by Brianna Crandall — April 5, 2017 — A recent independent study of seven rubber wheelchair ramps from leading manufacturers, conducted by Sotter Engineering Corporation, revealed that only two of the seven ramps met the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) minimum requirements for slope and grade.
The study was undertaken to provide accurate information to architects, engineers, and builders, who prior to this study only had marketing claims of manufacturers to guide them. Facilities managers can also use the study to help them make sure their existing or planned wheelchair ramps meet ADA requirements.
Standards used in the study were those in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design which, as of March 2012, are required compliance specifications for Title II and Title III construction. Barrier removal products, such as wheelchair ramps, have specific requirements for the front edges, grades and slopes of transition in order to provide equal access to public accommodations for people with disabilities, explains Sotter Engineering.
John Sotter of Sotter Engineering stated:
We measured the slope and vertical change in level on seven different ramps. Five of them had acceptable vertical change measurements, but only two of them had acceptable slope (which may not be steeper than 1:12).
Sotter further explained:
Although the government established the ADA requirements, they have not established an agency to police compliance. It is up to individual project managers to be certain that products they use meet the standards.
With advancement of electronic measuring devices, there is likely to be increased scrutiny placed on both manufacturers and the building industry to guarantee that products comply with standards, advises Sotter.
Full results of the study can be attained on the Ramp Study 2017 page on the SafePath Web site.