Ramps that Don’t Require Handrails, Slope and Rise

The International Building Code and the American’s with Disability Act set the rules for ramps in new construction and remodels. In most cases you need to have handrails on both sides, but there are a few ways to avoid handrails.

The first way is to keep the rise of the ramp to no more than 6″. Ramps less than 6″ high do not require handrails.

The second way is to keep the slope less than 1:20 or 5%. With a slope less than 5% it is not considered a ramp and therefore does not need handrails. This creates a long ramp but it comes in handy when you have the space and want to avoid the handrail aesthetic.

Vehicle ramps do not need handrails as long as the ramp is not a part of the accessible means of egress.

Curb ramps on sidewalks do not require handrails.

Sloped aisles with seating on both sides can go as steep as 1:8 or 12.5% without handrails.


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