Potential Roadblocks When You’re Building an Accessibility Ramp
As family members age, you may be faced with the task of installing a wheelchair or accessibility ramp in their home – or, perhaps, in your own. In order to ensure that the ramp is completely safe for your loved one’s use, there are several things you should consider. With some careful planning, you should be able to avoid common roadblocks that can occur when building an accessibility ramp or deck.
Limited space is one of the biggest complications you may encounter. Whether it’s due to trees, other structures or simply the fact that there is not much room available, limited space can make ramp construction a bit more difficult. The best way to work around this problem is by constructing a U-shaped or L-shaped ramp, so as to accommodate more ramp length in a smaller space.
The building codes in place for accessibility are stricter for commercial buildings than for residential, but there still may be requirements from your HOA or local laws. Be sure to look into them before you start construction, so that you aren’t caught with a ramp that doesn’t adhere to safety standards and codes.
Ramp Slope & Platforms
The standard for ramp slope is 1:12, meaning that for every one foot of elevation you will need 12 feet of ramp length. You may prefer a slope of 1:14 or even 1:16 for a gentler rise, depending on the health and strength of your loved one. Also bear in mind that you cannot have a ramp run of more than 30 feet without a flat platform for rest, which needs to also be 60” x 60” if the ramp changes directions after that platform.
Handrails & Materials
With ramps that have a rise over six inches or that are longer than 72 inches, it’s recommended that you install handrails. Remember that you must have at least three feet (36 inches) of clear ramp between the handrails to accommodate a wheelchair! Also, it’s advised that you select nonskid and weatherproof materials for any ramps that will be exposed to outdoor elements.
By knowing these potential pitfalls ahead of time, hopefully you will be able to successfully construct and install a safe and sturdy accessibility ramp or deck. If you have more questions, or if you’d like to learn about the ramp options we offer, contact us today!