My name is Steven and I am from Ireland. I’m a metal fabricator, not qualified though, but I have worked for 3 years with steel. The first place I worked was with a company making helicopter simulators for 2 years. The second job I had was making different things but I never made a handrail for a wheelchair ramp.
I just wanted to get your advice on a hand rail for a ramp. I wanted to know how I should measure the angle of the slope for the ramp? And also would I need to cut the posts each the same length that go inside of the handle part and the lower rail that will be above the ramp itself? How would I measure the length of the square tube at the angle for the post because each end cut will be cut at an angle so it can be welded to the upright posts at the start of the ramp and at the top if the ramp. I’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.
Steve from Ireland sent the above email full of questions concerning building a handicap ramp. I posted a short video of Tom giving a few tips on how to build a metal handrail for a sloped sidewalk or ramp. One thing to keep in mind is to contact a local building official to investigate any building codes that are required in your area. Another key is to make sure you start with a well poured ramp. Sometimes you have to deal with an existing concrete ramp, but if you are starting from ground zero, make sure the ramp is smooth and even to begin with. A good ramp will allow you to compute your metal handrail by rise and run method. You can actually take the measurement, duplicate the angle and draw out the handrail on your shop floor. If the ramp has a dip or two in it, use a strait two by four or a piece of square tube, lay it on the ramp, put an angle finder on it and find the exact angle. This gives you the angle of all the posts. All vertical metal posts should be level, or plumb. The top handrail can be made out of one piece of metal tube. The bottom bumper rails can be cut out to fit between the individual vertical metal posts. Additional guardrail should be added if local code dictates.
Thanks for the question Steve and best of luck with your project!