Have you ever thought of how ramps provide easy access to any building or area? Whether it’s connecting parking lots and buildings, walkways and entrances, or inside the building itself, ramps help people with disabilities navigate these spaces and access facilities with dignity and ease.
At iAccess we’re very particular that ramps are required; the accessibility features adhere to the Australian Accessibility Standards AS1428.1. Read on to find out the accessible features to be included in ramp design, to facilitate equitable access for all.
Depending on the ramp type, there are various gradients recommended for a ramp.
A kerb ramp connecting footpaths to roadways must have a gradient no steeper than a ratio of 1:8 with a maximum rise of 190mm.
A step ramp has a gradient of 1:10 with a maximum rise of 190mm.
A threshold ramp positioned next to a doorway has a gradient of 1:8 with a maximum rise of 35mm.
Meanwhile, the maximum disabled ramp gradient NSW for ramp lengths up to 9m is 1:14
These gradients are recommended so that ramps do not fatigue the persons using them.
Surface slip resistance
Aside from the gradient, another key feature that will help a ramp be easier to use is its slip-resistant surface, especially for kerb ramps or threshold ramps. When a user transitions from a kerb to a roadway or through a door, the floor surface must provide the user with enough friction so that they do not slide down the ramp.
A slip-resistant surface is necessary to ensure users of either manual or powered wheelchairs do not slip in the middle of their ascent or descent. The Building Code at Table D2.14 nominates the slip resistance for ramps between P3/R10 and P5/R12 depending on whether the ramp is located externally or internally.
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. Handrails must be present on both sides of the ramp. 300mm handrail extensions are to be provided at the top and bottom of the ramp flight.
Turns and switchbacks
60-90-degree turns, requires the ramp corridor to be at least 1500mm both in length and width.
For ramps with sharper 90-120 degree turns, the landing must at least be 1540 x 2070mm.
Landings are a resting point for any user, especially when there is a change in the ramp direction. Landings are also encouraged for any threshold ramps so that users can confidently open the door without the risk of sliding back down the ramp. If there is a change of direction up to 90 degrees, the landing must at least be 1500mm both in width and length. If it’s 90-180 degrees, then the width must at least be 1540mm in width and 2070mm in length.
Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSIs)
TGSIs are to be provided at the top and bottom of ramp flights with gradients between 1:20 and 1:14. TGSIs are not required to be provided at mid landings where no additional persons are added to the ramp system.
TGSIs are not required for step ramps or threshold ramps. TGSIs may be required at kerb ramps depending on the general arrangement of the kerb ramp.
After a ramp has been built, it will be further subjected to a test for accessibility, taking note of the following criteria: the pushing force for the ascent and the braking force for the descent needed to be exerted by the user; the time needed to get over the ramp onto the landing; the physical characteristics of the ramp, and lastly the gradient..
If you are a building owner and want equitable access for all individuals, then incorporating a ramp detailed to the ramp Australian standards should be incorporated into your plan.
If these aspects still sound too technical for you, don’t be afraid to reach out to iAccess Consultants for a consultation on Australian ramp regulations and other accessibility features you need to discover and implement for better access for all.