Just when you thought you have seen it all, along comes the car lift.
Having your swimming pool removed is one big decision, deciding what to do with the resulting space is another. We have previously spoken about how we have put that space to good use. These projects included smart irrigation, xeriscaping and robotic mowers. Just imagine if budget was no object and you asked us to convert that hole in the ground into a car lift. Well, imagine no further. Take a look here at this clever technology developed in Europe.
What is a car lift?
Car lifts are alternative solutions to the conventional access ramp of a garage.
A car lift is installed where, for space reasons, a ramp can not be built or to maximize the space that would be lost by creating a ramp. This results in a greater number of parking spaces.
Choosing a car lift may also be for aesthetic reasons. The lift becomes an alternative solution to the ramp that combines functionality and aesthetics while keeping and dedicating all the outdoor space to gardens or courtyards. The result is an invisible car lift, with a covering roof resembling the rest of the garden/courtyard.
What about safety?
Safety regulations require that the user, when on the platform, holds down the button for the entire duration of the lift’s journey if the compartment is not completely enclosed, i.e. without cabin doors. Lifting platforms for people also fall under the same regulation and are operated with a dead-switch mode when they have no cabin doors.
From the outside of the platform, the car lift movement can be automatic, by pressing a button.
For platforms with railings (or positioned in fully enclosed compartments) it is possible to call the lift from outside by pressing the button from the floor panel or by using a remote control.
The car lift system has perimeter photocells to prevent the risk of crushing anything in its path.
Other safety photocells are installed on board the platform to prevent the risk of shearing and to signal the correct positioning of the car.
A series of safety measures are also present such as a surface camera, color display and on-board LCD touch-screen that allow to control the system area during all stages of movement.
What happens if there is a power failure?
In the event of a power failure the included uninterruptible power supply will kick in allowing the lift to descend and the doors to open even in the absence of electricity.
Systems with people on board are also equipped with an acoustic alarm and telephone (like with conventional elevators for people). The telephone allows the user to contact the operations center to alert technicians who will be able to identify the system from the telephone number.
It is also possible to install a generator which would also supply the required power to keep the lift operational in the event of a power failure.
How does the car lift handle low temperatures?
The hydraulic control unit of the car lift is equipped with a heating probe to keep the system oil warm avoiding the risk of freezing.
In countries with frequent snowfall, it is advisable to install heating pads similar to those used in heated driveways under the roof paving to prevent snow from accumulating.
It is also possible to use special oils suitable for particularly low temperatures. In addition, by setting the automatic return to the ground floor, the amount of oil present in the pipes is reduced, so that the heating probe is more effective.
What about rain?
Rain is prevented from flooding the underground structure by making use of gutters than run around the perimeter of the covering roof.
In the four corners of the roof there are guttering has drains to channel water into the sewer system.
In the bottom of the pit, however, there must be a well with a safety electric pump as backup.
Is it possible to use the space above the lift to park another car?
It is possible to use the roof of the system for both parking and for the transit of another car. The car lift standard roof can support up to 5500 lbs.
For safety reasons, it is not possible to lift the second parked car while parked on the roof.
What materials can be used to cover the roof?
It is possible to pave the roof in any material to contribute to making it totally invisible and obtaining a prestigious finish. The car lift roof can be covered to blend in with the surrounding landscape architecture.
The materials most often used are grass, marble, teak and stone.
So once escrow has closed on that mansion of your dreams and you’re trying to work out where to park your weekend sports car, consider installing a car lift to keep that beauty protected and secure while still being able to enjoy your uncluttered garden.