When does my walkway need an ADA compliant handrail?

There are three major areas of concern for ADA compliance. Once you have established that your facility needs to be ADA compliant, the three areas of concern are stairs, ramps, and landings/raised walkways.

  1. Stairs: All stairs that fall under ADA compliance must have compliant handrail (ADA 4.9.1). This means that it does not matter whether you have one riser or ten risers, you need railing on both sides of the stair(s)
  2. Ramp: Any ramp that has a rise greater than 6 (inches) or a run greater than 72 (inches) needs to have ADA compliant handrail.
  3. Landings/Raised walkways: Any surface that has a drop off needs to have curbs, walls, railings,
    or projecting surfaces that prevent people from slipping off the edge. ADA leaves the size of the drop off to the interpretation to the reader or more properly to the inspector. A good general rule of thumb is 6 (the height of a ramp requiring a handrail), but check with your local inspector to verify.
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