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An Inclusive Ramp Design for wheel chairs

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Measuring the Height of the Steps;

1.Using a ruler or yardstick, starting at the bottom, measure the vertical distance from the floor to the top of the first step. Then measure the vertical distance from the top of the step to the top of the next step. Add all the dimensions together to get the total height.

2.The maximum height that a wheelchair ramp can be used is about 30”, between the floor and the top of the steps (or about four steps). ADA Guidelines (these are recommendations not laws or regulations) recommend 1 foot of horizontal length per 1 inch of height, which translates to a
five-degree slope. The maximum practical slope would be .5 foot of length per 1 inch of height or 10-degree slope. Greater than 10 degrees is not recommended due to the steepness and the difficulty of pushing a wheelchair up this incline. Powered wheelchairs and scooter can navigate a 10-degree slope. However, slopes steeper than 10 degrees have the potential for the chair to tip over backwards without a caregiver pushing from behind.

3.For example, a 24 inch height (typically three steps) would require a ramp length somewhere between 24 feet (1 foot per 1 inch height) and 12 feet (.5 feet per 1 inch height) long. This is the length of the ramp you will need to keep the slope between 5 degrees and 10 degrees. In this case, using a 12-foot long ramp will be a 10 degree slope. Lumber comes in standard lengths of 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet and 16 feet.

4.In addition to the length of the ramp, a minimum of 4 feet (ideally 5 feet) of additional distance in front of the ramp is required to provide room for the caregiver and the wheelchair or scooter to make turns to get onto the ramp.

So, you can see a ramp requires a lot of space, which makes a garage entry using a straight ramp the most desirable choice if possible. Our next element to analyze is selecting the optimum location to put the ramp.