Ramp for a wheelchair user at a local business

Understanding ADA Wheelchair Ramp Requirements For Your Office

When it comes to your office space, you want all your employees and guests to have access at all times. But when it comes to wheelchair ramps, some office and business owners simply do not know the full list of requirements.

That's why we've written this comprehensive guide to help you. We've covered all the regulations that need to be followed regarding ADA wheelchair ramp requirements and installation. We've also noted other changes you can make to make your office space wheelchair friendly.

Follow this guide, and keep abreast of any legislative changes, and your office will be wheelchair friendly now and long into the future.

Wheelchair Ramp Requirements: The Precise Measurements

The most important thing to bear in mind when it comes to wheelchair ramps lies in measurements. To meet the strict requirements of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all ramps must be as follows:

  • A minimum of a 5x5 flat space at the top of the ramp. This is to ensure safe maneuverability once wheelchair users have reached the top of the ramp.
  • A 1:12 slope ratio. This means that for every inch of vertical rise, there have to be 12 inches (or one foot) of the ramp. This is to ensure the ramp itself is not too steep and is the most complex measurement to get right.
  • No ramp is allowed to be longer than 30 feet without a rest or a turning platform. This is to ensure that ramps aren't too long which could cause fatigue and accidents.
  • Minimum width of 36 inches of clear space across the ramp. Some states such as California require as much as 48 inches, so be sure to check the specific legislation of your state.
  • If using a turning platform, it should be a minimum size of 5x5 just like the flat space at the top of the ramp. Once again, California requires a slightly larger space than this.
  • Handrails must be between 34" and 38" in height and be placed on both sides of the ramp.

This information is correct as of the ADA's official website and published guidance. As long as you meet these requirements there are different wheelchair ramps to choose from. However, there are other things to bear in mind concerning wheelchair ramps and installing them in your office space.

Wheelchair Ramp Requirements: Designated Parking Spaces

In addition to meeting the specific ramp measurement requirements, it is advisable to have a designated parking space for wheelchair users. As a general rule, you should have at least one disabled parking space for your office premises. 

This needs to be as close as it can be to the front doors of your office so that wheelchair uses or others have less distance to travel to reach the office itself. If possible, you should ensure this space is big enough to accommodate wheelchair vans as well as cars.

To designate these spaces you should use the international symbol of access. Be sure to outline this on the space using paint. You should also bear in mind how many employees need these spaces at your workplace, to figure out how many spaces should be designated in this way.

These spaces will help ensure easier access to your ramp and your office.

Wheelchair Ramp Requirements: Entranceways and Doorways

There's no point in meeting the precise ramp requirements and then not having doorways or entranceways big enough to allow for wheelchair access. Because of this, you also need to think about making these fit the ADA requirements also.

Where possible, all doorways in your office, but especially the entrance and the doors after your ramp, should have a width of 36 inches or more. This is so that they allow enough room for wheelchair users to comfortably pass through. It may also be necessary to add threshold ramps to make for a smoother transition. Learn about threshold ramps here.

Swinging doors should swing inwards, not outwards, to ensure they can be opened easily by wheelchair users. If your doorways aren't meeting this requirement, you should consider installing hinges or hiring a contractor to widen them.

Wheelchair Ramp Requirements: Other Things to Remember

When it comes to making your office space wheelchair friendly there are a couple of other things to consider.

You should think about having a handicap accessible toilet, which can be used safely by wheelchair users. There should be at least one accessible toilet stall in each of your office bathrooms. Or, there needs to be a designated handicap accessible stall separate to this area.

You should also consider adding space to store wheelchairs inside your office. That way, wheelchairs can be kept out of the way whilst your employees sit at their desks. 

However, this all needs to be discussed with your wheelchair using employees. Defer to them by asking what would make their time spent in your office more comfortable and easier. That way, you know what additions to include as well as the required ramps to enter the building.

You should bear in mind that if your office doesn't meet these requirements, it can impact the safety of your employees. To add to this, you could face fines or even a lawsuit if you've failed to modify your office space to meet the ADA guidelines.

If you don't own your own office space, make sure to contact the property manager to inform them of any changes that must be made.

What If I Need More Information?

If you need to find out more about ADA wheelchair ramp requirements or making your office space mobility friendly, make sure to read through our previous posts here at BraunAbility.

Or, if you need help with making these changes, make sure you contact us directly. We specialize in providing mobility solutions for all businesses and individuals. This includes dealing with wheelchair accessible vans, wheelchair lifts, vehicle seating, and more.

Our website provides a comprehensive directory of dealers in mobility solutions spanning across the U.S. and Canada. But if you can't find what you're looking for online, be sure to contact us and one of our team members will be on hand to assist you.

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