I don't know exactly what is *required* for ADA or OSHA, but IIRC, then the
ramp has to be at least 36" wide, more is better and I think a 1:12 pitch.
If you have an outward opening door at an entry, the landing must be at
least 36" (again, prolly more) beyond the arc of the door swing. If your
front door is above grade level by any significant amount, you'll need to
make a return so that you don't have 40 freekin' feet of ramp in your yard.
Also think about a secondary means of entry/egress in the event of an
If you need this to be to code, check w/your building dept or perhaps get a
referral through a senior center or hospice. That, or go find a place that
has ramps and take yr tape measure for some rules of thumb.
I took care of my folks, both in 'chairs, for years... so I know it can be a
drag for all concerned. I hope this helps and am glad to hear that your
situation is temporary.....
Pitch of 1/12, if the length exceeds 20', probably want to include
some level sections 4' in length to rest. Turns and switchbacks are
usually level as well.
We use all PT material, 2x6 frames, 2x4 rails and curbs, 3/4" ply
deck, 4x4 for legs.
This one looks great for country where it doesn't snow. Snow needs
I'd like to suggest two design criteria and a suggestion based on my own
1) Switchbacks need extra room, not just a right angle. The ambulance cot
has a footprint of about (not at work, can't say precisely) 42x16 inches.
The diagonal of about 60 inches has to make it around the corner. Make a
2) If room will not permit a generous landing, keep the outside rail low so
the head end of the cot can clear it.
And/Or keep a second straight ahead non-handicapped entrance clear inside
and shoveled outside for your ambulance crew.
Longer is generally better. If you have space enough for a 1:16 or 1:20
slope, go for it. Much easier to push or roll up a 1:20 than a 1: 12 slope.
My in-laws had one built by the neighborhood handyman. Its a joke! Might
be 1:8 maybe 1:10 at best. Was ok, but just, when Father-in-law was on
crutches. Now that he is in a wheel chair, he cannot roll himself up as it
is too steep. I have a tough time pushing him myself. They won't let us
rebuild it as their "handyman" said it was the just fine when he built it in
94. Mother-in-law says, "and _he_ should know!" (that's right, he _should_
have but he sure didn't)
Make it as long as you can.
Current ada guidelines are: a 'ramp' is between 5.00-8.33% slope. With every
30" of rise, one should have a 5 foot landing (flat, or with a slight pitch
of 1% if drainage is an issue, but you get the idea). If you have
switchbacks, it's a good idea to have those areas flat as well, and
sufficiently roomy to allow for maneuvering. Hope thise helps--
ADA requires 1" in 12". Every 20 feet requires a 4' resting spot. All
turns require a 5' turning circle. ADA requires a 1 1/2" handrail that
is 1 1/2" out from the mounting surface. ADA requires a "curb" to
prevent a chair from going off the edge.
UBC (Uniform Building Code) requires handrails if the slope exceeds 1"
in 20". If you can fall more than 30" UBC requires 42" fall
protection. It may also require "non climbable" closure that can pass
the 4" ball rule (a 4" ball cannot pass through any opening). The
exception here is a 6" ball at the apex of the riser/tread intersection.
We live in interesting times for builders and carpenters. How did so
many of us survive into our fifties?
Keep the whole world singing. . .
(remove the 7)
The curb is _very_ improtant if there is no railing.
Another consideration if there is no space for a ramp is an
electric wheelchair lift. A few years back they were about
$5,000 (I think). What I recall for sure is that the lift
was only a little more expensive than the ramp proposed by the
contractor which woudl have occupied half the garage, blocked
access to cabinets, and still would have been too steep and
had insufficient space ont he switchbacks to be safe.
It is important to keep in mind that what is adequate for now
might not be adequate in a few years as the patient comes to
need more equipment or as the caregiver ages.
Here's a ramp we built from one sheet of 3/4" CDX, some 2x2's and 2x4's. The
ramp is 8' long and rises 14". Too steep for unassisted wheel chair use, but
fine if somebody pushes up and braces down. The ramp is portable and when
we're finished with it we intent to donate to a local charity.
The ramp was primed and painted with leftover housepaint, the deck has sand
mixed into the paint for traction. Even wet or snow covered it isn't
slippery. Haven't seen any significant ice form because the water sheds
If you want I could upend the beast and send a picture of the underside
structure, which is simple.
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