Ramp buying guide
Many factors have to be taken into account when choosing and buying a safe and adequate ramp or ramp system.
When choosing an access ramp for use with a wheelchair or mobility scooter it is vital to use the recommended gradient in relation to ramp length for adequate safety of the user.
The gradient of the ramp should be as shallow as possible, steep gradients can be unsafe and create difficulties for some wheelchair users who lack the strength to propel themselves up the slope or slow down when descending the slope.
Assisted or unassisted use of access ramps has to be taken into account, a 1:20 gradient is perfect for unassisted use where a 1:14 and 1:12 gradient we would recommend assisted use.
By using our ramp length calculator you can calculate the desired ramp length by using the ramp rise (step height) and gradient.
Ramp Length Calculator
1:20 – The ideal Gradient for a safe unassisted ramp.
For example a 1:20 ratio multiply the height of step by 20 to give you the minimum length of ramp.
6 inch step x 20 = 120 inches (10ft ramp)
15cm (150 mm) Step x 20 = (300cm – 3m)
1:14 – Gradient is recommended for assisted use when access space is restricted.
1:12 – Is the maximum recommended gradient for safe assisted ramp use, this gradient should only be used when access space is severely restricted.
UK building regulations are slightly different with regard to dwellings and other buildings.
Any queries on the compliance of building regulations and the use of wheelchair/access ramps can be found here:
A wheelchair/access ramp will comply with Part M of Building Regulations if it:
Limits for ramp gradients:
|Going of a flight||Maximum gradient||Maximum rise|
- The ramp surface is slip resistant, especially when wet.
- The ramp has a surface width of at least 1.5m.
- The ramp has a maximum individual flight of 10m or a rise of more than 500mm – 0.5m
- The ramp has an unobstructed (including door swing) landing area at the head and foot of the ramp no less than 1200mm – 1.2m in length.
- Landing spaces (1800mm – 1.8m long) and (1800mm – 1.8m wide) are provided as passing places when the wheelchair user cannot see from one end of the ramp to the other or the ramp system has three flights or more.
- All landings should be level, subject to a maximum gradient of 1:60 along their length and a maximum cross fall gradient of 1:40 along their width.
- The ramp or landing has a kerb at least 100mm high on open sides that contrasts visually with the ramp or landing.
- There is handrails on both sides
- The ramp has a maximum gradient of 1:20 at 10m (500mm high)
- The ramp has a maximum gradient of 1:15 at 5m (333mm high)
- The ramp has a maximum gradient of 1:12 at 2m (166mm high)