Inclusive design: outdoor access guidance 3

 

3. Gradients and ramps

Any routes that include a gradient are potentially hazardous and exhausting to people with limited mobility. It is essential to consider slope together with distance as sometimes a slightly steeper gradient over a shorter length may be preferred to a very long ramp.

The following notes are intended as a basic guide and not as detailed specifications. It is essential that any design meets current Building Regulations.

Gradient

1:15 - recommended maximum gradient.
1:20 - preferred maximum gradient.

Length

A ramp at maximum gradient (1:15) should not exceed 10m.

A level resting platform, approximately 1.8m long, should be provided at least every 30m on sustained gradients of more than 1:20 (or intervals of at least 10m on gradients of 1:15).

Width

900mm: minimum for one-way traffic.
1800mm: minimum for two-way traffic.
A ramped building approach should be a minimum of 1200mm.

Approaches

Clear minimum length of 1500mm at top of bottom of ramp.

Use textured surfaces on the approaches to ramps to provide warnings to people with visual impairments.

Handrails and kerbs

Handrails should be provided on both sides. Low kerbs, minimum 40mm height, should be incorporated along the sides of ramps as wheel stops.

Lighting

If used after dark, ramps should be lit.

Protection

Protection of frequently used ramps by a roof overhang or overhead canopy is valuable. Heating cables can be incorporated to overcome the problem of ice.

Materials

Select materials that provide a firm, level surface and are non-slip when wet or dry.

Drainage

Ramps should have a slight cross-fall to shed water.

Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure that ramps remain usable and safe. In particular the removal of debris and clearance of snow and ice in winter.

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Links to more outdoor access guidance

Download Gradients factsheet (pdf 803k)

Also available as Gradients factsheet in text only version.