Jun 302 min read

Architect's Handbook - Wheelchair accessibility

written by

Sonali K

The need to design Wheelchair Accessible buildings

Buildings and spaces must be designed to be usable by people of all abilities, ages, and backgrounds, also known as “Barrier free design”. The users must be in a position to be almost completely independent of outside help. This applies especially to wheelchair users. Here are the different wheelchair-accessible areas - Walkways, Parking, Toilets, Lifts & Ramps, and a guide to designing them properly.

Wheelchair Dimensions

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Illustration credits: Sonali K,

Turning Radius of a wheelchair

Defined as a circular space that allows a wheelchair to make a 180-degree or 360-degree turn, it requires a 1500mm minimum diameter turning space.

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Main movement areas:

1. Walkways - The minimum width of an unobstructed pathway should be 900mm. The minimum width of a two-way wheelchair traffic passage is 1500mm. The preferable width is 1800mm. The slope of an accessible path should not exceed 1:20.

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Illustration credits: Sonali K,

2. Parkings -  They should be 2400mm wide, and van-accessible spaces are 3350mm wide. Access aisles that allow individuals to deploy vehicle-mounted wheelchair lifts or use mobility devices such as wheelchairs must be 1500mm wide.

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Illustration credits: Sonali K,

3. Toilets - Accessible toilet rooms shall have minimum internal dimensions of 2200mm × 2300mm. It says the minimum size of the toilet for the physically handicapped shall be 1500mm x 1750mm. Suitable arrangement of vertical/horizontal handrails with 50 mm. clearance from the wall shall be made in the toilet. 

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Illustration credits: Sonali K,

4. Lifts - The lift as per bye-laws should have a Clear internal depth of 1100mm, Clear internal width of 2000mm, and an Entrance door width of 900 mm. A handrail not less than 600 mm. long at 800-1000 mm. above floor level shall be fixed adjacent to the control panel. The internal measurement of a lift lobby shall be 1800 x 1800 mm. or more. 

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Illustration credits: Sonali K,

5. Ramps - Entrance landing shall be provided adjacent to the ramp with a minimum dimension of 1.8 x 2.0m. Finishes shall have a non-slip surface with a texture traversable by a wheelchair. Curbs wherever provided should blend to a common level.

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Illustration credits: Sonali K,

These were a few of the important points to remember while designing Wheelchair accessible buildings. Stay tuned for more such informative guides on other important topics in the AEC industry and to check out more of these follow Kaarwan.

Sonali K

Sonali K

A venturesome Architect who will take you on an expedition into the mesmerizing world of Architecture!