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Last Updated on June 6, 2016

wheelchair-43877_640 (1)ADA ramp specifications are provided by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Most businesses are required to meet these specifications. When it comes to residential ramps, there is no requirement for them to meet ADA ramp specifications. However, it is still highly recommended that residential ramps are constructed with ADA guidelines in mind. For the most part, it’s businesses, churches, schools and other organizations must be in compliance with ADA guidelines for wheelchair ramps.

So, what are ADA ramp specifications? In this post we will translate the technical jargon in ADA’s official guidelines and break down very simply what the ADA says about the way ramps should be constructed.

ADA Ramp Specifications Explained

The ADA’s specifications for wheelchair ramps is broken down into a number of different sections. We will go over them one by one.

The ADA considers a ramp to be anything with a slope greater than 1:20 that is part of an accessible route. Anything that is considered a ramp must comply with these guidelines.

Slope and Rise
When constructing any ramp, the least possible slope should be used. The ADA states:

  • The maximum slope of a ramp in new construction shall be 1:12.
  • The maximum rise for any ramp run shall be 30 inches.
  • Curb ramps and ramps to be constructed on existing sites or in existing buildings or facilities may have slopes and rises, if space limitations prohibit the use of a 1:12 slope or less.

Clear Width
A ramp should have a minimum clear width of 36 inches.

ADA specifications state that ramps should have level landings at the top and bottom of each ramp run. Landings have their own following set of specifications:

  • The landing shall be at least as wide as the widest ramp run leading to it.
  • The landing length shall be a minimum of 60 inches clear.
  • If ramps change direction at landings, the minimum landing size shall be 60 in. x 60 in.

Maneuvering Clearances at Doors
Doors that are not automatic or power assisted are required to have minimum maneuvering clearances. In addition, the ground area within those clearances should be level and clear.

The ADA states a ramp needs to have handrails if it has a rise greater than 6 inches or a horizontal projection greater than 72 inches. Handrails shall have the following features have their own following set of specifications:

  • Handrails shall be provided along both sides of ramp segments.
  • If handrails are not continuous, they shall extend at least 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp segment.
  • The clear space between the handrail and the wall shall be 1 1/2 inches.
  • Gripping surfaces shall be continuous, without interruption or obstructions.
  • The diameter of width of the gripping surface of a handrail shall be 1 1/4 inches to 1 1/2 inches.
  • The top of the handrail gripping surfaces shall be mounted between 34 inches and 38 inches above ramp surfaces.
  • A handrail and any wall or other surface near to it shall be free of any sharp or abrasive materials.

The ADA states that basically any surface within accessible routes or rooms should be stable and slip resistant.

Edge Protection
The ADA wants to see edge protection to help people from slipping off the ramp. This can be done with either curbs, walls, or railings. Curbs should be a minimum of 2 inches high.

Outdoor Conditions
Outdoor ramps should be designed so that they will not accumulate water on the surface.

In Conclusion

Those are the ADA ramp specifications in a nutshell. They are designed to ensure the safety of people with limited mobility when on public and commercial property. Residential ramp owners are not required to comply with these specifications, but due to safety concerns it is highly recommended. If you have any further questions please leave us a comment below.

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