How to Design a Wheelchair Ramp

Home modifications by occupational therapist (OT) based on principles of universal design and accessibility.

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.




Designing a safe and functional wheelchair ramp is imperative for the safety of the ramp user and caregivers.

This ramp is for a severely impaired young man who cannot self-propel his wheelchair.  He relies on his mother to push him up/down the ramp.

Would anyone like to help me design this ramp?   I need to have this ramp design done by Monday.  The drawing and pictures of the site are below.

The rules to designing a ramp are as follow:
·      5’x 5’ landing platform at the top of the ramp.
·      5’x 5’ landing platform at the bottom of the ramp.
·      4’ wide ramp.  This allows for handrails to be installed and still have 3’ clear space on the ramp and it reduces waste when building the ramp.  The builder can just cut a 8’ decking board in half.
·      Bilateral graspable handrails.
·      Maximum run is 30’ then a 4’x 4’ resting platform is required.
·      Turn platforms are 5’x 5’.
·      Switchbacks are 5’x 10’.
·      Landing platform has to be a minimum of 12” from public sidewalk or street.

The slope should be 1:12.  There is limited space and that slope is gentle enough to allow the mom to push the wheelchair up the ramp.  The rise to the door is 36" so for every inch of rise we'll need a foot of run so we'll need a minimum of 36' of ramping.  If it were a power wheelchair we could get away with a 1:8 slope.

Site plan, click on drawing to enlarge:

Here are photos of the property:





When taking photos for ramp design ALWAYS make sure you step back and get the entire area, very important.


1 comment:

Steve Berke said...

I enjoyed reading your article :) PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from Regal Mobility.