Lifts and Elevators in Buildings.

Lifts are used to enable transportation between vertical floor levels in a building.
There are various types such as

Dumb waiters.
Passenger lifts
Car/goods lift
Wheel chair stir lift


These are mainly used to move form a few storeys, usually 1 to 3 storey levels. Most malls in Kenya have these.

These are moving stairs. Advantages are that they are not easily filled up to capacity. They also serve as normal stairs when not working/rotating.
They should be located in an easily recognisable space e.g. next to the entrance.
Escalators cost around kes 2m per unit FOB China.

Dumb Waiters.

These are mostly seen in busy hotel kitchens. They are too small for human transport so they are used to transport smaller goods e.g. dishes , clothes for laundry etc. between 2 floor levels.

Passenger lifts.
These are used to transport people/goods through several floor level in a high rise building.
Some are panoramic, with the external side covered with see through glass.
In 1853, Elisha Otis, an American, establishes a lift making company.
In 1887, Alexander Miles, an African American, designed and patented safe lift doors.

Small residential lifts that go between 2 to 3 floor levels cost around kes 500,000 FOB China.
Large commercial lifts costs around kes 2m FOB China.

These have enabled for efficient land use in that people can work and live in buildings that have over 20 floor levels. Times tower has 38 floor levels. Access here can only be make possible through passenger lifts since its not easy to walk up the stairs in 38 floor levels.

Car lifts.

The Intercontinental hotel, Nairobi car park utilises car lifts.

Car lifts can be used to create more ground space in narrow small plots as shown above.

Car lifts move cars upwards/downwards into stacked parking slots as shown in the video below.

These car lifts enable space saving in busy cities . In Nairobi, these will slowly start being constructed once entrepreneurs comprehend the benefits of such.

Stair lifts.
These are used to enable people on wheel chairs access vertical floor levels.

The staircases within the Kenyan Supreme court which have demarcated some space and used ramps for wheeel chairs could use wheel chair stair lifts like the one below instead.

Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684


  2 comments for “Lifts and Elevators in Buildings.

  1. Ronald Mutai
    February 3, 2015 at 2:58 am

    where can i find stair lifts in Kenya?


  2. martin
    May 12, 2017 at 7:38 am

    what lift product do you have for a residential building 6 floors. the lifts will be used for the top three floors.
    also give me the estimated cost and the various types i can select.

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