If you have recently discovered that sometime in the future you or a loved one will need to use a wheelchair, it is obviously crucial to plan for that by providing an accessible garage as soon as possible. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act has been implemented and updated over the years, so today it is not difficult to plan for your changing needs. Although you are not required to maintain the same standards at home that a business would, you may find that it is simpler to adhere to them.
Tip #1-Allow For Sufficient Room For The Wheelchair To Pivot, Stop Suddenly and Turn Around
It is first necessary to understand that the primary function of the Americans With Disabilities Act has always been to provide access to handicapped persons, anywhere and everywhere that they would like to go. Although obviously a wheelchair can enter the garage through the large door that your vehicle does, it is equally obvious that doing so would hardly be a dignified entrance.
Therefore, it is a good idea to look at the standard doorway of the garage door. It will need to be a minimum of two feet, eight inches (32 inches) wide. To get the right measurement, open the door to about 90 degrees and measure the space between the face of the door and the doorstop on the other side.
You may find that it is better to make that measurement at least three feet. That is due to the fact that safe entry for a wheelchair is assumed to take approximately that much space to clear the area around the door. When considering the threshold of the door, it cannot exceed half an inch for a standard door and 3/4 of an inch if, by some chance, your garage has a sliding door going outside.
Tips #2--Look at the Shelving Choices Currently In Place
There is no doubt that the garage is many homes is something of a catch-all for seasonal items, tools and items that have no other designated place. Those items will often be placed on a shelf and it is important to modify shelves for people who use a wheelchair.
The shelves in your garage should be lowered to no more than 48 inches above the ground, if possible. If that is not an option, plan to have someone nearby to get the items in question. Conversely, it is also helpful to lower the shelves to that 48 inches and then widen or extend the shelves, so that the same amount of items still fit on the shelves and they are more accessible.
In conclusion, creating a usable space for someone who uses a wheelchair is one of the best things you can do, when you have notice of the impending change. It does not have to be expensive to make those improvements, given today's options.
For further assistance, contact a local garage door equipment outlet, such as Garbers Of Richmond Inc.