GSA Courthouse Management Group
Mechanical Lift Analysis
Lift Platform (Independent Element)
This configuration was not utilized at any of the 16 sites visited, largely because it
consumes more courtroom well space than the other two alternatives. The dedication of
15 to eighteen 18 sq ft of area for this function is more than compensated for by
eliminating dependence on the operation of the lift system to accommodate all people
using the witness box.
DESIGN CRITERIA FOR THE LIFT SYSTEM
To solve many of the problems identified during this Analysis, a series of focused and
detailed design criteria must be incorporated into both the U.S. Courts Design Guide and
the GSA Facility Standards for the Public Building Service. These criteria needs to
address effective planning accommodation within the courtroom well environment;
standardization of the platform size and pit depth; and finish and detail requirements for
all architectural elements.
Recommended Prototypical Configuration
The most practical solution, in terms of interface with the witness box and judge's bench,
is an independent lift and enclosure. This design would allow by-pass of the entire lift
system under normal operating conditions when ambulatory individuals occupy the
witness box or the judge's bench. (The RECOMMENDED PROTOTYPICAL
PLATFORM LIFT ACCOMMODATION diagram at the end of this section illustrates the
typical arrangement of the lift, witness box, and judge's bench in this design concept.)
Standard Platform Size
Industry standardization of system components must be accomplished, or GSA will need
to dictate platform size. Concurrently, code/standard agencies must be encouraged to
eliminate railing requirements that presently impact the size of the platform, depending
on the manufacturer's required rail mounting or stanchion placement. Both of these
issues must be resolved in order to achieve uniform dimensions to accommodate lift
A pit is required for the lift system base supports in order to eliminate the need for a
transition ramp between the courtroom well floor level and the platform at its lowest
position, which is always slightly elevated because it rests on the base frame.
HDR Architecture, Inc.