Some households may have disabled members moving around in a wheelchair or crutches, so a home access ramp would be a huge help. There are homes which are too difficult for them to reach and one solution is to build a mobility access ramp — Home improvements financed by a reverse mortgage could be the key.
There are a number of access types to consider in choosing your ideal ramp.
- Permanent. Made of concrete or timber wood, permanent ramps will be built on-site under permit.
- Modular. Modular ramps are made of aluminium and can be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. They are commonly set up in the entryways of private residences.
- Portable. Portable ramps are steel mobile ramps that are easy to set up, usually on stairways that have a few steps.
- Suitcase. Suitcase ramps are portable ramps that are designed for entryways with stairs, and are set up after several folds. They are different from portable ramps by having a built-in handle, akin to a suitcase.
- Threshold. Made of steel or rubber, threshold ramps are installed to connect surfaces that are slightly raised than others. One example of this is an entryway where the door frame is raised; threshold ramps eliminate the danger of tripping on the lower part of the door frame.
In deciding to have a ramp built (preferably through a ramp contractor with a strong record in mobility access), consider the potential users for it. In the case of the household, account for loved ones with mobility issues. Their mode of mobility will also dictate the engineering and materials for the ramp in terms of taking the heavy loads. Analyse your property for the most suitable location to build the ramp on, especially when you want to immediately connect it to a doorway.
As indicated earlier, mobility ramps are made of either steel, rubber, concrete, or wood, depending on the model. The chosen material, though, must be durable for harsh weather conditions, easy maintenance, and have a high load capacity.
The ramp design may factor in the possibility of turning areas, either 45 degrees, 90 degrees or between 90 to 180 degrees for switchback ramps.
Australian Accessibility Standards AS1428 governs the necessary requirements for building a mobility access ramp, and will be cross-checked if the ramp construction requires a building permit from your local council. The Disability Discrimination Act will also have terms to aid your mobility ramp in compliance issues.
- Gradient. The rule for mobility ramps is to have a gradient of 1:14 for ramps with landings every nine metres and 1:20 for ramps with landings every 15m. The rationale for this is to reduce strain on the person going up.
- Landings. Landings give the person a chance to rest before going further up and down the ramp. For ramps with turns of up to 90 degrees, the landing on the turn must be at least 1,500 millimetres long and wide. However, for switchbacks, the landing should be over 1540mm and over 2070mm long (to account for splays).
- Handrails. Ramps with 1:14 and 1:20 gradients should have handrails installed to aid movement. As a rule, they must extend 300mm into the landing itself. Handrails along opposing sides of the ramp should be at least 1000mm apart and between 865mm and 1000mm above the kerb for easy reaching.
- Non-slip. Your preferred ramp may have a smooth gradient, but safety experts recommend installing non-slip surfacing to prevent slip and fall accidents on the ramp itself. At the same time, the ramp will be tested for brake resistance. This is primarily to avoid accidents where for example, a wheelchair-bound person at the top of a landing suddenly moves down and builds up speed to hit a turn.
- Tactile Ground Surface Indicators. Tactile Ground Surface Indicators are required to be set up on the landings themselves. These will warn people of delicate surfaces and primarily covered yellow. Installing additional safety signages, like a wheelchair ramp sign, may be a bonus.
Why build a mobility ramp for your home?
A mobility ramp for your residence carries great benefits in the long run.
- Freedom of mobility. A ramp gives persons with mobility issues open room to reach a higher level, avoiding the need for other people to carry them up and down the stairs, which may be true if they live on their own.
- Convenience. A mobility ramp may work for persons with mobility and disability issues, but it also adds another way for people to bring larger objects into the home, such as furniture and groceries. If you have loved ones with children on strollers, they can use the ramps to go up as well.
- Resale value. Mobility ramps can possibly increase the value of your property when it is appraised. Given current demographics indicating an increase in elderly population, potential house hunters can be attracted by a home with integrated access for persons of disability.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage is here for building your home access ramp
ASAG is in the most optimal position to aid in the endeavour. You can apply for the ASAG Reverse Mortgage based on the equity of your property to fund the entire project. The loan will only be repaid when you decide to sell the property or to gradually pay it back over time.
Building an access ramp on your property can be a lifesaver for the differently-abled, even more if a loved one is among them. Take the opportunity to help them. Call ASAG at 1300 002 724 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for further enquiries on our equity release facilities.
You can also get started by using our tool below to assess your available equity.