Chart of different gradients of a ramp and the difficulties of a person uisng a wheelchair to use independently the ramp when it is more than 5% gradient
© CBM 2015

Building a ramp, to overcome barriers such as stairs or steep entrances to buildings, WASH facilities and or other services, does not necessary need excessive investment but a good preparation and planning.

A ramp is required if there is a difference between ground level inside and outside the facility in order to make the entrance accessible (pictures below shows examples of different types of ramps depending on context and construction).

  • The recommended gradient for a ramp is 1:20 (5%). The length of the ramp thus should not be less than 10 metres if the gradient is 1:20;
  • If technically unavoidable, the gradient may be increased to a maximum of 8% (1:12). The length of the ramp should not be less than 2 metres if the gradient is 1:12;
  • Landing areas shall be provided at the top and the bottom of the ramp with a minimum floor space of 150 cm x 150 cm. 
  • Handrails are provided on both sides of the ramp at 70 cm and 90 cm from the ramp level;
  • The width of the ramp should be at least 90 cm for a private shelter and 150 cm for collective centres or public spaces;
  • Wheel guards or crutch stops are equally useful for persons with visual impairments or those using crutches. Located on the edges of the ramp, they help to guide the person. Build with a small piece of lumber (1.5 cm max), which is screwed to the ramp. 
Ramp with high curb acting as wheel guards or crutch stops
© ADA National Network. 2015
Sketch of four types of ramps to access a shelter. Two ramps are running parallel to the shelter, one running in opposite direction and one is a switch-back ramp
© CBM 2015
Drawing shows a parallel ramp, indicating width (1500-2500mm), gradient (1:20) and landing space length 1500mm) "A straight ramp might be appropirate where there is a lot of space and/or the ramp is going up a small rise"
© Handicap International. 2009
A 3 directions ramp leading up to a house. Width (1500-2500mm), ramp gradient 1:15, landing space (length/width 1500-2500mm). Handrails on both sides. "A ramp that changes direction to accommodate space around the building"
© Handicap International. 2009