Modular Ramp Site Evaluation


Before building modular wheelchair ramps you should evaluate your site carefully to make sure your ramp plan will work at your build site.

RAMP SITE EVALUATION

  1. EVALUATE YOUR RAMP NEEDS
    Evaluate the ramp build site and recognize if you need to conform to the ADA guidelines relating to a 1:12 slope (12" of ramp to 1" of rise, or 4.8°). There are times that a site may not allow for this ADA incline; this and other considerations need to be addressed for each site evaluation. Most businesses must conform to the ADA guidelines while most private residences are not required to comply, however, always check your local building codes before building a wheelchair ramp.
  2. PICK A START AND END POINT FOR THE RAMP
    What is the approximate workable area that the ramp system can occupy? For a wheelchair to transition smoothly onto or off from the ramp, the top and bottom of the ramp should be placed on a firm, level surface. Are platforms needed? (The ADA calls for a 5' x 5' maneuvering area, which can be either a porch or platform.) Consider these variations:
    1. CONNECTS TO EXISTING PORCH -  If the top of the ramp connects to a porch, account for the door swing and chair maneuvering room (FIG B).
      bulding wheelchair ramps site evaluation tools
    2. OVER AN EXISTING PORCH OR STEPS -  If the platform is over an existing porch, be aware that the deck of the platform will be 3½ inches higher than the surface of the porch or steps. If the door (or screen door) swings outward, the platform will not allow the door to open. If this happens, two options are available:
      1. A custom porch platform is available that adds only 1½" to the height of the porch surface.
      2. Mount the platform flush to the front edge of the porch.
    3. DIRECTLY AGAINST A DOOR (WITHOUT PORCH) - If a platform used is directly against a door it is best to keep the platform surface even with the doorway threshold.
    4. NEVER CONNECT A RAMP DIRECTLY TO A DOOR WITHOUT A LANDING - as this does not allow safe maneuvering room to open door.
  3. IS THE PORCH WOOD OR CONCRETE?
    The upper end of the ramp or platform must be attached to the porch. Fasteners are supplied that will attach to either wood or concrete (a masonry bit or rotary hammer will be necessary for the concrete fasteners).
  4. MEASURE THE TOTAL RISE (see FIG C)
    1. The length of the ramp needed is determined by the total rise (the vertical height of the area requiring a ramp). The total rise is the difference in height between the top of the steps or landing and the ground. Using a builder's level or tape measure, determine the rise and keep in mind that this measurement always includes door thresholds, steps, and all slopes down to the lowest area (uneven yard, etc.).

      building slope for wheelchair ramp

      RAMP Slopes

      >1:12 SLOPE (4.8 deg)- For each 1" of rise, 12" of ramp is needed
      1. The ADA recommended slope for commercial and public access ramps
      2. Works for most manual chair users

      >2:12 SLOPE (9.5 deg)- For each 2" of rise, 12" of ramp is needed
      1. An able assistant required for those unable to power themselves
      2.OK for strong manual chair users

      >3:12 SLOPE (14.5 deg) For each 3" of rise, 12" of ramp is needed
      1. Stability a concern
      2. Clearance under scooter or chair at top of ramp needs to be considered
      3. Not an acceptable slope for modular wheelchair ramps

    1. Typically, most of the rise is measured in steps. However, determining step height is the beginning. Once this height is determined, (i.e., 40" rise), measure out 40' (for a 1:12 slope) to see if there are any additional drops or difference in rise due to uneven yard, etc.
  5. CONSIDER HANDRAILS
    Discount Ramps .Com., along with most regulatory agencies and building codes, recommend the use of handrails for all modular ramps. A minimum of 1½" of outside clearance is needed for finger allowance (see ADA 4.8.5 for additional information on handrails). When handrails are attached, the overall outside width of the ramp is 43" (includes handrails as well as supports). When measuring for the system, be sure to allow for 43".
  6. LOOK FOR OBSTACLES
    Describe to your Discount Ramps .Com customer service representative any porch railings, trees, shrubs, etc. that may interfere with the ramps, platforms, platform support tubes, rails, and ramp support assemblies.
  7. COMBINED LENGTH
    What is the combined length of ramp system (NOT including platforms)?
  8. DETERMINE SURFACE
    What type of surface is at the bottom of the ramp? Is it level and suitable for wheelchair use?
  9. COMPLETE WORKSHEET
    1. We offer a ramp site worksheet which can be faxed or e-mailed to us to give us a better ideas of your modular wheelchair ramp site. This makes it much easier to assist you in getting the correct size and configuration of modular wheelchair ramp
    2. A qualified Discount Ramps .Com customer service representative can assist you in filling out the sheet over the phone by calling us toll free at 1-888-651-3431
    3. You can fax the sheet to 262-306-8035 or e-mail it to customerservice@discountramps.com
    4. Click here to download and print our modular ramp work sheet
  10. GET A QUOTE ON YOUR RAMP
    1. Our customer service representatives are waiting by the phone Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm central standard time to help you with questions and give you a quote on on a modular ramp to fit your needs. However we want to give you all the information available to calculate your own cost on a modular wheelchair ramp if you prefer. After filling out the site evaluation worksheet (pdf) you can calculate your cost by visiting our modular wheelchair ramp pricing page and determine an exact cost on your modular wheelchair ramp.

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