Why Are Wheelchair Ramps Built In The Front Of A Home?
During a conversation this morning on Facebook, a very good friend of mine asked why wheelchair ramps are located at the front of a house, rather than at the side. Her reasoning was that by installing the ramp in front of the home, burglars and other criminals may see that home as an easier target and it takes away from the look of the home.
I had a similar belief not long ago. It wasn’t until I was actually tasked with having to build one for a customer that I learned why they are built to the front rather than the side.
First, you need the largest door that the home has in order to get a wheelchair through. Many homes, especially older homes, only have one 36″ entry door that is handicap accessible, while the other doors are typically only 32″ wide. Wheelchairs require 36” of access to fit through a door.
Second, there is a code requirement that dictates the rise to be no more than 30” in height from the ground and a slope of 1:12 or less. The slope means that the ramp cannot rise more the 1ft. for every 12″ in height. This basically means that the ramp or platform has to have a pitch that you can actually wheel up and down safely. The layout and design of the ramp really depends on the layout of the house and its obstacles. Primarily, the front of the house usually has the most available space for this type of ramp and typically makes the most sense for wheelchair users to enter and exit more easily, especially in bad weather conditions.
Third, you have to be able to enter into the home on an even level. Many homes, particularly older homes, have steps immediately inside the rear doors or side doors due to the style of the house and the tight lot the home was built on.
Fourth, it really depends on who is paying for the ramp. Typically, if an insurance company or homeowner is paying for it, they will often take the least expensive option available unless there is no other choice.
When you take all of the above reasons into consideration, it’s easy to see why installing the ramp at the front of the home is the most cost-effective option.