The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires by Federal Law that certain buildings provide Wheelchair Ramps that meet specific standards. This code allows everyone equal access to the building, which typically does not include residences, but applies to most spaces with public access, such as businesses, churches, schools, and other locations. Sidewalks, parking lots, parks, and other outdoor areas will also typically be required to meet these guidelines with ramps made of concrete or other materials.
These guidelines are developed to grant easy and safe access to public buildings for those with disabilities, such as those requiring the use of wheelchairs or crutches.
Wheelchair Ramp Codes include several specifications, including:
- The ramp must include one foot of length for every inch of rise, leading to a 1:12 ramp slope ratio
- Turn platforms must be a minimum of 5’ by 5’
- Ramps must have at least 36 inches of space across the ramp
- There can only be 30’ of a ramp before a rest or turn platform
- Handrails must be between 34” and 38” on both sides of the ramp
- Ramps must have at least a 5’ by 5’ unobstructed and flat area at the top and bottom of the ramp
- Ramps must be constructed in such a way that water will not accumulate on walking surfaces
Businesses can face significant fines for failing to comply with these regulations. Many companies have been penalized for violations by the Department of Justice, from Walmart to hotels.
Property managers and business owners must proactively ensure that their buildings are compliant with wheelchair ramps that meet the ADA regulations in order to avoid severe consequences, as well as to ensure that their properties are easily accessible to any individuals. When repairs, renovations, or new buildings are being constructed, owners should ensure that any contractors used are familiar with ADA regulations and have experience in adhering to these guidelines.