Wheelchair ramps and level threshold doors

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Wheelchair ramps and level threshold doors

Wheelchair ramps and level threshold doors

Part M of the Building Regulations “Access to and use of buildings” has been around for a good few years now. New houses are built to help with access to your home if you are in a wheelchair. Wider openings, level threshold doors and wheelchair ramps help access your home. Inside your house wider internal doors and corridors, a downstairs toilet big enough for a wheelchair, lower level light switches etc were all designed in, to improve the lifestyle of a disabled person or indeed to help with old age, something we cannot avoid forever.

Older Housing accessibility issues

Sadly as mentioned above old age gets to us all in the end and instead of moving more people are looking to adapt their current home. Wider openings to enable wheelchair access with level thresholds doors is a common requirement for older housing stock. We at KJM have been involved in many projects to help this issue, so can other both the level threshold doors, the builder for ramps or even wet-rooms!

Level Threshold Doors

Level thresholds

“Level Threshold: A threshold that is level or, if raised, has a total height of not more than 15mm, a minimum number of up-stands and slopes and with any upstands higher than 5mm chamfered.”

Most of our door range is available with cill and thresholds details that help with access. Noteable exceptions are most sliding patio and bi-folding doors. Even these types are available with lower thresholds, however most do not stand-up to the UK’s weather extremes

An example of wheelchair access threshold on a composite door

Level thresholds and external drainage

A look at the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) website shows the following guidance diagram for level threshold external doors

threshold external doors

A word of caution though with wheelchair accessible doors, they do not generally come with a severe weather rating, so the external drainage is very important to stop flooding or ecessive water ingress into the home. The following guidance has been issued for drainage

  • Install an external landing with a fall of between 1:40 and 1:60.
  • Ensure water falls away from the doorway in a single direction, and make sure there are no cross falls.
  • Ensure the channel discharges to a drainage system or permeable field drain.
  • Build a drainage channel between the landing and the threshold
  • Provide further drainage if the threshold is likely to experience extreme weather conditions.
  • Install a drainage channel at the junction of the ramp and landing to avoid ponding and any storm water reaching the threshold.

Wheelchair door threshold FAQ’s

Can a wheelchair fit through a 900mm door?

Older housing in the UK before the new regulations were typically around 925mm wide. This measurement was the external frame width, so really offers no guide of how easy it would be to get a wheelchair through the door. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) regulations mandate that doorways in accessible buildings should be wide enough to accommodate individuals with disabilities. The minimum clear opening disabled door width for DDA compliance is typically around 850mm to 900mm. In essence the clear opening should be wide enough for a wheelchair user to access a property.

What is the maximum threshold for a Part M or DDA compliant door?

15mm – The maximum upstand of 15mm upstand at the door threshold with additional sloping transition elements, such as a small internal ramp and external cill, may be provided either side of the upstand. The maximum slope on ramps and cills should be 15 degrees

What is the recommended slope for a wheelchair ramp in the UK?

1:12 – Best practice is to have a slope of one in twelve. This standard aligns with the Building Regulations and recommends that ramps have a maximum gradient of 1:12 meaning for every 12 units of horizontal distance, there is 1 unit of vertical rise. The provision of handrails on both sides of the ramp for gradients steeper than 1:20

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