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Recommended gradient for 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
What is the recommended gradient for wheelchair ramps?
We quite often receive requests for wheelchair ramps from people who don’t really know how long the ramp should be to be safe on the step they are tying to make accessible.
As a general rule 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 1:12 ratio multiply the height of step by 12 to give you the minimum length of ramp.
6″ step x 12 = 72″ (6ft ramp)
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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.
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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.
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.
- 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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