Throughout the Access Guide a series of standard phrases e.g. ‘steep ramp’ or ‘easy going’ staircase etc, have been used to describe the access features of a building. The full meanings of these phrases include:
A gradient greater than 1 in 12 is in excess of the maximum safe gradient for wheelchair users and very difficult to use.
A gradient of 1 in 12 to 1 in 14 is an acceptable gradient for most wheelchair users.
A gradient of 1 in 15 to 1 in 20 is a gentle gradient, easy to use for the majority of wheelchair users.
“steep” step height
The height of a step greater than 170mm will be difficult to climb for some people with an ambulant disability.
“easy going” step rise
The height of a step 170mm or less will be comfortable and easy to use.
In general when a stair tread is less than 280mm it is difficult for someone to stand or if necessary to rest comfortably.
In general when a stair tread is 280mm or greater it is suitable for a person to stand or if necessary rest.
“light to open” doors
A door that is easy to open will have an opening force of 30 Newtons or less.
“heavy to open” doors
A door that may prove difficult to open will have an opening force in excess of 30 Newtons.
Automatic doors – Unless stated otherwise automatic doors will provide sufficient width to allow a wheelchair user access. The motion of the doors, either swing or slide and the means of activation will be described.
Wheelchair accessible WC – The WC will be typically suitable for a manual wheelchair user. It will have, at a minimum, internal dimensions of 1.5 metres x 2.0 metres, with an external opening door; to allow a wheelchair user and carer adequate space to manoeuvre. More recently constructed wheelchair accessible WCs will be larger, a minimum 1.5 metres x 2.2 metres. If the WC has additional facilities i.e. a shower or changing bench this will be described accordingly.