How to choose the right size ramp for you......
The DDA (Disability Discimination Act) suggests that a gradient of 1:12 to 1:20 is ideal but there are many situations where 'ideal' is neither possible nor required.
If you're intending to install a permanent fixed ramp then it's a legal requirement to ensure your ramp meets the 1:12 to 1:20 gradient specified under Part M of the Building Regulations.
If, however, you are looking for a temporary ramp to enable you to access your home or building, then there is a lot more flexibility regarding gradient.
If you are looking to purchase a ramp for the first time, below are a few pointers to consider when selecting the right ramp for you:
Permanent fixed ramps must comply with Part M of the Building Regulations and to do so, you must ensure that they meet all the criteria detailed below:
These criteria only apply to "Buildings other than dwellings"
a) It has a minimum width of 1.5m
b) Its surface is non-slip
c) It has landings of 1.5m wide at every 10m
d) It has stand up safety edges that are 100mm high
e) It has continuous handrails on the open sides of the ramp, where it exceeds 2m in length
f) It has a maximum flight of 10m and maximum gradient of 1:20 if longer than 5m; 1:15 if longer than 2m or 1:12 if shorter than 2m.
g) It has landings at the head and foot of the ramp that are at least 1.2m long and clear of any door swings or other obstructions.
Please note that this explanation is provided as a guideline – if you need further information, we would recommend reading Part M in more detail
There is a lot more flexibility when it comes to temporary ramps but the key thing is to ensure that you buy a ramp that will offer you the appropriate gradient for your needs.
Assisted Access (There is someone available to offer assistance, if and when required)
We would suggest a minimum gradient of 1:6 but if you have the budget, space available and are able to store and lift a longer ramp, then this could be increased to 1:8
- To calulate the length of ramp (based on 1:6 gradient) - Take height or combined height of steps in inches (e.g. 3 steps of 4 inches) > divide by two (12 divided by 2)> minimum length of ramp required in feet (6ft ramp required)
Unassisted Access (There is nobody available to assist the wheelchair user or the wheelchair user doesn't want or require assistance)
We would normally suggest a gradient of 1:8 to 1:12, dependant on the physical abilities of the wheelchair user
- To calulate the length of ramp (based on 1:12 gradient) - Take height or combined height of steps in inches (e.g. 3 steps of 4 inches) > Total Height of 12inches > minimum length of ramp required in feet (12ft ramp required)
- To calulate the length of ramp (based on 1:8 gradient) - Take height or combined height of steps in inches (e.g. 3 steps of 4 inches) > divide by 1.5 (12 divided by 1.5)> minimum length of ramp required in feet (8ft ramp required)
Other Factors to Consider when choosing a ramp
- Width - Is it wide enough to accommodate your wheelchair or scooter and will it fit in the space you are intending to use it?
- Weight - If you are intending to lift the ramp on a regular basis, are you able to lift the ramp
- Style of ramp - Some ramps fold down to much smaller sizes for transport or storage
*Disclaimer: The information and advice given on this website is to the best of our knowledge, but we accept no responsibility if acted upon, and advise you contact your architect, building control, planning department, highways department and local fire authority if in any doubt.