Every location is different with uniquely configured entrances, but all have one thing in common: the entrance needs to be easily accessed.
In some cases, a ramp needs to be installed to overcome a series of steps that lead up to an entrance. In other cases, a ramp needs to be installed up to a loading dock to offer ease of loading and unloading in and out of the building. No matter the application or specifications for your location, there are a few simple steps that you’ll want to follow to determine the proper size of ramp that you’ll need:
- Total vertical rise you need to overcome
Example: If you are trying to bypass a set of stairs, measure from top step straight down to the ground
- Available distance without obstruction measuring straight out from the highest point
- Usable width of the surrounding area
Example: The width of the entrance or doorway where the ramp will start
In a couple of sentences below, we will talk about ADA recommendations, but it’s important to research your local building and accessibility codes. Local codes differ by state, region, and even city.
Now, on to ADA guidelines.
For commercial occupied use, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a 1:12 slope. This means that every 1” of the vertical rise needs at least 1’ (12”) of ramp length. This equates to 5 degrees of incline. For more ADA guidelines, click the link above.
This sounds tricky, but it’s actually the easy part.
Enter the dimension you recorded in step one for vertical rise, and select the desired slope ratio (again, ADA recommends 1:12) into our incline calculator, and it will give you the minimum ramp length required for the location.
Make sure you have enough space for the ramp length required. Compare the available distance you measured in step one with the run length value provided in the incline calculator results.
You will also want to ensure there’s enough space for the width of the ramp and any platforms that will be incorporated into the system. Determine the ramp width you will need, along with the platform size based on the available space you measured for in step one.