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A recent independent study of seven 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.

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.

“We measured the slope and vertical change in level on seven different ramps,” explained John Sotter of Sotter Engineering. “Five of them had acceptable vertical change measurements, but only two of them had acceptable slope (which may not be steeper than 1:12).”

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.

“Although the government established the ADA requirements, they have not established an agency to police compliance,” said Sotter. “It is up to individual project managers to be certain that products they use meet the standards.”

The two ramps that met both standards were a SafePath Products model and a Pride Mobility Products model. Full results of the study are available online.

Article adapted from

(image description: a plywood ramp that doesn’t look very sturdy, is steep, black metal railing attached to the ramp doesn’t look very sturdy and the handrails look too high with middle railings missing. The ramp goes up to a deck that has wooden railing)

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