With thirteen stores located from Aberdeen to Bristol, Fopp is the fastest growing and most successful independent music retailer in the UK. Its success is based on the simple premise of giving its customers exceptional quality and choice at affordable prices. Mindful of its responsibilities under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act, Fopp makes every effort to ensure that the stores are equally accessible to less able music lovers.
Fopp opened four new stores in 2002, with Glasgow-based architects, Chris Stewart Associates, employed to give them a contemporary design, with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. At three of the sites, Covent Garden, Cambridge and Edinburgh, the retail space and other customer facilities are spread across more than one floor. This meant that lifts needed to be installed to ensure that wheelchair users and others unable to use stairs could get to the upper floors. Leading platform lift supplier, movemanSKG, won the contract to supply the lifts to all three stores.
At all three locations, the lift specified is movemanSKG Companion Prestige model. The Prestige is designed for travel up to three storeys indoors and has a capacity of 400kg. It is a totally self-contained unit, runs on a 240-volt single-phase supply and is supplied with an integral shaft. The lifting platform measures 1500 x 1100mm and is designed to accommodate a wheelchair user and attendant.
Adrian Stewart, from Chris Stewart Associates, explains. "When we looked at the access to the upper floors, the limited headroom and difficulty in constructing a pit meant that installing a passenger lift was not practical. movemanSKG Prestige platform lift proved to be the ideal solution. As it is supplied as a complete unit, requiring very little building work, installation is very straightforward and cost effective."
The lifts are designed to fit in with the modern feel of the Fopp stores. The shafts are constructed from glass panels with stainless steel surrounds. The landing doors are also in stainless steel and are fitted with self-closers as standard. Powered operation is an option. The lift at the Covent Garden store (pictured) has a travel of 7.718 metres and serves three floors. As well as giving visual indication of the floor position on the control console, there is voice announcement at each landing.
The Prestige, as with all platform lifts in movemanSKG Companion range, fully complies with all relevant European legislation and codes of practice. It also meets the specification detailed in Part M of the UK Building Regulations. During the installation of the lift in Edinburgh, movemanSKG technical expertise was called upon. They were asked by the local Building Control Officer to show how the Prestige platform lift met the requirements of Part S of the Scottish Building Regulations and relevant fire safety legislation. A platform lift installation serving two or more storeys and going through a floor acting as a fire break must have its shaft and landing doors fabricated from material rated fire-resisting, usually for one hour. This is a standard option on the Prestige. Suffice to say, the Prestige passed with flying colours and duly received its warrant.
"On the three projects, movemanSKG has performed extremely well. They have come up with very practical solutions to suit the layout of each store. For example, at the Cambridge site, the access door, on the middle floor, is on the long side of the lift." Adrian Stewart concludes. "The installations were carried out in a very professional manner and the lifts were all operational in line with the stores' opening plans."