If you planned to build a wheelchair ramp and asked yourself, “Do I need a permit to build a wheelchair ramp?” this article is for you!
You might need a building permit from your local municipality before building a permanent wheelchair ramp (1). Besides that, you’ll also need additional building permits from the government.
Let’s look at the guidelines for the building of permanent exterior ramps.
- It is advised to have a building permit before building a wheelchair ramp.
- Homeowner associations, the landlord, and a professional ramp constructor can help you get a permit.
- Each city has its charges. So a call to the building’s official’s office will help tell you how much a permit will cost.
Do I Need a Municipal Building Permit for a Handicap Ramp?
Most likely! If you are a business owner and wish to add additional structures to public buildings, your municipality will often require that you get a building permit first.
Now, ramps are excellent structures that can better the accessibility for wheelchair users. While there are portable ramps, permanent ramps are perfect to consider.
Yet, regulations on building permits help the government enforce building safety standards (2).
So, to build a wheelchair ramp, you’ll most likely need a permit from the local building authorities.
The best way to confirm whether you need a permit and whether the cost is not too much is to contact your city’s building department.
Permits will ensure proper standards in the ramp building and prevent any safety hazards.
The costs of the permit vary depending on your location and the size of the structural ramp.
The ramp will boost wheelchair access, so it probably won’t cost you too much to spend on permits.
If building a ramp on a residential structure, you’ll need to go through your landlord or the local homeowner association.
Homeowner associations understand the county building codes and will help you get permits for your access ramp.
If you hire a licensed construction contractor, you won’t have to worry about the process.
Can I Build the Ramp Myself?
If building the ramp for a family member, high construction costs might force you to do it instead. Not very practical, is it? You bet!
Temporary ramps are the easiest to build. After all, you only need simple carpentry skills to make a small wooden ramp.
Check our guide on how to build a wood wheelchair ramp.
Knowing the typical height range will also help you make a temporary ramp. Still, the cost of wood isn’t as prohibitive as the construction materials for a concrete ramp.
It’s a different proposition for a permanent ramp, though. A lot goes into the making of a permanent ramp. The ramp slope, length and width, and safety features.
So much can go wrong when you attempt to build a permanent ramp yourself.
First, you might not get the ADA-compliant ramp slope right, and second, the building code in most places will not allow that (3).
So, the best option is to get a professional contractor to do it for you.
Why Should You Consult a Professional for a Ramp?
Although you’ll need additional permissions, a ramp contractor is your best option for constructing a ramp.
Professionals have plenty of experience building permanent fixtures for several other people.
They understand the maximum slope required according to ADA requirements for people with disabilities.
Ramp contractors also understand the proper permits and legal requirements for building ramps.
So, there are fewer chances of ending up with a glaring ramp design failure, like in this video:
They can tell you if the materials are ideal for constructing a nonslip surface in your ramp plan.
A pro will also save you the trip to the local building code office, especially if you’re the primary user.
It could be cheaper to make the ramp yourself, but it’s the more convenient option to go to a pro.
Also, don’t forget to check our guide on the best wheelchair ramp for stairs if you want any of these ramps to be permanently fixed by a professional.
What is an ADA-compliant ramp?
An ADA ramp follows all the ADA guidelines for commercial and non-residential ramps.
Do I need a permit to build a ramp at a commercial building?
All ramps need you to get a permit before construction.
Is a portable ramp a better option than a permanent ramp?
For a ramp user, any ramp that boosts wheelchair access is ideal. However, portable ramps are an excellent choice since you can easily remove them.
Do I need a permit to build a wheelchair ramp? Oh yes, you need one. Any accessory structures or building projects require a permit before construction.
So if you’re planning to build an actual ramp, plan for how to get the permit before making even a few square feet.
Using a professional contractor or going through the landlord are the easiest ways to get a permit. Homeowner associations can also help you get a permit for the ramp.
Do you have questions about wheelchair ramps and their permits? Please fire away your questions in the comment section, and you will be sure to receive a response soon!
- 1. Haupt A. Everything You Need To Know About The Best Wheelchair Ramps [Internet]. Forbes Health. 2021 [cited 2022 Dec 2]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/best-wheelchair-ramps/#:~:text=Permanent%20ramps%2C%20which%20are%20usually
- 2. KENTON W. Building Permits [Internet]. Investopedia. 2019. Available from: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/building-permits.asp
- 3. U.S. Access Board – Chapter 4: Ramps and Curb Ramps [Internet]. www.access-board.gov. Available from: https://www.access-board.gov/ada/guides/chapter-4-ramps-and-curb-ramps/