When working to make your businesses accessible to many individuals, you may have questions about the exact requirements. The Americans With Disabilities Act outlines the standards and laws that must be followed to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. But, while you may be doing your best to follow these guidelines, it can seem a bit confusing at first.
One vital area of accessibility for businesses is handrail requirements and ramp regulations. Without adequate ramps and railings, people who use wheelchairs or who have other disabilities may have difficulty getting in and out of your building.
Why ADA Compliant Ramps Are Essential
It's important from a legal standpoint to follow the ADA standards, and it will also make your business safer and more comfortable for all members of your community. Many potential customers will appreciate these efforts and be more likely to frequent your business if they aren't met with unequal access based on their health and physical capabilities.
This guide will lay out the basics of the rules for curb ramps, ramps, and ramp handrails.
The Basics Of ADA Compliant Ramps
According to chapter four of the ADA Accessibility standards, ramps and curb ramps are needed for changes in level that are more than half an inch. While this might not seem like a significant elevation change, people using wheelchairs and other accessibility and mobility devices need to be able to get inside, and without a ramp, they might not be able to.
Other than an ADA ramp, elevators and certain lifts could be used instead, depending on various factors.
Specific Measurements For Creating An Accessible Route
According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, a ramp is a sloping figure with a slope of more than 1:20. This basically means that for every inch that ramp gets higher, it must have 20 inches or "run" or horizontal length.
Some other requirements to keep in mind include:
- Ramps have to be at least 36 inches wide.
- The edges must be constructed in a way that people won't slip off.
- The ramps need to have landings at the top and bottom at least as wide as the ramp and 60 inches in length.
- The cross slopes can't have a ratio of more than 1:50.
- The surface of the ramp has to be resistant to slipping.
- The ramp must be stable.
The Exact Requirements Of Ramps
The slope of the ramp is the proportion of the rise relative to the horizontal length. The guidebook states that the ramp's running slope has to be mostly uniform, although there can be slight variations based on the materials used. Here are some exact measurements to keep in mind:
- Running slope: 1:12 maximum
- Cross slope: 1:48 maximum
- Clear width: 36" minimum
While these exact measurements might not mean much to you if you aren't a builder or in consecutive yourself, they are still helpful to keep in mind as a business owner. You'll need to ensure anyone who installs a ramp for you knows these rules and complies with them.
Perhaps you have an area that needs a longer ramp and doesn't fit with the basic requirements. In this case, you'll need a ramp that has landing spaces where people with manual wheelchairs can rest. Keep in mind that even if you do have to construct zigzagging ramps with ramp landings, these can be strenuous and difficult for many people, so try to minimize this effort for people with disabilities as much as possible. You have to watch both the maximum slope and consider the impact on individuals when using the ramp run.
Making ADA Compliant Ramp Handrails
Now that we've gone over the basic requirements laid out about curb ramps and accessible routes, it's time to dive into the requirements for the handrails. This list goes over the things you need to know about making your handrail extensions compliant:
- If the ramp rises more than six inches, it will need handrails on both sides. But, a curb ramp does not require a handrail.
- Handrails must cover all sides of ramp segments on both sides.
- If the ramp has switch ramps, the inside handrail must be unbroken.
- The handrail's surface shouldn't have interruptions or anything in the way.
- Edge protection is necessary to avoid injury, so handrails shouldn't have any shape areas.
- There must be at least an inch and a half between the handrail and the wall.
- The surface diameter where people hold on needs to be between 1 /14 inches and 1 1/2 inches.
While this list isn't completely exhaustive, it does cover the most important points of handrail installation as outlined by the Americans With Disabilities Act. There are many exact details to keep in mind, so you'll want to work with someone experienced with ADA compliance when planning the ramp or curb ramp.
Being ADA Compliant Is Worth It
To make your business more welcoming to everyone, following ADA requirements for small businesses is essential. From ramps and handrails to the correct ADA signage, you'll avoid any fines or penalties if you follow these guidelines, and you'll also find that many people appreciate your efforts. It helps you from a business standpoint to avoid dealing with legal issues or lawsuits, and you will also feel good knowing you are making life easier for many people in your community.
Learn More About ADA Requirement And Signage
If you are looking to install wheelchair ramps, handrail extensions, or ADA signage, you'll want to contact experts. Check out the blog from ADA Central to discover more answers to your questions or get started with useful products to improve accessibility. We provide custom ADA signs.