Not thinking about your ceiling track hoists early enough can have major consequences, increased costs, extended timescales and a compromised finish, to name but a few.
Considering these five factors at the start of your project will make ceiling track specification and installation easier. It’ll also help you avoid the common pitfalls that tend to catch so many architects out.
Many architects opt for retrofitting because they’ve considered the ceiling tracks once the build is underway. Unfortunately, this can be more costly, create delays and unnecessary stresses and strains on your project (not to mention your team!)
One of the main reasons for this is because of the additional structural steelwork that’s required to support the lifting and handling equipment, which can easily add up to 20 per cent to your budget.
If you’ve gone down the retrofitting route and need to factor in the structural steelwork, you’ll also need to think about how to fix the equipment.
Designing the room to incorporate fixing will typically save you between 10 and 15 per cent on installation. It will also give you a smoother aesthetic because you have more flexibility.
For instance, when standard ceiling or wall fixing isn’t possible because of the structural nature of the wall, you can incorporate unobtrusive wall posts. These can be secured to a lightweight partition, transferring the load to the floor and giving you more freedom in terms of room design and layout. This is a major benefit given today’s preference for modular construction over traditional brick and block constructions.
Ceiling track technology has rapidly progressed over the years with safety features, such as intelligent indicators and the DualSafe locking system. But developments aren’t just in features – they’re also in aesthetics.
Today’s ceiling tracks these days are available beyond metallic and white. For example, you can get rails in a range of colours and in attractive wood finishes to complement your building materials and interior design. There are options for concealed ceiling tracks too.
Rails require structural fixing points, which means you need to consider the rail length based on room dimensions and available fixing points.
If you require large unsupported spans, make sure you specify the largest possible rail size (such as nine metres) – otherwise you may find yourself having to retrofit ceiling supports.
Charging capability is also an important consideration with regard to room and system size. When you have an XY ceiling track covering a large room, or connecting to secondary systems, you need to ensure the motor unit can move conveniently – otherwise it causes problems for care professionals. This means you need to consider sufficient charging points or specify tracks with an in-built charge liner (which continuously charge the motor unit).
No advice on hoist specification is complete without discussing health and safety. The hoist system you specify needs to achieve safe and simple rail transfers, to deliver maximum carer and patient security. There have been many recent developments in hoist equipment to support effective, safe and quality care.
Key factors you may want to consider include which systems you are connecting. For instance, are you connecting an XY ceiling hoist system to a secondary system? If so, you’ll need a ceiling track hoist gate with integrated safety features (such as the Steiss DualSafe gate system) to ensure rail transfers are simple and failsafe.
Other key considerations are the curve angles (will the hoist need to turn at a 30 degree angle, a 90 degree angle or somewhere in between?), as well as suitability for wet and dry environments, as required.