Ramps for wheelchairs or stair lifts? The best choice

Ramps wheelchairs , it is undoubtedly one of the most used options to provide accessibility to access to all types of buildings, shops or single-family homes.

However, it is very important to bear in mind that this type of construction has to comply with a regulation, which indicates a series of guidelines, so that it is considered accessible and not another architectural barrier that hinders access (MONTASCALE PER DISABILI).

Today it is still very common to find this type of construction with an excessive slope, insufficient width or an inadequate loading and unloading area so that a person in a wheelchair can maneuver and use it.

 As an alternative to the construction of ramps for wheelchairs , we have the stair lifts, both stair lift platforms and vertical stair climbers, which represent one of the most widely used accessibility solutions nowadays.

The wheelchair ramps

A ramp that does not meet minimum requirements to be accessible, far from it, is a further obstacle resulting even dangerous to use.

In this aspect, the construction of a ramp must take into account a series of points, among which the following stand out:

  • The minimum width of a wheelchair ramp must be 1.2 m.
  • The slope of the ramp will be a maximum of 10% for those that have a length resulting from a maximum of 3 meters, in case of ramps with routes of between 3 and 6 meters the maximum slope will be 8% and for other cases the pending may not exceed 6%.
  • The maximum length of a ramp is 9 meters, if it is higher you will have to build different sections separated by intermediate landings with the same width as the ramp and a length of 1.5 m.
  • The floor must be non-slip , in addition, you must install a double handrail with certain height measurements and a base , curb or element with a minimum height of 10 cm., Which prevent the wheels from leaving the chair.
  • Both in the embarkation area and in the landing area, they must not have obstacles or protrusions and must have sufficient measures to be able to make a circumference with a diameter of 1.5 meters , so that the person in a wheelchair can maneuver without difficulty.

The stair-climbers

Within wheelchair accessible systems accessible to people in wheelchairs, we can find two types:

Staircases that are installed on the ladder by a fixed guidance system and follow the path and shape of the ladder as are the stair lift platforms, which once completed use allow folding to leave the maximum possible free passage of stairs and whose installation does not require works or reforms in the staircase.

Vertical stair climbers , also known as vertical short-haul elevators that require a specific space or hole for their installation, which are equipped with a characteristic cabin open to measure height and have a very similar operation to that of the elevators.

Which is the best option?

But, which option is the best? , the construction of a ramp or the installation of a stair lift, and where is it better to use one or the other?

Normally when it comes to saving slightly unevenness, the option of the ramp is the most used, we have to take into account that, for example, to save two rungs, which would be an approximate difference in height of about 35 cm, the length of the accessible ramp This would be about 4.5 m., to which we will have to add the loading and unloading area so that the person in a wheelchair can maneuver without difficulty.

When it comes to saving major differences, we can find that it is not technically feasible to build an accessible ramp or that it occupies a large space, important especially for many businesses, or that the cost of it is greater than the installation of a stair lift system.

In the hypothetical case that there is the possibility of installing both a stair lift and the construction of a ramp, the main recommendation is the study of the two options, assessing both the price, the works and renovations carried out, the ease of use and, of course, , the viability of the project.