Before you embark on building a wheelchair ramp, it is advisable that you understand the requirement standards prescribed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the ADA construction standards, a wheelchair ramp should not have a slope greater than one inch rise for every 12 inches of run. In other words, if the ramp has to be 30 inches high, then it should be 30 feet long.
The other construction guidelines that you need to keep in mind are as follows:
• Before starting the construction, find out whether you need a permit. If yes, make sure you get one and only then start the construction.
• Once you know the length of ramp, you plan the layout. The most common shape of the ramp is either U-shaped or L-shaped.
• The ramp should end at a place from where the person can easily access transportation or leave the property. The bottom of the ramp at that point should be at ground level so that the person can make a smooth transition from the ramp to the ground.
• The ramp should be a minimum of 36 inches wide and have railings on either side. However, it is safer to make the ramp 40 inches wide.
• After all these considerations, you should start planning the construction. It is important that you do not forget to build level landings at the top and bottom of each run so that the person can open doors and maneuver easily.
• Make sure you use the right materials to construct the ramp. It is advisable to use pressure treated lumber as it will not rot very easily. In addition, the posts should be made especially from wood that can be buried in the ground. You can also use aluminum or concrete instead of wood to build the ramp.
• In wet and icy conditions, a wooden ramp can be dangerous. Therefore, fix sand grit strips to give the wheelchair better traction and grip.
It is advisable that you make use of a professional contractor who has the knowledge of construction structures based on ADA guidelines and standards. This will ensure that the ramp is ADA compliant as well as long-lasting.
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