Wheelchair Ramp Construction
We do not usually think twice when we enter and exit our homes, but for those who are wheelchair-bound, it could be a tedious task. A wheelchair ramp ministry allows easier access and increased mobility for those with disabilities.
During the planning stage, consider the following:
- Determine resources needed for this ministry, e.g. financial resources, materials, number of volunteers needed. Here are some of the tools you will need:
- Skill Saw
- Framing Square
- Speed Square
- 9-12 volt cordless drill
- Electric srill
- 25 foot tape
- 24” level
- Chalk line
- Post hole digger
- Sharp Shooter
- Hand saw
- Box saw
- Dust mask
- Pressure treated lumber
- Recruit volunteers, particularly those with carpentry, architecture, contracting, or design skills. Area church youth groups may also be interested to help with construction.
- Get word out about this ministry to identify those in need, e.g. advertise at the local newspaper. Ask for referrals from Social Services, your local area Agency on Aging, Elder Homes or similar agencies.
- Sort through the requests. It may be helpful to have applicants fill out a wheelchair ramp needs assessment form. A sample is provided here on pp. 5-6.
- Visit the site to get to know the recipient and to determine the dimensions of the ramp. If the recipient is renting a home, you will need to obtain permission from the owner to build a temporary ramp.
- Design the ramp. Look at resources below for different design styles.
- Gather materials and start building. The ramp is at least a two-person project, as you need to transport and install the modules.
- Engage in conversation with homeowners. Take time to pause from working and get to know the homeowners. Have prayer with them and/or take prayer requests.
- Do not attempt projects that require meeting city/county codes unless you are licensed to do so. Check with your local county offices for building codes/permits.
- Cooperate with the Department for Social Services or other agencies instead of duplicating services.
- The initial platform at the door usually takes the longest; don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than expected to build.
- Your church/organization should have a ramp contract with the homeowner. When the resident is no longer in need of the wheelchair ramp, the ramp can then be dismantled or recycled to a new location.