Accessible Ramp | Code Requirements EXPLAINED – Building Code Trainer (2022)

Accessible Ramp | Code Requirements EXPLAINED – Building Code Trainer (1)

When it comes to construction related accessibility standards associated with buildings, facilities, and their sites, the International Building Code (IBC) contains provisions that set forth accessibility requirements.

Chapter 11 of the IBC contains scoping provisions for accessibility such as determining what is required, where it’s required, and how many are required to be accessible. As for the technical provisions such as how to achieve compliance, the IBC uses ANSI A117.1 as the reference standard to be designed and constructed in accordance with.

The IBC requires sites, buildings, structures, facilities, elements, and spaces (whether temporary or permanent), to be accessible to individuals with physical disabilities by being designed and constructed in accordance with the International Building Code (IBC) and ANSI 117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.

With that said, a Ramp is a common feature that provided access from one area to another. When an accessible route is required, a ramp can be provided given it complies with the technical requirements of Section 405 of ANSI A117.1.

We will look into the following features of what makes a ramp accessible, such as:

  1. Ramp Slope
  2. Ramp Width
  3. Ramp Rise
  4. Ramp Landings
  5. Ramp Handrails
  6. Ramp Edge Protection

Let’s begin…

Ramp Slope

A ramp can be defined by having two slopes that determine if it is an accessible ramp. The running slope and the cross slope. The running slope is the slope of the ramp that is parallel to the direction of travel, and the cross slope is the slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel.

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Ramp Running Slope

The maximum running slope of a ramp run cannot exceed a ratio of 1:12. Basically 8.33%. Any ramp having a slope steeper than this is not considered an accessible ramp and cannot be used as part of an accessible route.

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There is a minimum slope of a ramp as well. Basically in order to be considered a ramp it must have a slope greater than 5% (1:20). The reason for this is if the slope of the walking surface is less than 5%, it is not considered a ramp therefore all of the features associated with a ramp, such as handrails, edge protection, width, rise, etc…, is not required.

At this point a walking surface less than a 5% slope is considered just that, a walking surface and walking surfaces must comply with Section 403 of ANSI A117.1.

Ramp Cross Slope

Now for the cross slope. The cross slope is the slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel. This maximum cross slope of a ramp run cannot exceed a ratio of 1:48, basically 2%. A ramp having a cross slope steeper than this is not allowed and is not considered to be accessible.

Ramp Width

An accessible ramp must maintain a minimum width in ordered to be considered accessible. The clear width of a ramp run must be a minimum 36 inches. Similar to stairs, ramps also have handrail requirements however for accessible ramps, handrails and their supports shall not project into the minimum width that is required for a ramp.

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Ramp Rise

A ramp run is considered the sloped part of a ramp and the ramp run does not include the landing required for the ramp. Basically a ramp is made up of a ramp run and its landings. This being said a ramp run can only take you up an elevation of 30 inches maximum before it has to end or a intermediate landing is provided to start another ramp run which also cannot exceed 30 inches in rise.

Ramp Landing

As for the landing of a ramp, the slope, width, and length must be considered. Also a landing is required at both the top and bottom of a ramp run.

Landing Slope

The slope of a landing must not be steeper than a ratio of 1:48, basically 2%.

Landing Width

The width of a landing must be at least as wide as the ramp run that leads to the landing. If a ramp run is 36 inches in width, the landing also must be 36 inches in width. If the ramp run is 48 inches in width, the landing also must be 48 inches in width, and so on.

Length of Landing

As for the required length of a landing, it shall be a minimum 60 inches in length.

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Change in Direction

Sometimes a ramp will be designed so that is turns rather than just having a straight rise alone. If this is the case, the intermediate landing at ramps that change direction must be sized to provided a turning space as required by Section 304.3. This section basically requires a 60 inch diameter clear space to turn safely in a wheelchair. Therefore when a ramp has a change in direction, the intermediate ramp landing must be a minimum 60 inches by 60 inches in size.

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Doorways Adjacent to Landings

When there is a doorway adjacent to a ramp landing, the maneuvering clearance for the door is allowed to overlap the landing. If the door can be locked then the landing must be provided with a turning space that is 60 inches. Basically the landing that is adjacent to a lockable door must be a minimum 60 inches by 60 inches in size.

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Wet Conditions

Landings that occur in places resulting in wet conditions must be designed such that water cannot accumulate.

