifts cost?

Each of our Sesame stair lifts comes with a personalised quote tailored to you and your needs – our team can go into detail with you and provide you with an in-depth quote that will cover the entire process. Get in touch to discuss your options with us. Get a quote!


Life cycle of an ADA lift

Our ADA lifts are hand made in our workshop in Surrey, Great Britain. The body of the lift is steel, and all components are high quality and built to last. Our oldest lift is currently 17 years old and still in regular use! It’s still in perfect condition. Our ADA lifts are designed to last at least 25 years with regular servicing, and we can provide any necessary support to keep the ADA lift in service long after that.