Do it yourself access ramp: a not so nice try!

18.01.2017
Blog Post
Wheelchair access sign

One of our building control surveyors recently encountered this attempt to comply with the Equality Act. The unit had been split into two and a new shop entrance was created.

Do it yourself access ramp

Despite their best efforts the access ramp provided didn’t conform to the guidance offered in Approved Document M!

Aside from its questionable structural adequacy, it was entirely unsafe for use by anyone in a wheelchair, with a pram, unsteady on their feet or with partial sight, particularly in the dark.

The shop floor was 450mm above the outside ground level against the wall and 550mm at the edge of the ramp and was more than three times steeper than it should have been.

As the door opened both ways the ramp needed:

  • A minimum 1.2m level landing at the head of the ramp, clear of the door swing to prevent a wheelchair or pram rolling backwards when the door opens
  • A 100mm high kerb upstand to prevent wheels from falling off the edge
  • A suitable guarding to the edge to prevent falling
  • Handrails to both sides of the ramp so users can use either hand to stop to regain strength or ease pain  
  • A stepped approach, as an alternative for disabled users strong enough to walk.

The ramp should have measured around 10m by 1.5m wide with a 1:20 gradient.

Consent was also needed from the Highways Department as the pavement was owned by the Authority.

Work continues with local authority building control to ensure alterations are carried out.

Comments

(No subject)

Submitted 3 years 4 months ago

As an architect and wheelchair user, an 18 mm lip at the bottom of a ramp that complies with the regulations means my chair tips over backwards, often into the road.. I face potential danger every day. Smooth transition between surfaces and gradients is essential.

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