Do you find it difficult to access your home or do you have family or friends that find it really hard to gain entry? Make things easier for everybody by installing an access ramp. These are not only handy but can actually look really good when built correctly. Here’s what you need to know.
An access ramp is a ramp that has been specially designed to make it easier for wheelchair users and other mobility impaired people to enter or exit a building. They are especially important where the building has steps or a low staircase, but they are just as important for helping people to enter the home through a sliding door (sliding door tracks often make it difficult if not impossible for wheelchairs to enter the home smoothly).
Access ramps can be a permanent addition to the home or they can be temporary – pulled out when needed. The latter is especially good if you have mobility impaired visiting your home regularly. Access ramps can be made from timber, steel or a combination of the two. It is important that the material that you do choose is rated for use outdoors and that it is adequately weatherproofed. Also make sure that the surface is non slip (otherwise it can become very unsafe to use).
To ensure that the ramp is easy and safe to use, the general rule of thumb is to have 12 inches of ramp length for every inch of ramp height. For example, a landing that is 12 inches above the ground should have a 12 feet long ramp. For an even gentler slope, you can opt for 20 inches of ramp length for every inch of height. If you don’t have the space to do this, add a landing in the middle where the person using the ramp is able to rest. Also keep in mind that a landing must be installed for every time the ramp changes direction, and that they have to be at least 5 feet square. Landings are also necessary at the top and bottom of the ramp.
An access ramp can be installed on your property by a number of different professionals. You just need to be sure that they are fully licensed and qualified and that they are familiar with the Australian Standards set out for access ramps. Professionals include builders (including those that specialise in installing assistance devices), handymen, carpenters, and the like. You could even choose to install the ramp yourself if you have a spare weekend and a bit of knowhow.
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