How Long Should A Wheelchair Ramp Be For Steps? A Buyers Guide
Installing a wheelchair ramp is a great way to improve you or your loved one’s quality of life should a wheelchair be required as a mobility aid.
And as anyone in a wheelchair would know, unfortunately, the world isn't designed to be 100% friendly for wheelchair users!
Wheelchair ramps offer a means of access for those of us that can't use steps. But with so many ramp lengths on the market, how do you know which length is right?
Before we get started, it’s important to consider the length and gradient of the ramp. So, how long should a wheelchair ramp be for steps? The Australian Standards 1428.1 - 2009 is a great place to start.
What Are The Australian Standards 1428.1 - 2009?
The Australian Standards 1428.1 – 2009 provide design requirements for new building works. The standards are used by designers and builders so that they can ensure they’re providing access for people with disabilities and impaired mobility. The Australian Standards 1428.1 – 2009 adhere to the Building Code of Australia and Disability Standards.
Okay, but what does all this mean for you? Well, the Australian Standards only apply to commercial building applications. This means that they’re not mandatory if you’re installing a wheelchair ramp for a home. Therefore, the residential wheelchair ramp slope requirements are a little more flexible. In saying that, it’s still a good idea to follow the Australian Standards to ensure your ramp is installed safely.
The Maximum Slope For A Wheelchair Ramp
Now that we know what the Australian Standards are, let’s look at how it applies to you. The ideal length of a wheelchair ramp will depend on the height of the step or level change. So, rather than providing you with a specific length, we talk in terms of the gradient (or required slope for wheelchair ramp).
When the overall height of the step is <35mm, the maximum gradient is 1:8. This typically applies to doorways and raised landings and a threshold ramp is often used. If the overall height is between 35mm and 190mm, the maximum gradient is 1:10, and this is considered a step ramp. If the height is greater than 190mm, the max gradient is 1:14, and this is considered a high step ramp.
If you’re looking for a ramp to go into a public building, the requirements become a little more complex as they have to meet all the criteria outlined in the AS1428.1. In this case, we recommend getting in touch with a disability access consultant.
What About The Occupied Vs Unoccupied Wheelchair Ramp Requirements?
The ideal slope for a wheelchair ramp also depends on whether or not the wheelchair is occupied. If an individual will be sitting in a wheelchair, it’s always best to stick to an angle of less than 10%. If the wheelchair will be unoccupied, the angle of the ramp can be up to 12 – 13 degrees.
Angles of up to 12 and 13 degrees are commonly found in van and vehicle wheelchair ramps. This is because there is often quite a difference in height between the ground and vehicle, so it’s more practical to load the wheelchair while it’s unoccupied.
Find The Perfect Wheelchair Ramp At Ramp Champ
Whether you need a threshold ramp, portable ramp, vehicle ramp or custom-made ramp – Ramp Champ will help you find the right length and gradient. You can also check our guide in choosing the perfect wheelchair ramp for you or your loved ones or take the mobility ramp quiz to get started.
And if you’re still not sure, we’d love for you to get in touch. Contact our friendly team and we’ll happily point you in the right direction.