What are the Legal Requirements for DDA Handrails?

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DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) handrails are crucial componants in allowing small children, the elderly and disabled members of society access to some of the most important public buildings in the country. From hospitals and schools to community centres and GP practices, DDA handrails are imperative for allowing everyone to enter and exit buildings safely.

In this article, we’ll be explaining the requirements for DDA handrail installation, along with where to install them and the colour you should opt for. This will ensure complete compliance with the law, specifically under the Disiability Discrimination Act.

Handrails - RTC Fencing

What are the requirements for DDA handrails?

DDA handrails must ensure that everyone can access the premises safely, particularly those who would find it slightly more difficult to negotiate with varying ground levels. Therefore, it’s important that the correct requirements are adhered to in order to protect those who will be utilising the rails. Here are a few requirements to consider:


Handrails on a flight of stairs should be continuous

If access to the building is provided in the form of both a ramp and a flight of stairs, and if those stairs consist of two or more risers, then a continuous handrail should be fitted on both sides. The same goes for stairs that are separated by landings, in which case, handrails should still be provided throughout the course of the flight.


They must be a specific height

The handrails themselves must be between 900mm and 1.1m in height. They’re also required to extend the width of one stair tread. Then, for at least 300mm, the handrail must level out. You must also consider those who are particularly short in stature through the provision of a second handrail, fitted below the first, and preferably set at 600mm.


DDA handrails must be user safe 

The handrails must be designed in a certain way to ensure the safety of its users. Firstly, the surface must run continuously smooth and not be too cold to touch. Secondly, the rail must either be circular or oval. A circular handrail must have a diameter of between 40 and 45mm, whereas the diameter of an oval handrail should be 50mm.

Visually, the colour of the handrail must contrast with that of its surroundings, as well as being highly reflective for safe use in low light. Finally, there shouldn’t be a danger of clothing, accessories or dog leads being caught on the rail, as this could present a hazard to its users.


Where is best to install DDA handrails?

DDA handrails should be installed within the vicinity of a public building entrance. This ensures that you remain compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act. By having the appropriate handrails, you’re making the building accessible by everyone and not just by those who are able-bodied. The rails should run continuously up both sides of ramps and stairs, offering stability wherever the user decides to ascend/descend.     


What makes the handrail DDA compliant?

The aspects of a handrail that makes it DDA compliant are extremely similar to the requirements of a DDA handrail, such as:

  • They must be smooth and continuous
  • They should be the correct height and clearance
  • A ramp handrail must have a clear width of at least 1m
  • They must have a level of edge protection, ramps in particular require a curb to prevent wheelchairs from slipping out from underneath the railings.
  • There must be no danger of catching clothing or other items on the rail itself.


Should a DDA handrail be a specific colour?

The handrail isn’t required to be a specific colour by law. Although, it must be a completely contrasting colour to that of its surroundings. Ensure you opt for bright, bold colours and refrain from darker shades, such as black, brown and grey. The most popular colour choices are yellow, red, orange, white and green. The brighter the colour, the better.

RTC Fencing are proud suppliers and installers of DDA handrails, helping commercial properties across the East Midlands comply with the Disability Discrimination Act. We’re able to fit public buildings, businesses, hospitals and more with fully compliant DDA handrails. For more information, get in touch with us today – we operate throughout Leicester, Nottingham, Melton Mowbray and Derby

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