Handicap ramp specifications can vary, but they tend to follow some basic guidelines. These guidelines exist for safety reasons and are only the bare minimum standards for wheelchair ramps.
Residential wheelchair Ramp help to give people the freedom to go anywhere. When buildings are equipped with ramps, those in wheelchairs can come and go freely. This is important because everyone should have access to buildings such as apartments and businesses. To not have it is to discriminate against those in wheelchairs.
These minimum specifications are a starting point for understanding the standards to which handicap ramps are built.
Minimums and Maximums
The maximum amount of slope for a handicap ramp is as follows: It can, at most, have a slope of one inch higher for each foot of distance. You don't want to have too much of a slope or the ramp will be too difficult to use.
The minimum distance between the two guardrails on the inside of the ramp is 3 feet. Any less would make it impassable in some circumstances. Keep in mind that this is one of the minimum standards. More distance between guardrails is desirable.
The maximum increase in height for any ramp is 30 inches. If the ramp needs to keep going up then there needs to be a level segment where the ramp does not rise before the ramp continues to rise again.
There has to be handrails or guardrails on each side of the ramp. To have a ramp without guardrails would be irresponsible and dangerous. The handrail has to be at least 30 inches above the ramp but no more than 38.
There must be flat sections at the top and bottom of all ramps. You wouldn't want to reach the top or bottom of a ramp and still be on a slope. You'd be fighting gravity's pull to have the wheelchair roll down again.
In general, landings are to be as wide as the ramp and at least 5 feet in length. This will help to accommodate wheelchairs of various sizes.
Handicap ramp specifications begin with the minimum standards and can be designed from there. You don't want to stick to the minimum standards. However, you want to design the ramp to fit the building. This way everyone will feel welcome and able to come and go as they please.