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What are the ADA requirements for a ramp?

On Behalf of | Dec 25, 2023 | ADA |

Business owners are sometimes worried about being accused of ADA violations because they have skipped important steps that are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, maybe a business doesn’t have any handicap-accessible bathrooms or fire exits. This can be a serious issue that needs to be rectified, or fines and other penalties could be leveled.

But this doesn’t just mean that business owners have to take specific steps to avoid lawsuits. Even business owners who attempt to follow the ADA guidelines could make mistakes that will still lead to violations. An example of this is with a wheelchair ramp. Simply having a ramp may not be enough, as it has to be designed correctly, to be safe under the ADA guidelines.

Typical ramp requirements

To show how this works, consider the following requirements for ramps under the ADA:

  1. There needs to be 36 inches of width from one handrail to the other. 
  2. The slope cannot be more than 1:12, meaning that it goes up 1 foot for every 12 feet of lateral distance. 
  3. The maximum cross slope ratio is 1:48.

In some cases, alterations may be permitted if there’s limited space and it would be impossible for the business to meet these guidelines. For instance, a slope of 1:10 or 1:8 may be used if it doesn’t exceed a certain amount of maximum rise – 6 inches for a 1:10 slope and 3 inches for a 1:8 slope.

One of the biggest things to take away from this, however, is just that the requirements are more complex than simply having or not having a ramp. All standards need to be adhered to properly, and business owners who are facing accusations of ADA violations must know about their legal options.