If you’re installing a handrail at your business, it’s easy to become distracted by color and style options. However, handrails are crucial when it comes to making your business or public space accessible for individuals with disabilities. For that reason, it’s important to make sure you’re complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So when are ADA handrails required? Read on for more information.
When Are ADA Handrails Required?
Determining Your Building Requirements
The ADA’s handrail requirements for ramps and curb ramps are found in chapter five (“General Site and Building Elements”) of the frequently-updated ADA Standards. According to the most recent standards update, ramps and curb ramps are required along handicap-accessible routes when there are changes in ground level greater than half an inch. The handrails also have to span the entire stretch. Additionally, you’ll need to install railings along accessible routes with slopes steeper than five percent. Finally, make sure to install handrails along ramps with a rise greater than six inches and along all newly-constructed stairways. If you’re unable to install a handrail, the ADA states that you can use an elevator or platform lift instead. If you’re still unsure about ADA requirements, the United States Access Board has a variety of resources.
Double-Check Your State Requirements
If your building or public space violates the ADA’s handrail requirements, you’re not only responsible for a safety hazard; you could also face a United States Department of Justice enforcement action. In addition, you might be subject to a private party lawsuit if an individual is injured at your facility. Once you’ve confirmed that you’re ADA-compliant, you also need to double-check that you’re complying with state and local accessibility standards, which might even exceed ADA requirements. Requirements vary between states, but local building inspectors adhere to them strictly. Begin by checking out your state’s building codes, which are available online.
Installing ADA-Approved Handrails
There are several factors to take into consideration when installing handrails for ramps and stairs. First, you must install rails along the full stretch of the stair or ramp surface. Additionally, the handrail’s height must be consistent. After all, you don’t want an individual with mobility limitations to struggle their way along a curvy, winding handrail. Current standards also require a handrail’s height to fall between 34 and 38 inches above the stair, ramp, or other walking surface. Furthermore, handrails should be at least one and one half inches away from the wall to allow patrons to place their hands on the rail comfortably. Finally, if you install a second handrail – if, for example, small children frequent the building – the two handrails should be at least nine inches apart.
Locating ADA-Approved Handrails
At Aluminum Handrail Direct, we specialize in the highest-quality handrails money can buy. We offer a variety of handrail components, all of which can be viewed on our online store. Additionally, we offer expert staff to help you navigate the intricacies of ADA compliance.
So when are ADA handrails required? Often! As businesses and public spaces work to make themselves more handicap-accessible, handrail standards are becoming more stringent. At Aluminum Handrail Direct, we’d like to help you stay abreast of changing accessibility standards. Aluminum Handrail Direct offers high-quality, maintenance-free aluminum handrails and accessories. With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, we know how to ensure that your business is ADA compliant. We’ll even ship your handrails directly to you to make your building process as easy as possible. If you have questions about when to install ADA-approved handrails, give us a call at 417-409-3179.