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The Best Powered Access Solutions for Working in Tight Spaces


28 February 2024

Working at height doesn’t have to be hard, even in the tightest of spaces. Many different projects will require specific MEWPs (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) to reach great heights. Industries of all kinds, from warehousing, tree surgery, roofing and construction to pest control, automotive and exhibitions, will have tight, hard-to-reach areas that need careful assessment of the right MEWPs for hire. With both indoor and outdoor space often being limited, the right access platform is essential to not only adhere to safety requirements but also to manage the task at hand efficiently and effectively.  

Considering the best MEWP for tight spaces can be tricky, with many factors needing to be evaluated, from load capacity, height reach, the size of the access platform, additional accessories and more.  

Well, the experts at GTAccess are here to tell you about the very best MEWPs for working in tight spaces. 


What should you consider?

Before deciding on the ideal MEWP to hire for your job, you must consider several factors to ensure the job is performed in the best possible way.  

Firstly, you should assess the working conditions of the environment you will work in. The most important environmental details to assess are: 

  • The height you need to reach 
  • Whether you are working in an indoor or outdoor environment 
  • The surface you’ll be operating on 
  • Observational hazards such as building edges, power lines, construction equipment and vehicles 

These are just some of the factors to consider, and once your overall situation has been assessed it will be much simpler to decide on the best MEWP most suitable for your tight space.  

What industries need MEWPs for tight spaces? 

The industries that often require MEWPs for tight spaces include: 

  1. Construction and Maintenance: Where there is a shortage of space, such as between buildings, narrow alleys or inside buildings for ceiling or upper wall work, compact MEWPs are utilised for both indoor and outdoor construction and maintenance tasks. 
  2. Warehousing and Logistics: MEWPs are used in storage facilities and warehouses for inventory management, stock selection and maintenance tasks involving narrow and small lanes. 
  3. Manufacturing: MEWPs are utilised in manufacturing facilities to install, service and repair various machines and equipment – often in cramped areas where larger equipment is impractical. 
  4. Retail: Compact MEWPs are used for visual merchandising, general maintenance and sign or decoration installation in retail venues, such as supermarkets and shopping centres. These tasks are typically completed during off-peak hours to reduce interruption in confined aisles and areas. 

There are plenty of other industries that need the right MEWP, but what are the best machines to use? 

The different types of MEWPs for hire 

After assessing your environment, you can now make an informed decision on the machines that best suit your location. But what are the different types of MEWPs to hire specially designed for small, tight spaces? 

PAV lifts 

Our first recommendation for navigating small spaces when working at height is push-around vertical (PAV) lifts, that operate on electrical power or can be handled manually. These are expertly designed for working at height in indoor environments, thanks to both versions being completely free of emissions. The electric versions of PAV lifts can come in several different sizes and reach heights of up to 11.7m. Manual versions simply function by rotating a handle to lift the platform smoothly. 

Both electric and manual PAV lifts can fit through doorways and are effectively utilised in small spaces thanks to their minimal footprint.  

Cherry pickers 

While at first, they may seem like they’re on the larger side, many industries utilise cherry pickers to operate in tight and narrow spaces. A cherry picker is a MEWP access platform used to access elevated areas and they are available in a range of sizes. They can lift workers up and over obstacles to reach the desired location, making them one of the most versatile machines on the market. A worker will stand on the platform that is attached to an arm and manoeuvre with precise accuracy. They are especially proficient for exterior jobs such as maintaining roofing and signage, where many environmental hazards can create tight working conditions. 

Boom lifts 

Stable, durable and versatile. Boom lifts are another great option to choose for working in tight spaces, able to lift weights of up to 454kg and reach extensive heights. Similar to cherry pickers, boom lifts can operate vertically and horizontally, with vertical mast booms offering superior access in the tightest of environments. They are compact and don’t have tail swing, making them a safe option for congested work areas.  

Scissor lifts 

For expert vertical lift access, scissor lifts are your best choice. Scissor lifts are compactly designed for small, tight areas and are one of the most popular MEWPs for hire. If the task at hand involves vertical reach, in indoor environments, scissor lifts will help get the job done. Construction and maintenance jobs can easily be performed safely with a scissor lift and can lift both workers and pieces of equipment swiftly. They can squeeze through small gaps and doorways and be positioned in tight areas thanks to their compact, straightforward design.  


Forklifts are common in warehouses, storage units and distribution centres, and can navigate small and narrow aisles to retrieve and load various pallets and goods, weighing between 900 and 6,800kg depending on the model. For outdoor applications, they are more than proficient thanks to the durable tyres that can traverse even the roughest terrain.  

Electric or diesel? 

All these powered access platforms can be operated on electric or diesel, providing you with versatile solutions for working in tight spaces. The type of work you are going to conduct will help determine which choice will match your requirements.  

Go electric if you’re looking for a quiet, emission-free environment. This is rather useful in tight, indoor spaces where workers will not be surrounded by harmful fumes from the MEWP and won’t contaminate the surrounding area.  

Diesel MEWPs are typically used for outdoor jobs when working at height because their design is often more tailored for rough terrain and surfaces, and their emissions are less harmful to workers. Diesel lifts also tend to be able to reach further heights and hold more weight than their electric counterparts, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks even in the smallest of areas. 

MEWPs for hire with GTAccess 

At GTAccess, we supply the very best MEWPs for a wide range of uses, including working in tight spaces. We supply new and used work platforms to suit a range of budgets from our nationwide depots and provide accredited IPAF training to get workers qualified and up to speed on how to safely operate our machines.  

With our help, you can get the ideal MEWPs for hire to reach heights in the most compact of areas. Reach out to our team to receive unbiased assistance in choosing the best MEWP for your requirements.