Wheelchair ramp

A wheelchair ramp is an inclined plane installed in addition to or instead of stairs. Ramps permit wheelchair users, as well as people pushing strollers, carts, or other wheeled objects, to more easily access a building. Wheelchair ramps come in a number of varieties each intended for a different purpose. There are permanent, semi-permanent and portable. Permanent ramps are designed to be bolted or cemented in place. Semi-permanent ramps rest on top of the ground or cement pad and are commonly used for the short term. Portable ramps are lightweight, usually aluminum and typically fold for ease of transport.

Ramps must be carefully designed in order to be useful. Many jurisdictions have established standards for permanent wheelchair ramps. For example, they may specify the minimum width of a wheelchair ramp is 36 inches, and the slope must not be steeper than 1 inch of rise for every 12 inches of length. A less steep rise can be easier for a wheelchair user to navigate, as well as safer in icy climates.

Wheelchair ramps (or other ways for wheelchair users to access a building, such as a wheelchair lift) are required in new construction for public accommodations in the United States by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Determine the proper length of ramp for handicap access

First, determine how much incline your power wheelchair or scooter can go up (should be listed in your owners manual). ADA requirements are listed below.UK guidelines for a self propelling wheelchair are 1:12 for portable ramps & 1:15 for semi-permanent and 1:16 for an assisted user. The easiest way of working the ratio out is 1 inch of step requires 1 foot of ramp (1:12)

Residential use

For loading unoccupied wheelchairs/scooters (unoccupied means nobody is sitting in the wheelchair/scooter while it drives up the ramp): ADA recommends a 3:12 slope which means for every three inches of vertical rise you are required to have at least one foot of ramp (14.5 degrees incline) To determine the length of ramp needed: Measure the vertical rise from the ground to where the ramp will sit on the vehicle, stairs or threshold. Take that measurement (inches) and divide it by 3. This will determine the length of ramp needed for an unoccupied power chair.
*Example: 24 inches of rise requires an 8 foot ramp minimum (24 divided by 3).

For loading occupied power chairs/scooters (someone is riding on the power wheelchair/scooter): ADA recommends a 2:12 slope which means every 2" of vertical rise requires one foot of ramp (9.5 degrees of incline) To determine the length of ramp needed for residential usage: (Note: Business use requires a 1:12 slope) Measure the rise from the ground to where the ramp will sit on the vehicle, stairs or threshold. Take that measurement (inches) and divide it by 2. This will determine the length of ramp needed for an occupied power chair.
*Example: 24 inches of rise requires a 12 foot ramp minimum (24 divided by 2).

Business use

For loading occupied power chairs/scooters (someone is riding on the power wheelchair/scooter): ADA recommends a 1:12 slope which means every 1" of vertical rise requires one foot of ramp (5 degrees of incline) To determine the length of ramp needed for business usage: Measure the rise from the ground to where the ramp will sit on the vehicle, stairs or threshold. This measurement equals the length of ramp needed in feet.
*Example: 24 inches of rise requires a 24 foot ramp minimum (24 divided by 1).

UK guidelines

Ratio guidelines as recommended by the DDA and DRC: For every inch in step height you need inches of ramp lengthin the following ratios -
*1:6 ratio - for assisted wheelchair
*1:12 ratio - for self propelled wheelchair user on temporary ramp
*1:15 ratio - for all permanently fixed ramps

1 inch = 25,4 mm Using the above DDA and DRC recommended ratios the minimum recommended ramp lengths are as follows.

For assisted wheelchairs:
*Height of Step
**1 inch Step – 6 inch Ramp
**2 inch Step – 1 foot Ramp
**4 inch Step – 2 foot Ramp
**6 inch Step – 3 foot Ramp

For self propelled wheelchair user on temporary ramp:
*Height of Step
**1 inch Step – 1 foot Ramp
**2 inch Step – 2 foot Ramp
**4 inch Step – 4 foot Ramp
**6 inch Step – 6 foot Ramp

For all permanently fixed ramps:
*Height of Step
**1 inch Step – 1 foot 3 inch Ramp
**2 inch Step – 2 foot 6 inch Ramp
**4 inch Step – 5 foot Ramp
**6 inch Step – 7 foot 6 inch Ramp

External links

* [http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm Americans with Disabilities Act]
* [http://www.wheelchairramp.org WheelchairRamp.Org]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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