Building wheelchair ramp for a church auditorium

Q. Our church is interested in building a portable ramp so that those in wheelchairs may have access to the auditorium. There are four steps from the public sidewalk to the service walk, four more to the front porch entry, and one more up to the foyer. Is there a source for this type of appurtenance? Harry Rietze Louisville, Ky.

A. Undoubtedly, such a ramp will have to be custom-designed and built to suit the dimensions at the site.

First, look up any ordinances that state the ramp width, gradient, and railings required by the city. Then design the ramp to fit the code, using materials to accommodate not only wheelchairs but also the idea that it be portable as well.

The ramp may be built by a carpenter, mill, or contractor in accordance with the design and specifications.

Is there a side or rear door leading from the auditorium? Fire laws very often require an alternate emergency exit from an auditorium. If your church building has such an alternate exit, might it offer better prospects for ingress and egress by ramp than the three encumbrances out front? If you have a home-building or upkeep problem, ask a veteran West Coast builder for a solution. Send questions to: Real Estate Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115.m

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