Ramp Handrails

Handrails are an important feature of an accessible ramp and they are required for ramps with a rise greater than 6 inches. The handrail requirements are found in Section 505.

According to Section 505, handrails are required on both sides of ramps. They shall be continuous within the full length of each ramp run. The top of the handrail shall be location a minimum 34 inches to a maximum 38 inches above the ramps surface. A clearance of 1-1/2 inches minimum must be provided between the gripping surface of the handrail to any adjacent surface.

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Handrails must also extend beyond the ramp run at both the top and bottom. They shall extend over the landing a minimum 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp run.

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As for the size of the handrail itself, there are two types: Circular and Noncircular.

For circular handrails, the cross section shall have an outside diameter of 1-1/4 inches minimum to 2 inches maximum.

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For noncircular handrails, the cross section shall have a perimeter dimension of 4 inches minimum to 6-1/4 inches maximum while having a cross section dimension of 2-1/4 inches maximum.

Accessible Ramp | Code Requirements EXPLAINED – Building Code Trainer (10)

Ramp Edge Protection

Edge protection shall be provided on each side of a ramp run and at each side of a ramp landing. This can be achieved in three ways. Either by an extended floor surface, a curb, or a barrier.

Extended Floor Surface

If the floor surface of a ramp run or ramp landing extends a minimum 12 inches beyond the inside face of the ramps handrail, then this shall meet the edge protection requirement.

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Ramp Curb or Ramp Barrier

A curb or barrier can be provided as well in lieu of extending the floor surface.

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Curb

If a curb is used to provide edge protection, it must be a minimum 4 inches in height.

Accessible Ramp | Code Requirements EXPLAINED – Building Code Trainer (12)

Barrier

If a barrier is used to provide edge protection, it must be construction such that it prevents the passage of a 4 inch diameter sphere within 4 inches of the floor. This is commonly achieved by adding horizontal railing above the floor as shown.

Accessible Ramp | Code Requirements EXPLAINED – Building Code Trainer (13)

Edge Protection Exceptions

There are however several exceptions to not provide edge protection at specific locations.

  1. Edge protection is not required for ramps that do not require handrails and that have the side of the ramp flared a maximum slope of 1:10 (10%). This is basically a curb ramp.
  2. Edge protection is not required on the side of a ramp landing that serves or receives a ramp run or stairway.
  3. Edge protection is not required on the side of a ramp landing that has a vertical drop of 1/2 inch maximum within 10 inches horizontally from the landing.
  4. Edge protection is not required on the side of a ramped aisle when the ramp is providing access to an adjacent seat and aisle access way.

This concludes the accessible ramp requirements as outline in the ANSI 117.1-2009 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities as referenced in the 2015 International Building Code (IBC).

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FAQs

What is the legal requirement for a disabled ramp? ›

All surfaces should be slip-resistant. 9.8 Ramps should be at least 1.2 m wide, or 1.8 m to allow wheelchairs or prams to pass in buildings heavily used by people with mobility difficulties. Where ramps are longer than 10 m a resting platform should be provided where the ramp turns.

What does a 1/20 ramp mean? ›

For the parts of an accessible route that aren't a ramp, the maximum running slope allowed is 1:20. That means for every inch of height change there must be at least 20 inches of route run. The distance from the bottom edge of the level to the surface should be no more than 1.2 inches (1.2:24 = 1:20).

What is an accessibility ramp? ›

A wheelchair ramp is an inclined plane installed in addition to or instead of stairs. Ramps permit wheelchair users, as well as people pushing strollers, carts, or other wheeled objects, to more easily access a building, or navigate between areas of different height.

What gradient should a disabled ramp be? ›

- Minimum slope for hand-propelled wheelchair ramps should be 1" of rise to every 12" of length (4.8 degree angle; 8.3% grade). - Minimum slope for power chairs should be 1.5" rise to 12" length (7.1 degree angle; 12.5% grade). - Minimum width should be 36" (inside rails) - (48" is ideal).

What slope is not considered a ramp? ›

With a slope less than 5% it is not considered a ramp and therefore does not need handrails.

Why do we have regulations for building wheelchair ramps? ›

These Building Regulations are mainly there to help the Mobility Impaired, especially those in wheelchairs, but some of these also help the Blind, or Visually Impaired and some regulations are made specifically for the Blind.

