Stair lift: Do you need a building permit?

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Stair lift: Do I need a building permit?

A seat lift is not an elevator. While a building permit is always required for the subsequent installation of a passenger elevator – even in private homes – stair lifts are generally exempt from this. However, this freedom from approval does not release the obligation to comply with fire protection requirements.

the essentials in brief

  • Installing a stair lift in a private house does not require a building permit. The same applies to assembling one Stair climbing aid with handrail.
  • When installing in an apartment building, you usually cannot avoid getting a permit.
  • However, certain structural regulations must be met in all cases – even when it comes to installing a seat lift in a private house.

Also pay attention to escape routes when installing in a private house!

A seat lift usually does not change the external appearance, nor does it influence the structure or statics of the building. As long as that is the caseyou need to install a stair lift in a private house no building permit.

Exceptions confirm the rule: If it is a listed building in which the stair lift is to be installed, there is no way around a building permit. A permit is also required if the installation is to take place Changes to the structure of the stairs or at the Statics of the building leads. Despite the general freedom of approval, you should therefore also be aware of this Installation of a stair lift In private homes, always familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations of the local authorities.

Stair lifts can pose a safety risk in an emergency. The lift should in no way impair the function of the stairs as an escape route. Therefore, seat lifts in private homes should also be in accordance with the applicable Safety regulations to be built in. This is the only way to ensure the safety of all residents of a house.

The most important requirements for installing a stair lift in a private home are:

  • Minimum running width of the stairs: 0.70 meters
  • Unobstructed route to fire extinguishers in stairwells
  • The escape route remains clear. At best, one person can escape while another uses the stair lift. Although this is not mandatory in private homes, it is still recommended.

Building permits are usually required for stair lifts in apartment buildings

People with mobility limitations have a right to accessibility. According to the Condominium Act (WEG), the installation of a stair lift in an apartment building represents a structural change and therefore requires the first step Consent of the community of owners. In addition to this consent, in many cases you will also need a building permit.

Whether such a permit is required or not is not uniformly regulated in Germany and is the responsibility of the respective federal states. For example, in Baden-Württemberg or Berlin you must assume that you will need a building permit to install a stair lift in a residential building; in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein or Saxony you have a good chance of not needing a permit in special cases. The procedure is varies depending on the community. You will not be spared from contacting the responsible authority.

The following requirements of public building regulations must be adhered to.

  • Minimum running width of the stairs: 0.80 – 1.20 meters (The minimum running width differs in some federal states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Brandenburg.). This means that the delivery person with the stair truck still has enough space to climb up.
  • If there is an additional staircase in addition to the main staircase to which a stair lift can be attached, a remaining width of 0.50 meters is also accepted.
  • Escape doors and escape routes are not obstructed by the stair lift.
  • The stair handrail remains usable without restrictions.
  • The stair lift has an emergency mode that allows manual pushing to the rest position.
  • Use of non-combustible materials – including for the seat cover.
  • Protection against misuse.
  • Sufficient space to avoid or wait for a person on foot.

Tip: Since the legal framework regarding the community building insurance are still not completely clear, you should decide on a stair lift Assembly does not cause any structural damage to the building structure. Lift chairs that cause damage to steps or walls can result in costly repairs that must be paid for jointly by the homeowners association. Get Information about a Lifta stair liftwhich can be installed on a communal staircase without damaging the building structure.

DIN 18065 regulates the minimum requirements

Comprehensive information about the mandatory main dimensions of a building staircase is available here DIN 18065, the German regulations for the planning and execution of stairs. DIN 18065 contains, among other things, all regulations for Minimum width of stairs and the required distances between handrails, balusters and steps. These must not be fallen below even after installing a stair lift. By adhering to these standards, the stairs remain safe and user-friendly even after a stair lift has been installed.

This article covers the requirements for installing a seat lift. To make buildings completely barrier-free, a lift or platform lift is often the better choice. They represent a good one Alternative to the stair lift because there are also platform lifts with seating that can be used like seat lifts. When installing a lifting or platform lift, other requirements and regulations apply than those listed here.

Image credits: Adobe Stock/Robert Kneschke (sorted chronologically or according to the order of the images used in the buying guide)