Minimum Width After Chair Lift Installation

stairway chair lift width between wall and lift building code design

As a general rule of thumb, there must be a clear passage between the chair lift of no less than 20 inches. This would be the distance in between the finished wall and the chair lift at any point of its travel, moving up or down the stairway.


Reference: 2012 International Building Code - 1009.4 page 253

If the chair or seat of the lift can be folded up, then the minimum 20 inch clear passage measurement can be taken while the seat is in the folded up position. If the seat of the lift cannot fold up and is going to be permanently down, then the clear passage measurement must be measured from the front edge of the seat as shown in the illustration below.

This building code basically applies to residential buildings and refers to groups R-2 and R-3 only.

minimum distance required by building code for chair lift to finished wall

Attention: Don't forget to check with your local building department to verify any building codes on this website. This information could be incorrect or outdated. Building codes are updated regularly and to some building departments have different interpretations for certain building codes.