To the surprise of many FMs who believe their own facilities meet all ADA compliance standards, most wheelchair ramps do not meet ADA requirements for slope and grade.
An independent study conducted by Sotter Engineering Corporation found only two of seven rubber wheelchair ramps from leading manufacturers meet the minimum standards.
“We measured the slope and vertical change in level on seven different ramps,” says John Sotter of Sotter Engineering. “Five of them had acceptable vertical change measurements, but only two of them had acceptable slope (which may not be steeper than 1:12).”
The standards evaluated in the study were in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which are the required specifications for Title II and Title II site construction. Wheelchair ramps should have very precise measurements for front edges, grades, and slopes of transition.
“Although the government established the ADA requirements, they have not established an agency to police compliance,” says Sotter. “It is up to individual project managers to be certain that products they use meet the standards.”
The two ramps that met both standards were a SafePath Products model and a Pride Mobility Products model. Full results of the study are available at safepathproducts.com.