When beginning any home improvement project it is important to ask yourself questions before the project starts. This means before your buy the materials, before you come up with a final design and before you start any type of demolition. It is hard but important to wait until the details have been worked which often include waiting on permits. Before the construction of a wheelchair accessible ramps begins the project manager should find out the answers to some important questions.
1) Who is the ramp being built for?
2) What type of equipment does the person using the ramp require? Is it a standard wheelchair, an oversized wheelchair, a scooter, an electric scooter, cane or crutches?
3) Will there be changes after the ramp is installed? Will the patient have more or less mobility?
4) What requirements are set forth by local ordinances? Are their special permits needed to accommodate building a ramp?
5) What features that exist in the landscape and home that need to be kept verse what can be changed?
This is a very general over view of key points to think about when installing a ramp. There are many key points that need to be examined that are critical to the design. One of those important elements has to do with the exact point of entrance, the area that is available for the ramp, the slope of the ramp and specific codes for the local municipalities.
First is entry into the home. Which doorway will the ramp lead to our will a new one need to be made to accommodate placement of the ramp. This will be determined by the ease of accessing the rest of the house from each entry point for the user of the wheelchair. It is also important to consider the width of the wheelchair in comparison to the doorways width along with the any obstacles that are present such as stairs, platforms and porches.
Another major issue is space issues with the yard, landscaping, porch or garage space that is present. U shaped ramps cover more distance and can accommodate a smaller space. When a homeowner has a great deal of slope to contend with and minimal space this is a terrific option in wheelchair ramps.
Building codes in local municipalities vary greatly. Check with homeowners associations and local government officials to determine what codes need to be followed and paperwork obtained before moving forth with a wheelchair accessible ramp project.
Consider materials next. What type of material will be used to build the ramp, metal or wood? Both have pros and cons so this is left up to personal choice and regulations within your neighborhood. It is important to make sure that the materials you choose are for the climate in which the ramp will be built. Extra skid resistant measures should be taken in colder regions where snow, ice and rain are part of daily life. As well as taking into consideration using metal in climates where the sun rays can cook eggs.