Florida Building Codes for Wheelchair Ramps

by Erika Becklin; Updated September 26, 2017
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According to Florida Building Code Chapter 11, Part A, Section 11-4.8, new public and commercial buildings are required to provide accessible routes for facility ingress and egress. In tight spaces, a ramp may be necessary to make the route accessible. The path is considered a ramp if the incline has a slope of more than 1:20, or 5 percent. Different rules apply for existing structures, historical structures and curb ramps.

Slope

An incline is considered a ramp if it has a slope of at least 5 percent or 1:20--one unit of rise for every 20 units of run. For new construction in Florida, the maximum allowed slope is 1:12, with a maximum overall rise of 30 inches. However, ramps should be built with the lowest possible slope. Existing buildings may use ramps with slopes between 1:10 and 1:12, with a maximum rise of 6 inches, or between 1:8 and 1:10, with a maximum rise of 3 inches.

Width

In Florida, accessible ramps must be at least 36 inches wide or, if used as an exit ramp, 44 inches in width.

Landings

Ramps must have landings at the top and bottom, and the landings must be the same width as the ramp. The landings must have at least 60 inches of clearance, 60 inches square on direction-changing landings and 72 inches of straight, level clearance at bottom landings. If a door is located on a landing, additional clearance is required as specified by Florida door accessibility guidelines.

Handrails

Handrails are required on ramps longer than 72 inches or with more than 6 inches of rise. The top of the handrail must be between 34 and 38 inches above the ramp. There must be 1-1/2 inches of clearance between the wall and handrail. Finally, handrails must be on both sides of the ramp, continuous and parallel with the ramp, have rounded ends and may not rotate on their fittings.

Edge Protection

Protection in the form of curbs, walls, railing or similar safeguard must be provided for ramps and landings with drop-offs. The edge protection must be at least 2 inches high.

Surfaces

Ramp surfaces must be stable, slip-resistant and firm. The ramp may not have a cross-slope--the angle perpendicular to the slope of the ramp--of more than 1:50. Ramps must be designed so that water cannot accumulate.

About the Author

Making the complex understandable, Erika Becklin has written on parenting, education, small business, manufacturing, food service, and travel as a small-business owner and manager since 1996. Her articles appear on eHow and Answerbag. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus on professional and technical writing from the University of South Florida.

Photo Credits

  • warehouse door with staircase entry image by Bo Widerberg from Fotolia.com