complete-9-tnThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) continues to update its regulations, with the last major overhaul occurring in 2010. This legal document lists out all standards concerning accessibility, and within it are specifications for wheelchair lifts. Here are the most important points:


This section specifies that wheelchair lifts require at least a 30-inch by 48-inch space of clearance. In this area, the lift must be forward-facing or parallel to an object.

In providing a sufficient path, this area needs to either overlap with an accessible route or be adjacent to another area of clear floor space. If the lift is near an alcove or confined space, the building must provide additional moving clearance.


The ADA gives in detail what the ground and floor near the lift should look like, and this encompasses any nearby surface, such as a floor, walkway, ramp, stairway, or curb. Specifically, all must provide a stable, firm, and slip-resistant area for the wheelchair.

Furthermore, if the floor changes in level, the ADA lists what, exactly, the building needs to provide for accommodations:

  • Up to a ¼” gap – No edge treatments are needed.
  • If between ¼” and ½” – A beveled edge must accompany the change.
  • If above ½” – A ramp must be installed.


apex-completeThe ADA, too, covers carpeting in this section. Any material used needs to be fastened at the edges and have no piling or thickness greater than ½”. Any exposed edges must also be sufficiently trimmed.

Along with these points, section 4.5 touches on grating. Buildings cannot have spaces greater than ½” wide in a single direction. If these run along the length, they must be perpendicular to the wheelchair’s travel direction in moving toward the lift.


If your building has electrical and communication equipment on the wall that’s designed for public use, it cannot be mounted under 15 inches from the floor. For those with disabilities, this equipment needs to have easy one-hand operation without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting required.


The ADA states platform lifts may be used in place of an elevator, under the following conditions:

  • The lift gives access to an area for assembly occupancy, or used by a large group.
  • It provides access to incidental occupiable spaces, such as rooms not open to the general public.
  • It provides access when an elevator or ramp isn’t practical.
  • To comply with wheelchair viewing line-of-site and dispersion requirements.


Looking for a compliant commercial solution? To learn more, contact Apex Wheelchair Lifts to discuss our range of models.


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