FAQ about Accessibility Equipment

Funding Assistance

Q: Does Medicare or insurance pay for residential/home lifts or elevators?

A: No, Medicare and Medicare supplements do not cover these expenses. However, some independent insurance companies will cover part or all of the costs depending on your specific situation (i.e., car accidents or work related injuries). If you think you might be eligible for coverage by independent insurance, we recommend that you contact them ready to give the specific details of your circumstances.

Q: Does Premier Lift Products, Inc. work with county funding or other state funded waivered service programs?

A: YES, Premier Lift Products is a registered MHCP provider for home modifications and adaptations. We are able to bill MN medical assistance directly with a preapproved service contract agreement generated by your county’s social services or public health departments. Please contact your social worker to see if you are eligible for waivered services.

Q: Are other funding sources available?

A: YES, some people get assistance from local charities such as churches, local lodges, the MS Society, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations.

Locations Where Lifts Can Be Installed

Q: Can a stairway lift be installed in a church, lodge hall, or other public building?

A: Typically, NO. The state of Minnesota does not allow any type of lift on stairs in any public buildings. MN does have a state “Access Review Committee” that will review special requests for “alternatives to the code” in certain situations.  Based on very stringent guidelines, they can grant exception, but only on a very limited basis. Iowa and Wisconsin do allow stair lifts in certain limited situations in public buildings such as churches and lodge halls.

Q: Can stair lifts be installed outdoors in Minnesota?

A: YES, for private residential applications only – The current residential code adopted by Minnesota will allow stair lifts to be installed outside as long as the equipment is rated & Labeled for outdoor use by an independent testing organization.

Q: Can wheelchair lifts be installed outdoors in Minnesota?

A: Yes, both residential and commercial wheelchair lifts – The current code adopted by Minnesota allows outdoor installations provided the equipment rated & Labeled for outdoor use by an independent testing organization (UL, CSA, ETL, etc.)  Please note, the code requirements for commercial applications are far more stringent than residential and can add substantial cost to the project

Q: What permits if any are required for a stair lift, wheelchair lift, or residential/home elevator installation? Is a license required?

A: Yes, Minnesota codes require state elevator permits on every lift or elevator installation, both public and private. Iowa only requires permits for installations in public buildings. Wisconsin requires permits for installations in public buildings as well as residential elevators, but not residential stair lifts or residential wheelchair lifts.

Yes, licensing is required wherever permits are required. According to code, all lift or elevator installation work (and service work) must be completed by licensed personnel. Premier Lift Products, Inc. is a licensed elevator contractor (#CE00130).

Elevator permits and electrical permits are the responsibility of the company doing the work. The building owner or general contractor is responsible for a local building permit for any associated remodeling or construction work.

Q: Can stair lifts, residential elevators, or other residential lifts be installed in group homes?

A: YES, if the facility is licensed to care for 6 people or less. Any home licensed to care for over 6 people is considered to be a commercial application and must follow commercial codes…therefore no “residential” lifts would be allowed.

General Questions

Q: What is the typical warranty for stair lifts, wheelchair lifts, and residential/home elevators?

A: Manufacturers provide a limited parts warranty on their products. Depending on the Manufacturer and the specific project, the parts warranty periods typically range from 1 to 5 years. Premier Lift Products, Inc. complements the manufacturer’s warranty by including a limited 1-year labor warranty on our installations.

Q: My stairway has an open railing on the side where I want the lift installed; do I need to build a wall to accommodate a stair lift?

A: NO, Stair lifts are typically anchored to the stair treads, not the wall. So, the wall is not needed. We can install a stair lift regardless of the wall configuration.

Q: How wide does a stairway need to be in order to use a stair lift?

A: Most stair lifts are designed to fit in a standard 36″ wide stairway. When the seat and foot rest are folded, most stair lifts typically take up only 11”-15″ of the stairway. This leaves ample room for someone to pass by the lift when not in use. Elevator code dictates there be a minimum clearance of 20”: when the unit is folded and not in use.  Therefore by using one of the narrower lifts, we can theoretically accommodate a stair as narrow as 31”.  HOWEVER, the size of the rider must also be calculated into the decision as to whether or not the lift will work

Q: Can you use a stair lift on a stairway with a landing or turn?

A: YES, custom built stair lifts can accommodate almost any stair configuration: landings, turns, curves, spirals, multiple angles and inside or outside radius situations. Park positions can be added to move the unit completely off the stairway for easier transfers or simply to have the unit completely out of the way when not in use.

Q: When installing a residential/home elevator, can I remove my stairs and install the elevator in their place?

A: NO – Building code requires a stairway regardless of the placement of the elevator. The only possible exception to this rule is if the home has exterior egress at each level, meaning you can walk outside to grade at all levels.  However, special circumstances should be discussed with your local building official.

Q: Is a phone required in a residential/home elevator?

A: YES – In case of an emergency, a land-line phone is required. It is for your safety – No exceptions!  Cell phones are not acceptable. A phone is provided with every elevator we install; the homeowner is responsible for providing the phone service.

Q: How big is a residential/home elevator cab?

A: The standard size for most manufacturers is 3’x4′ or 12 square feet with a 750 pound capacity. The largest car allowed by Minnesota code is 15 square feet with a lifting capacity of 950 pounds.

Q: Can residential elevators serve more than one unit in a condo?

A: NO – According to MN building and elevator code, residential elevators can only serve one single family dwelling unit.

Q: What defines the difference between a public/commercial application and a private residence application?

A: Simply put, if the building is not a “single family private residence”, it is considered a public/commercial application by the elevator & building code.

Q: What happened to Tri State Lift? Were they affiliated with Premier Lift Products, Inc.?

A: No affiliation Tri-State-Lift, formerly of Owatonna, MN then more recently of Ellendale, MN went out of business in 2009. Even though the two companies had similar product lines and geographic locations, they were never affiliated. Rest assured Premier Lift Products, Inc. stands ready to serve all of your accessibility needs. We can service all of the same products as Tri-State-Lift did and more.