The government is very clear on requirements when it comes to creating new buildings. Among these requirements include wheelchair ramps and elevators dedicated for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was enacted in the 90’s, required all new buildings to include accessible wheelchair ramps and elevators. Older buildings are exempted from this law, unless remodeling was done in such buildings.
Before this act was enforced, people who are using wheelchairs cannot freely go to and fro buildings! This law made it possible for wheelchair-bound individuals to move around independently without feeling helpless and frustrated. Today, most buildings in the US have dedicated ramps for people who are using wheelchairs.
Government Standards for Wheelchair Accessible Ramps
Note that no ordinary wheelchair ramps can be fitted into a building. The Americans with Disabilities Act provided a list of specifications to comply with to make it easier for wheelchair bound people to access the ramps. According to studies, the ramp slope of 1:16 is the most manageable but many are stymied by one of 1:12. The standard slopes for ramps ranges between 1:16 to 1:20. For old buildings undergoing renovations, the wheelchair ramps have to be added and must comply with the standard specifications imposed by the law.
The ramp should also be a 30 feet long without having a landing in between, at least 3 feet in width with a maximum. For ramps beyond 30 feet, there should be a rest platform. All wheelchair ramps have to have proper landings at the top and the bottom. The landings must be the same width as the ramp width.
Wheelchair ramps should also have handrails installed on both sides. The handrails should be no less than 2 ½ feet above the surface of the ramp but it should not exceed 3 feet.
Types of Wheelchair Ramps
There are three types of wheelchair ramps to choose from. These wheelchair ramps are permanent, semi-permanent and portable.
Permanent wheelchair ramps are either bolted or cemented on a building’s entrance or exits. They can be made in study materials, including concrete, wood, etc.
Semi-permanent ramps are usually rested on the ground or on a cemented pad. This type of wheelchair ramps can be taken off or on and transferred from any place easily. They are best used for occasions wherein many wheelchair users will access a building for a short period of time.
Portable Wheelchair Ramp
Portable wheelchair ramps are light, foldable and can be transferred from any place. They are usually made with light yet durable materials like aluminum, etc. Since these ramps are foldable and ready to use anytime, anywhere, they are also good for transportation purposes as well.