What does 1/14 mean for a ramp? ›

Landings or circulation spaces are provided at changes of direction, doors or gates. Maximum slope of a ramp that is longer than 1900mm is 1:14. Regularity of landings on ramps depends on the slope 1:14 (at least every 9m), 1:20 (at least every 15m).

What is the ADA standard for ramps? ›

An ADA curb ramp must have no more than a 1:12 ratio, or no greater than a 8.33% slope. The ADA also requires slopes to be consistent from end to end; a ramp must have a uniform slope. There are only a few exceptions to this rule, which are dependent on building materials.

How is handicap ramp calculated? ›

According to ADA standard, you'll need a ramp of 1 foot per inch of rise height. For example, if your rise is 20 inches, your ramp length is 20 feet.

What is ADA slope requirements? ›

To get the right safety features The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says it must be set at a Pitch of 1:12. This means that for every 1 inch of rise or step height there must be at least 1 foot length of ramp.

What is maximum slope for ADA ramp? ›

Any part of an accessible route with a slope greater than 1:20 shall be considered a ramp and shall comply with 4.8. The least possible slope shall be used for any ramp. The maximum slope of a ramp in new construction shall be 1:12. The maximum rise for any run shall be 30 in (760 mm).

How long can an ADA ramp be without a landing? ›

What is the maximum allowable slope for an ADA accessible ramp? The maximum allowable slope in any new construction is 1:12 with a maximum rise of 30” | 76.2 cm and a maximum horizontal run without a landing of 30' | 9.14 m.

How do you calculate the slope of a handicap ramp? ›

Calculating the Slope

Divide the length of the wheelchair ramp by the height. This will be the second number in your ratio. The first number is always one. If the ramp measures 12 feet long and the rise is 2 feet, you would divide 12 by 2 to get 6, and your ratio would be 1 to 6.

What angle should an access ramp be? ›

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.

What percent slope is ADA compliant? ›

For new construction (when the curb ramp was built after January 26, 1991), the running slope of the ramp run must not exceed 8.33 percent. For alterations (when the curb ramp was altered after January 26, 1991), the slope must not exceed 10 percent for a 6-inch rise or 12.5 percent for a 3-inch rise.

Do ADA ramps need handrails? ›

ADA ramps that have a rise of 6 inches or less may have a handrail on one side only. The top surface of the ramp handrail must be 34-38 inches above the ramp and continuous along the entire length of the ramp. If the rise is greater than 6 inches, then an ADA-compliant handrail is required on both sides.

Does handicap ramp have to have rails? ›

ADA Compliant: In section 4.8 of the ANSI A117. 1 specification, handrails are required on both sides of the ramp if the ramp run is higher than 6 inches and the ramp is longer than 72 inches.

Do all ramps need railings? ›

Ramps having slopes steeper than 1:20 require handrails. Ramps with a rise greater than 6” require handrails. Handrails must be 34” - 38” in height measured above the walking surface. Handrails must extend at least 12” beyond the top and bottom of any ramp run.

Is wheelchair access a legal requirement? ›

Businesses have an obligation - both legal and moral - to make as their premises as accessible as they can for those with disabilities.

Is 1 20 a ramp or walkway? ›

The minimum gradient for a walkway to be considered a ramp, according to AS 1428.1- 2009, is 1:20.

What is a 1 to 12 slope? ›

1:12 slope ratio (ADA Recommended) means that for every inch of rise, you will need one foot of ramp. As an example, a 12 inch rise would require a 12 foot ramp to achieve a 1:12 ratio.

Do 1/20 ramps need a handrail? ›

Handrails are required to be provided for step ramps and for ramps with gradients between 1:20 and 1:14. These handrails assist the user with stability and guidance.

How long should a ramp be for 3 steps? ›

Here are some factors that should be considered: Stairs typically run about 7.5 inches high each so for three stairs a standard rise or height would be about 22 inches. The ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] recommends 1 foot for ramp for every one inch of rise.

How do you calculate a 2% slope? ›

To calculate percent slope, divide the difference between the elevations of two points by the distance between them, then multiply the quotient by 100. The difference in elevation between points is called the rise. The distance between the points is called the run. Thus, percent slope equals (rise / run) x 100.

How do you determine ramp length? ›

How long of a ramp should I buy? Determining Ramp Length: Measure total rise (how many inches from lower level to upper level) and divide by the slope.

