What is the recommended gradient for wheelchair ramps in the UK?

We quite often receive requests for wheelchair ramps from people who don’t really know how long the ramp should be.

Recommended gradient for portable wheelchair ramps in the UK?

As a general rule when using portable wheelchair ramps most ramp manufacturers recommend a gradient no steeper than 1:12 for independent use and 1:8 for assisted use over shorter distances.

A simple calculation for finding out ramp lengths is to multiple the height by the ratio.

i.e. if working on a 1:8 ratio multiply the height of step by 8 to give you the minimum length of ramp.

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Wheelchair Ramp Calculator for a 1:8 Gradient Slope

To find out the length of ramp required to create a 1:8 gradient please enter height of step below.

Select height of step:

Wheelchair Ramp Gradient Calculator provided by Access Appraisals Ltd.

 
Note: always do your own risk assessment before deciding on ramp gradient as guidelines generally say a maximum gradient of 1:12 or 1:15 for public use.

See our full range of Portable Wheelchair Ramps »

Recommended gradient for permanent wheelchair ramps

Update: New Building Regulations from October 2015 – Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M

Read more about Regulations regarding ramps here – Wheelchair Ramp Guidance and Regulations

Length of ramp required to comply with UK Building Regulation

The following table shows the minimum ramp length required to comply with current UK Building Regulations from the Approved Document M: access to and use of buildings, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings

Note: 10m is the maximum length a ramp should be before including a level resting platform of 1.5m minimum length.

Height of Step
Length of Ramp
10cm
1.2m
12cm
1.5m
15cmm
1.8m
17cm
2.1m
20cm
2.5m
23cm
3.0m
26cm
3.5m
28cm
4.0m
31cm
4.5m
33cm
5.0m
37cm
6.0m
39cm
6.5m
41cm
7.0m
43cm
7.5m
44cm
8.0m
46cm
8.5m
47cm
9.0m
49cm
9.5m
50cm
10.0m

 


 
This advice does not take in to consideration the Building Regulations on Wheelchair Ramps which can be found below.

Building Regulations Part M: Access and facilities for disabled people

Note: UK Building regulations are slightly different with regard Dwellings and other building, these recommendations are for “Buildings Other Than Dwellings”.

What is the Recommended gradient for wheelchair ramps

A wheelchair ramp will comply with Part M of Building Regulations if it;

  • Has a non-slip surface.
  • Is 1.5m wide with a minimum unobstructed width of 1.5m.
  • Has a maximum individual flight of 10m
  • Has a maximum gradient of 1:20 at 10m (500mm high)
  • Has a maximum gradient of 1:15 at 5m (333mm high)
  • Has a maximum gradient of 1:12 at 2m (166mm high)
  • For goings between 2m and 10m it is acceptable to use a sliding scale i.e. 1:13 for 3m, 1:14 for 4m, 1:16 for 6m, etc.
  • Wheelchair Ramps Gradient
  • Has top and bottom landings no less than 1.2m and intermediate
  • Landings of 1.8m every 10m.
  • Has 100mm high raised kerbs to any open side of ramp or landings
  • Has a continuous suitable handrail on each side.
  • Has a maximum cross fall of 1:40
  • Has a maximum slope on landings of 1:60
  • Has a contrasting, landings, upstands and handrails to ramp surface.

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