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ADA Ramp Requirements Outline

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This includes ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to buildings and facilities. One way to provide equal access is by installing ramps, which allow people who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments to enter and exit buildings.

ADA ramp requirements specify the minimum standards that ramps must meet in order to be considered accessible. These requirements apply to both new construction and renovations of existing buildings. Some of the key requirements for ADA ramps include:

Make sure your wheelchair ramp is ADA-compliant.

1. Ramp Slope

The steepest slope that an ADA ramp can have is 1:12 which means for every inch of threshold rise, the ramp must be at least 12 inches (one foot) long.

If you’re unsure about how to do the calculations, use the ramp slope calculator.

ramp slope

The ramp length is directly related to the height between the ground and the bottom of the door, along with the required slope. For example, the door on your building is 40 inches above the ground. To ensure that your ramp is not steeper than the 1:12 ratio, your ramp needs to be 40 feet long.

2. Ramp Width

ADA ramps must be at least 36 inches wide, which allows people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices to safely navigate the ramp.

3. Platform Landings

ADA ramp requirements include landings at the top and bottom of the ramp. These landings should be at least as wide as the ramp and at least 60 inches long. Landings provide a place for people with disabilities to rest and turn around if necessary.

Number of Resting Platform Landings

Following the ADA ramp requirements, the maximum rise for a single ramp run is 30 inches. That means that the maximum length is 30 feet, so one additional platform landing is required for every additional 30 feet of ramp. Why? Because the landings serve as resting areas, the Americans with Disabilities Act determined that after 30 feet of continuous run, a resting area is needed.

Ramp Length (ft.)Landings Required
0-30None
31-601
61-902
91-1203
wheelchair ramp Landing requirements illustration

Landing Size

  • Width: the landing must be at least as wide as the widest ramp run that connects to the landing.
  • Length: the landing length must be at least 60 inches without obstruction.
  • Change in direction: if the ramp changes direction, you need a landing with a clear space that is at least 60 inches by 60 inches.
  • Doorways: if there are doorways that lead onto a landing, see the following ADA ramp landing requirements.
ADA ramp landings must be at least 60" long and as wide as the widest ramp section

4. Guardrails and Handrails

ADA ramps must have handrails on both sides that are between 34 and 38 inches above the ramp surface. Handrails help people with disabilities maintain balance and stability while using the ramp.

Railing extensions

If a railing is present along the side of a ramp, it must extend at least 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp. This helps people with disabilities maintain their balance while using the ramp.

Clearance between handrails

The minimum clearance between the ramp handrails is 36 inches so that a wheelchair can fit between the handrails with ease. View all ADA ramp handrail requirements, including length, perimeter, location above the walking surface, and more.

Baluster spacing

Balusters are required on ADA ramps to protect against falling. The balusters must not be spaced farther than 4″ apart from one another so that a child cannot slip through the space.

Guardrail

The guardrail, which is different than the handrail, must be at least 42 inches from the walking surface to prevent people from falling over the side of the ramp.

5. Surface

The surface of an ADA ramp must be slip-resistant and smooth. This is important for the safety of people with disabilities, as well as for those who may be pushing strollers or using other mobility devices.

6. Edge protection

Edge protection is required along the edges of an ADA ramp run and landing. There are two types of edge protection to choose from:

  • Extended ground surface: the ramp and landing walking surface must extend at least 12 inches past the inside edge of the handrail
  • Barrier/kickplate: you cannot have a gap larger than 4 inches between the ramp or kickplate and the bottom of the guardrail.

It is important to note that these are the minimum requirements for ADA ramps. In some cases, additional features may be needed to make a ramp fully accessible. For example, a ramp may need to have a wider landing at the top if there is not enough space for a person using a wheelchair to turn around.

In summary, ADA ramp requirements are designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to buildings and facilities. By following these requirements, building owners and designers can create ramps that are safe and accessible for everyone.

We get all of our information from the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act.