If you’ve come to the recent realization that your home or business needs to be handicap accessible you might be wondering just exactly what this means. There are a lot of different guidelines, rules, and regulations that one needs to follow in order to both comply with the official rules as well as provide adequate support for the physically disabled. While it all may seem a bit bureaucratic the truth is that these regulations are in place to help people and many of the measurements are well tested and deliberate because they work. Here we’ll take a look at just what it takes to have a handicap accessible property.
The following are the basic guidelines for creating a handicap accessible parking lot in case you have recently opened or built a new business and want to make it accessible for people with physical disabilities. One handicap space is required for each 25 spaces with a minimum of one handicap parking space per lot. Handicapped parking spaces need to be properly labeled and should have at least 60 inches of space on each side to accommodate a wheelchair. If possible somebody using a handicap space shouldn’t have to move behind other parked cars.
Walks & Ramps
Walks and ramps should be at least 48 inches wide with a non-skid surface and should have a gradient no larger than one inch per every one foot. Ramps should have smooth handrails on at least one side at a height between 34-48 inches. Both walks and ramps should have no abrupt changes in elevation. Ramps and walkways should have a level platform at the top which is at least 5 feet by 5 feet if the door if the door swings outwards or 3 feet by 5 feet if the door opens inward.
Entrances & Exits
At least one primary entrance to the building should be accessible by a person in a wheelchair or other disabilities and the doorway should be a minimum width of 32 inches. The floor inside and outside of the doorway should be level for at least 5 feet in the direction the door opens. The threshold of the door shouldn’t have any abrupt changes in level greater than half an inch.
Restrooms should have a turning space of 5 feet by 5 feet so that individuals in wheelchairs can properly maneuver. At least one toilet stall should be at least 4 feet 8 inches by 5 feet and have a door at least 32 inches wide that swings outwards. There should be grab bars on 2 of 3 sides, 33 inches in height and parallel to the floor. The stall should have at least 48 inches of space between the wall and the front of the stall and a toilet seat that is 20 inches from the floor.
Of course if you are planning to make your home or business handicap accessible it’s a good idea to consult a professional contractor and make sure that you are up to date on the latest regulations as well as any local stipulations that may be necessary as well. It’s tough enough having a disability so doing all that you can to help out surely goes a long ways to making someone’s life just a little bit easier.