There is now a new way to move furniture up to, or down from, the upper storeys of buildings. Instead of trying to angle furniture around narrow stairs, corridors and lifts, the new system conveys the furniture on the outside of the building.

The furniture goes directly from the window or balcony to the truck below, or vice versa. This means less carrying horizontally (along corridors) and no carrying vertically, i.e. no more lifting up stairs.

The system, which is called a ladder hoist or inclined lift, has been in use in Europe for about thirty years. King Hoists imported a unit into Australia in November 2005 and has slowly been gaining acceptance with removals companies in Metropolitan Sydney.

AFRA-member customers so far include Kent, Allied Pickfords, Grace, Chess Hanley’s, Nuss, Crown Relocations, Wridgways, China Bear, Movements International and David Jones Removals.

Recently King Hoists carried out a time and motion study with Allied Pickfords to see just how efficient the ladder hoist is. The result was that 22 cubic metres of pre-packed furniture and goods had been lowered from a third floor and loaded into a truck in less than one hour. This efficiency means more time can be spent on packing goods and should mean shorter working hours and therefore less overtime work.

The platform of the hoist slides over the top of the ladder and into the balcony, meaning no leaning out is necessary and loads can be lifted off squarely usually. The platform can be made to come down to waist height above the ground or to any height convenient for working off the tailgate of a truck. It can reach up to 10 storeys (33m) and lift up to 300kg.

With occupational health and safety concerns in everyone’s minds, the lift is viable and safe. This is in addition to the clear benefits of less lifting, especially in awkward situations such as narrow stairwells, and less physical effort generally, which should result in fewer injuries and less fatigue.