All service providers are required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to take all reasonable measures to ensure that their premises are accessible to people with disabilities. Someone with a disability may need a permanent ramp to access their own premises and/or a portable ramp for personal use.
Are ramps always the answer?
Ramps can work well in many situations. However, remember that propelling a wheelchair up or down even gentle slopes requires strength, dexterity and confidence by the user or their helper/carer. Where there are steeper changes in level a short rise lift or wheelchair- platform-stairlift may be more appropriate. This is not only because of the effort and ability required to negotiate the ramp, but also because of the length of ramp required, which may not fit into the space available.
What should be the gradient of the ramp?
The gradient should be no steeper that 1:12 and preferably should be 1:15 or 1:20. For detailed information on the layout of ramps consult the “Approved Document M Building Regulations 2004” or contact The Centre for Accessible Environments which operates a free telephone advisory service.
Small portable ramps and larger multi-sectional ramps
These may be suitable in situations where ramped access may be required on a short term basis or where a permanent ramp cannot be fitted.
Types of Portable ramps
- Made in a range of materials.
- Two channelling ramps.
- Single platform ramps.
- Folding, roll-up and/or telescopic.
- Multi-section ramps are larger and although they can be dismantled and moved to another site they cannot be considered portable.
Are there any regulations regarding the use of portable ramps?
There are no regulations.
What points should I consider when choosing a ramp?
- What is the height difference between the two levels which the ramp has to bridge? Most portable ramps are only suitable for use over the equivalent of one or two doorsteps or thresholds. Some suppliers provide made to measure ramps and on-site surveys.
- Will the ramp need to be lifted frequently – how heavy is it, do you need an ultralite version?
- If the ramp cannot be left in place due to causing due to causing an obstruction or hazard or possible theft is there space to store it – a folding or telescopic ramp should be considered.
- Will the ramp need to be transported in the car? If so, will it fit into the car?
- Check the weight limit of the ramp – will it be strong enough to support the
- weight of wheelchair or scooter plus the weight of the user and also a helper or carer.
- Are the supporting surfaces of the ramp secure and slip resistant?
- How high is the threshold? Some doors, especially UPVC and patio doors have a high threshold as well as a doorstep. It may be necessary to use a threshold ramp to bridge the gap.
- Users of 3-wheeled scooters need a ramp that can support the front (middle) wheel.
- Ramps should have raised edges to prevent wheels from going over the side.