A wheelchair ramp is an inclined plane that can be used instead of stairs by wheel chair users as well as people pushing strollers or carts, or by people using walkers.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that a commercial or public building or structure be accessible to wheelchair users, therefore requiring a ramp. Handicap Ramps are often needed at home, as well, in order for disabled wheelchair users and the (not-so-spry- anymore) elderly and Boomers to maintain independent living -and able to enjoy their own Home and Gardens.
The oldest Baby Boomer is turned sixty five this year -and more than 10,000 are turning sixty five every day. A portion of this population isn’t in optimum health and requires -or, could benefit from an access ramp at their home in order to extend the duration they will be physically able to maintain the aforementioned independent lifestyle.
All in all, the addition of some form of handicap or access ramp is a Home Improvement that many of us will be tackling at some point in time.There are many designs, some portable, some fixed, some permanent, some removable. It has been acknowledged that no single ramp design meets all the needs of the users.
State and/or local authorities may have specifications available for design considerations of a wheelchair (assisted or unassisted) or handicap ramps for Baby Boomer and elderly people with walkers (or without), as does the ADA. The specifications for the proper construction of the wheelchair ramps are necessary to ensure the finished product is useful. Often, well meaning volunteers construct ramps with too much slope or landing areas that are too small to allow wheelchair maneuverability in and out of the door.
The specs will provide in detail exactly how the frame should be built in order to be bolted together (modular) and thus removable and of adequate strength. Some of the design considerations are cross braces (diagonal sway braces) for the higher elevations (above 2 feet, roughly) of the ramp, two by six inch beams, joists, joist hangers, and 12×12″ plywood bearing plates. These are all part of the design for a “demountable” bolted ramp system.
On the lower elevations the sway braces are not required in favor of plywood gussets. The decking is installed so the joints are perpendicular to the path of travel. The spacing between the boards allows for good drainage and ridges to provide better traction. A guardrail is installed at a medium height and a normal handrail is also installed. Intermediate posts may also be required.
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Filed under: Baby Boomers: Maintaining Independence
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