A stainless steel handrail is an essential provision when creating accessible spaces; however, the finer points of inclusive design are often overlooked or not fully understood. By adhering to the guidelines listed below, you can be sure that you have done all that you can to provide safe and accessible handrails in and around your building:
Handrails On Both Sides of the Stairs
Disabled people may have a weaker side of their body, as is often the case with stroke survivors, making handrails on both sides of all staircases a necessity.
The Diameter of Handrails
Handrails should feel substantial and allow the user to obtain a good grip. Therefore, a diameter of 45-50mm is preferred.
The Length of Handrails
Handrails should always extend 300mm beyond the last tread of the stairs where possible and, if not, turn into the wall or floor to clearly indicate the end of the stairs. This is essential for visually-impaired people who will use the handrails as a tactile indicator of their position on the staircase and landing.
The Height of Handrails
Handrails on ramps and staircases should be at a standard height of 900mm above the stairs, and 1000mm above finished floor level on landing spaces.
Handrails should be securely attached to the wall and able to bear weight. This is extremely important for ambulant disabled people who may be unsteady on their feet, and require external support when ascending or descending stairs. Ensure that proper fixings are used during the installation of all handrails and be sure to test the robustness of the final job.
The Handrail's Surface
Stainless steel is an excellent choice for handrails: lightweight but robust, making them easy to install and great value for money. Ideally, steel handrails should be nylon coated so that they are not cold to the touch.
Handrails & Ramps
Though often overlooked, handrails should also be present on ramps of any kind, on both sides as they are with stairs.
Colour Considerations Handrails should contrast in colour with the walls to which they are attached, or the external environment against which they will be seen (on outdoor staircases or ramps). This helps visually impaired people to discern their presence and enhances ease of use.
In handicap-accessible toilet areas, grab rails on walls are essential to provide, but they are also extremely useful in other areas where a full handrail simply cannot be fitted due to space restrictions or some other obstacle. Doorways with a small single step benefit greatly from a grab rail, as do public shower spaces such as those found in swimming complexes. Keep all of the above considerations in mind to ensure that you are making the most of your handrails and keeping your building as accessible as can be!Share
30 November 2017
Factories are amongst our most underrated buildings, but they not only have a style and design sense all of their own--they also hold important clues to the history of the areas they're in, and each one can tell a fascinating story. In this blog I'll be highlighting some of my favourite factories around the world to discuss their architecture, what they produce, their history and what they tell us about their local areas and communities. I'll also be getting into the nitty-gritty from time to time, as it turns out that the inside world of industry is more riveting than you might imagine!