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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality
Theme: Accessibility :
Accessibility for the Disabled - A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment
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Inadequate space inside the elevator cab.

High position of switches, buttons and control panel.

Narrow entry doors.

Insufficient opening time interval.


To provide well-dimensioned elevators, that disabled people can use conveniently.


3.1 General

*The accessible elevator should serve all floors normally reached by the public.

*Key-operated elevators should be used only in private facilities or when an elevator operator is present.

*Wide elevator cabs are preferable to long ones.

3.2 Elevator cab

*The minimum internal elevator dimensions, allowing for one wheelchair passenger alone, are 1.00 m x 1.30 m (fig. 1).

*The door opening should not be less than 0.80 m.

*The inside of the elevator should have a handrail on three sides mounted 0.80 to 0.85 m from the floor (fig. 2).

*The maximum tolerance for stop precision should be 20 mm.

3.3 Control panel

*The control panel can be mounted at one of the alternative locations shown in figure 3.

*For ease of reach, the control panel should be mounted 0.90 m to 1.20 m from the floor (fig. 2).

*Control buttons should be in an accessible location and illuminated. Their diameter should be no smaller than 20 mm.

*The numerals on the floor selector buttons should be embossed so as to be easily identifiable by touch.

3.4 Call buttons

*For ease of reach, call buttons should be mounted 0.90 m to 1.20 m from the floor (fig. 4). 3.5 Floor identifiers

*Tactile numerals should be placed on both sides of the door jambs at an approximate height of 1.50 m to help a lone sightless passenger to identify the floor reached (fig. 4). 3.6 Hall signal

*The elevator hall signal should be placed at an approximate height of 1.80 m (fig. 4).

3.7 Door re-opening activators

*The door opening interval should be no less than five seconds. Re-opening activators should be provided.

3.8 Audiovisual signals

*The elevator should signal arrival at each floor by means of a bell and a light to alert sightless and hearing-impaired passengers simultaneously.

3.9 Floor surface

*The floor of the elevator and the area in front of the elevetor on each floor should have a non skid resilient surface or a low-pile fixed carpet.

3.10 Colour

*The colour of the elevator door should contrast with the surrounding surface so as to be easily distinguishable by persons with visual impairments.


*The minimum acceptable size of an existing elevator cab, allowing for a single wheelchair passenger, is 0.95 m x 1.25 m. Smaller cabs should be replaced.

*The minimum acceptable width of an existing elevator door opening is 0.75 m.

*Call buttons and control panels mounted higher than the recommended height may be left in place if they are within 1.40 m of the floor, this being the maximum reach of a wheelchair user.

*Controls mounted higher than 1.40 m should be replaced.

*Where there are two identical control panels, only one need be replaced.

Minimum internal elevator dimensions for one wheelchair passenger alone are 1.00 x 1.30 m.
Fig. 1


Handrails inside elevators at 0.80 to 0.85 m ; control panel at 0.90 m to 1.20 m.
Fig. 2


Alternative locations for control panels inside elevators.
Fig. 3


Dimensions for call buttons, floor identifiers, and hall signals.
Fig. 4

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development