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11 Factors to Consider When Building a Wheelchair Ramp

How Much Does A Woodеn Whееlchair Ramp Cost

Building a wheelchair ramp is a home modification that will make your house accessible for those with mobility limitations and for the elderly. It has to be safe, last a long time, and meet your needs. This guide, will give you tips on what you should consider when you plan on building a wheelchair ramp.

1. Understanding the Purpose

First and foremost, understand why you need the ramp. A ramp can be used for various purposes. It could be used to help port things or for wheelchairs. Also, understand if you want it fixed in one place permanently or if a temporary ramp can be shifted and used in other places. You should also consider if it is for a residential building or a commercial building.

2. Planning the Location

Plan where the ramp has to be placed. This can be determined by the building’s layout and the purpose of the ramp. Most ramps used for transporting huge things are placed at the back entrance. Ramps used for wheelchairs are placed in the front or where there is a wide entrance. There should be enough space below the ramp when the wheelchair reaches the top. Also, ensure there is a wheelchair-accessible passage to reach the ramp.

3. Measuring the Slope

For a safe ramp, it should not be too steep. The best practice is that for every inch in height, the length of the ramp should be 12 inches, i.e., a 1:12 ratio. For example, if the door is 20 inches high then the ramp should be 20 feet long. 

4. Choosing the Material

Ramps can be made using different materials, and you should choose the one that best suits your needs. Some material types include:

Wood

Wood ramps look very elegant and are the most sought-after for home use. It is a good option for those who need to use the ramp for wheelchairs. But, the wood should be treated well to ensure it does not rot over time and is resistant to termites.

Metal

These ramps are best for commercial buildings where there is frequent use of the ramp. Metal ramps are more sturdy and can bear more wear and use. Most ramps are made of stainless steel and rust-proof metals, which last longer.

Concrete

Unlike wood and metal, which can be shifted whenever needed, the concrete ramp is fixed in its place. It is a permanent modification made with concrete. These last longer and are best suited for big commercial establishments where these ramps are compulsory and would not be required to change in the long run. These are expensive, and you need a professional when building a wheelchair ramp.

5. Adding Safety Features

Safety is the most important factor when building a wheelchair ramp, especially for wheelchairs. Here are some features to consider:

Handrails

Handrails should be fixed on both sides of the ramp so that they act as both a barricade and as a support to hold on to while walking on the ramp.

Non-slip surface

The ramp should have some textures on it to give extra grip and make the surface non-slip. Even on concrete surfaces, you can use textured paint to make it non-slip.

Edge Protection

Install edge protection to prevent wheels from slipping off the ramp. This is especially important for wooden ramps for wheelchairs.

6. Checking Local Building Codes

Before constructing or fixing a ramp, check with your local building codes. These are rules that set guidelines for ramps so that they are accessible and safe. Some buildings require you to get a permit to fix a ramp. 

7. Considering the Weather

Consider the climatic conditions of the place you want to fix the ramp. This would include, snow, frequent rains, scorching hot weather, etc. These conditions could damage the ramp. For example; wooden ramps are not recommended to be placed in extreme weather conditions. Sometimes, due to the weather conditions, the ramp could become slippery and prone to skids and falls. 

8. Deciding Between Permanent and Portable Ramps

Building a wheelchair ramp

Based on your requirements, decide whether you want a fixed ramp, like a concrete one, or a permanent ramp, like a metal or wooden ramp. Fixed ramps are more expensive and need a professional to fix them. Whereas, metal and wooden ramps cost less and can be removed and placed wherever you want.

9. Hiring a Professional vs. DIY

For wooden and metal ramps, you just need to buy a ramp, which can then be fixed wherever you want. It doesn’t require too many tools and could be done with just basic tools. Some come with a manual on how to fix them. Concrete ramps need to be constructed by a professional. But it is always suggested to use the help of a professional to fix the ramp because they follow guidelines and meet safety standards.

10. Thinking About the Future

Consider how long you would need to use the ramp, whether it is a temporary situation or permanent. If the mobility changes over time for the user,. So build a ramp that can be modified when needed.

11. Budgeting for the Project

The cost of construction of a ramp could vary depending on various factors, such as the material used, the length of the ramp, and who fixes the ramp. It covers the cost of the ramp and professional charges to install one. 

Conclusion

This comprehensive guide on what to consider while building a wheelchair ramp will now help you make an informed decision. By following the guidelines, you can now be assured that the ramp is safe and more accessible, giving you peace of mind.

Gilani Engineering offers a huge variety of ramps that you can choose from, and our home modification services will help you make your house more accessible and safe.

FAQs

1. Which factors should we consider when building a ramp?

When building a wheelchair ramp, the key factors you need to consider are; the location, materials, and safety features.

2. What are the specifications for building a wheelchair ramp?

The common specifications of a ramp are for every one inch of height, the ramp should be 12 inches in length; 1:12 ratio. The ramp should have safety features like the handrails, non-slip surfaces, and edge protection. 

3. What makes a good wheelchair ramp?

A good wheelchair ramp is one that has safety features, like a handrail, edge protection and non-slip surface and should comply with all safety standards.

4. What are the constraints of building a wheelchair ramp?

The constraints of building a wheelchair ramp include the financial budget, the weather conditions where you want to place the wheelchair ramp, and building legal codes.