What is a 1 in 10 slope? ›

By rounding to the nearest digit, the degree value will be 6 . Hence, 6 degrees is the angle of 1 in 10 slope.

How steep can a ramp be? ›

The maximum recommended slope of ramps is 1:20. Steeper slopes may be allowed in special cases depending on the length to be covered (fig. 4). Ramps should be provided with landings for resting, maneuvering and avoiding excessive speed.

How often do I need a landing on a ramp? ›

Number of Resting Platform Landings

Following the ADA ramp requirements, the maximum rise for a single ramp run is 30 inches. That means that maximum length is 30 feet, so one additional platform landing is required for every additional 30 feet of ramp.

How steep is too steep for a ramp? ›

The Life Safety Code allows some classes of ramps to have a slope as steep as 1:8 (7.1 degrees). Both the Life Safety Code and the National Safety Council recommend that ramp slopes do not exceed 7 degrees.

How long should my ramp be UK? ›

The equation is very simple! When choosing a portable access ramp take the vertical measurement from ground level to door and multiply by 6 to get the correct ramp length. For example, if your threshold height is 15cm, then your ramp will need to be 90cm (3ft) long (15 x 6 = 90).

What is the minimum width of a disabled ramp? ›

Wheelchair ramps for public use should be 1500mm wide or more. Ramps for dwellings should have a minimum width of 900mm. These are minimum requirements set out by the Buildings Regulations. Wheelchair ramps for public use should be 1500mm wide or more.

What is a DDA compliant ramp? ›

DDA-Compliant Ramps

Ramps should follow certain specifications to accommodate both to DDA standards and user convenience. For instance, a step ramp that traverses a single step should not be longer than 1,900 millimetres. A DDA ramp gradient should also not exceed 1:10.

Do buildings have to be wheelchair accessible UK? ›

The Equality Act 2010 requires all buildings to have disabled access. There is a misconception that Listed Buildings are exempt from requiring wheelchair access, due to the historic nature of the building.

What is the formula for a ramp? ›

Slope expressed as a percentage = (h/d) x 100

An existing ramp of 1 meter in height with a horizontal distance of 10 meters, will have a slope of 10%.

What is the maximum allowed length of a ramp? ›

Following the ADA ramp requirements, the maximum rise for a single ramp run is 30 inches. That means that maximum length is 30 feet, so one additional platform landing is required for every additional 30 feet of ramp.

What does 1/14 mean for a ramp? ›

Landings or circulation spaces are provided at changes of direction, doors or gates. Maximum slope of a ramp that is longer than 1900mm is 1:14. Regularity of landings on ramps depends on the slope 1:14 (at least every 9m), 1:20 (at least every 15m).

Do all ramps need railings? ›

Ramps having slopes steeper than 1:20 require handrails. Ramps with a rise greater than 6” require handrails. Handrails must be 34” - 38” in height measured above the walking surface. Handrails must extend at least 12” beyond the top and bottom of any ramp run.

How wide should my ramp be? ›

Ramp Width

The minimum inside width between the opposing handrails must be at least 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair. This means the ramp must be built at least 42 inches wide to allow for the 1-1/2-inch spacing between the handrail and any surface and the actual 1-1/2-inch handrail.

Is DDA a legal requirement? ›

In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) made it mandatory for all establishments and service providers that are open to the public to take reasonable steps provide access for disabled people.

Does a disabled ramp need a handrail? ›

Steps must have:

A handrail if there are three or more risers.

Does a 1/20 ramp need landings? ›

A ramp with a slope between 1:16 and 1:20 can have a horizontal run up to 40' (12.19 m) before requiring a landing.

What is Regulation 4 of the Building Regulations? ›

Regulation 4 states that building work should be carried out in such a way that, when work is complete: a. For new buildings or work on a building that complied with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations: the building complies with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations.

What is M4 compliance? ›

M4(1): Category 1 – Visitable dwellings. Compliance with this requirement is achieved when a new dwelling makes reasonable provision for most people, which includes wheelchair users to access and enter the dwelling, and access habitable rooms and sanitary facilities on the entrance level.

What is Part M of the Building Regulations? ›

Part M Regulations ensure that buildings are accessible, not only to disabled people, those with limited mobility and wheelchair users, but also to people who regularly use prams and other wheeled devices.

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