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.
A wheelchair ramp can be permanent, semi-permanent or 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 usually aluminum and typically fold for ease of transport.
Permanent and semi-permanent ramps are usually of steel or wood. Steel ramps are more durable than wooden ramps but heavier and more expensive.
Ramps must be carefully designed in order to be useful. Many jurisdictions have established minimum widths and maximum slopes. 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.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a 3:12 slope (14° angle of elevation) for unoccupied wheelchairs and scooters, a 2:12 slope for occupied power chairs and scooters for residential use, and a 1:12 slope for business use. UK guidelines as recommended by the DDA and DRC are 1:6 for temporary ramps for assisted wheelchairs, 1:12 for temporary ramps for self-powered wheelchairs, and 1:15 for permanent and semi-permanent ramps.
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- How to Choose a Ramp Style
- Buying a Wheelchair Ramp
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