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When can you alter the ADA’s wheelchair ramp requirements?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | ADA |

The ADA requires that buildings are accessible to those in a wheelchair, which means that ramps may be necessary if an elevator or a lift is not an option. Many businesses use ramps to meet this requirement, and so the ADA also specifies exactly how these ramps have to be constructed.

For example, the width of the ramp has to be a minimum of 36 inches. This is to ensure that a wheelchair would actually fit. Additionally, the slope can be no more than a foot of elevation for every 12 feet of horizontal distance. This is known as a 1:12 slope. It ensures that the person can actually safely navigate the ramp in either direction without losing control of the wheelchair. 

What if you have limited space?

There are some alterations that are permitted. This usually happens when a business has limited space and there is no physical way that a ramp can be installed to these qualifications. In some cases, a ramp may be allowed to be constructed with a rise of 1:10, for example.

This can be problematic, however. For instance, you may think that your business is in compliance with the ADA because you’ve constructed a 1:10 ramp in your limited space. However, someone using that ramp may claim that there is enough space for you to have a standard slope and that you are therefore in violation of the ADA because the ramp rises or falls at too aggressive of an angle.

If you find yourself in such a dispute, then it’s important to know what legal options you have. ADA claims are something to take very seriously.