Building a wheelchair ramp is something that needs to be done with great care. Ramps that have been designed and built incorrectly put the end users at risk and create situations that are hazardous. The situation can be unsafe for not only the wheelchair user but also the care provider and all that use the ramps as a mode of entering and exiting the home. Wheelchair ramp installers are certified and trained to install ramps that meet the ADA guidelines. If a homeowner is going to tackle this major renovation on their own it is best that they look into classes and follow each detail in guidebooks sold on building handicap accessible ramps.
Some of the issues that an installer of a permanent wheelchair ramps might run into would be the angle of the ramp is too steep, lack of side railing and even improper slopes and landings. Portable ramp installers may find the ramp is too short and then in turn creates a steep slope for the user. Another issue found with temporary or portable ramps is that the anchoring system has not been installed properly which can allow for slippage.
It is important for the end user to be safe. Wheelchair ramps must be safe, stable and resistant to slips. It is also important that at any surface entering, on or exiting the ramp that is not part of the whole be marked with fluorescent tape or paint to give individuals with less than stellar vision the heads up that a transition is about to happen.
In regards to the slope of the ramp or sometimes referred to as the rise it is general knowledge that the less of a grade the easier it is for the user. The basic principals here are that for every one inch the ramp need to go up a foot of ramp is needed. When processing the slope remember the user must be able to maintain control throughout the entire ascend and descend. If the wheelchair user, walker user, cane user or caregiver looses their feet at all it could be an incredibly dangerous situation.
The length of the ramp is also something that needs to be considered. It is important that the ramp be a safe length. That length is determined by the user and the only other thing to consider when thinking about the length is maintenance and turns required for the length of the ramp to fit into the space allowed.
The minimum recommended width of a ramp is thirty six inches. This will accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. If the ramp needs to accommodate two-way traffic a minimum should be about one hundred twenty inches. It is often recommended that wheelchair ramps should be made to accommodate larger wheelchairs which are often used for the comfort of the patient. In this case the thirty six inches may be too narrow. Consider this before starting the design and location for the ramp.
Ramp landing must be level and be able to accommodate a forty eight inch turn radius. Regulations state that landings must provide a sixty inch landing for the wheelchair user to rest especially if the ramp rise is over two and a half feet. With this in mind it is also wise to include railings on all ramps. However it is not law. Only in cases where the rise is over six inches with a seventy two inch projection are ramps required to have railroads. It is important to remember that anything can happen and even a short fall can damage an already fragile body beyond repair.
Consider the weather conditions in the area in which the ramp will be located. If the area is particularly rainy or will be in a snowy location take extra precautions to provide a slip resistant floor to the ramps. It is all about keeping loved ones safe. Do the research before the ramp is built so that every safety angle can be worked through to provide the safest most aesthetically pleasing wheelchair ramp in the neighborhood.