8 Questions To Ask Before Building a Wheelchair Ramp
September 11, 2018
Building an effective, safe, and legal wheelchair ramp isn’t necessarily a difficult or complicated project, but it’s definitely one you want to be done right. Whether you’re building a ramp for a residential property, your place of business, or your own home, you need to know that it’s a reliable tool for wheelchair-bound individuals. Before you start building or entrust the project to a contractor, make sure these nine questions have been answered fully.
Basic construction questions:
What is my budget? The first question for nearly any construction project should be ‘Realistically, what is my budget?’ A wheelchair ramp can be built inexpensively on the front end but will require more service over time. A cheaply build ramp may also be a less convenient ramp or a less safe ramp, even if built to code.
Where am I putting this ramp? Depending on the location you’re servicing with your ramp, you may have as much space as you like to work with or a very limited amount of space to work with. If a ramp needs to cover a significant amount of height with a limited amount of runway, your design will need to be a lot more creative and efficient to meet your goals without breaking codes.
Do I want to build in modules? Often, wheelchair ramps are built in segments so the project can be adjusted during construction or dismantled and sold when it’s no longer needed.
Safety and compliance questions:
Do I know the relevant local and federal building codes for my ramp? In the overwhelming majority of construction projects, relevant building codes trump every other consideration for your project—wheelchair ramps are no exception. Be alert to local codes as well as federal codes!
For example, a ramp compliant with ADA standards has specifications for ramp slope, handrails length and perimeter, the number of landings per foot, the width of the ramp, landing dimensions, balusters, kick-plates, guardrails, and more.
Can I trust this ramp without worrying about it constantly? This is an important question for DIY ramps especially but should hold true for this or any other construction project. Is the construction being handled by someone competent and familiar with the project type and tools involved?
How much time can I spend on general upkeep? Different materials and designs will require different amounts of basic maintenance. A simple aluminum wheelchair ramp may need essentially zero maintenance, while a more aesthetically pleasing wooden ramp may require much more attention to keep in good repair.
How long do I want the ramp to last without renovations? Certain designs of wheelchair ramp will last quite a while regardless of what you put them through, while others will need to be updated sooner or later—much like any walkway or decking, you may install on a property. Cutting corners on construction will directly lead to needing to revisit your wheelchair ramp sooner rather than later.
What sort of weather and conditions will the ramp face? Weather conditions and other environmental concerns also play a role in deciding how much maintenance your ramp will require and how long a given design will last. Harsher or moister weather demands a more resilient design.
Building a wheelchair ramp shouldn’t involve guesswork. If you want to make sure you’re building your ramp right, contact the wheelchair ramp construction experts at Community Renovations today.