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Looking for a lasting refurbishment of its medical helicopter landing pad, Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN, called on Lindee Construction for a solution.

Lindee used its extensive commercial contracting experience in medical facilities to find an answer that best met Methodist’s needs.

Repainting the faded helipad with vibrant new colors was the first step. The second was applying a new material to coat the painted helipad with a revolutionary epoxy that not only protects the paint from fade-inducing UV rays, but also creates a strong surface that provides long-lasting protection from the elements.

The coating also creates a strong, clear and lasting surface protecting the heliport from wear generated by daily use, including any chemical or machine fluid spills, weight of helicopters and equipment and foot traffic.

What makes Lindee the contractor of choice for helipad refurbishment across the U.S. is its experience with the new epoxy product along with its understanding of the special needs of hospitals to ensure limited downtime.

Limiting the time for helicopter landing pad renovation is allowed because the new epoxy cures very quickly, allowing for use between coats.

Lindee Construction is a long-term, family-owned commercial contractor with lengthy experience working in the unique needs of hospitals. That experience, and our experience with the new epoxy product, makes us the ideal choice to bid on helicopter landing page repainting, refurbishing or renovation project. We work nationally. Call 612-282-3214 for more information.

Now that we’ve reviewed the characteristics of building a home wheelchair ramp — including important safety features — it’s time to draw up a plan and order materials.

For our purposes, let’s assume we’re going to build a ramp that covers 29-feet of sloped surface, including two level landings that will each be 58″ by 98 1/2″.

To cover the length needed, two 116″ modules (joists with ramp surfacing) and two 58″ modules will be constructed.

Draw an overhead view of the wheelchair ramp and make several copies.

On the first copy, determine the number of landings and modules needed. Describe the materials needed for the ramp.

Begin a materials list, keep a separate page for each landing and module ordered so that during construction pieces can be matched to their intended purpose.

On the next copy of your overhead view, determine the number of support structures needed and describe the materials needed.

When building a home wheelchair ramp, there are crucial safety features that must be employed during construction.

First and foremost is the handrail, which is typically installed between 31-inches and 34-inches from the surface of the ramp. The rails should also be capable of supporting a 250-pound load at any point along the length. The diameter of the handrail should be no more than 1-and-1/2 inches, with wood as the preferred material.

Next, a guardrails need to be mounted along the structure’s perimeter, usually at a seated person’s knee height, which is 18-inches to 20-inches. The guardrails prevent users from slipping off the side of the ramp or any landing.

Edging should also be attached along the base of the ramp. This curbing prevents devices like crutches from slipping off the side of the ramp as well.

Next: Getting to work …

When building a home wheelchair ramp, landings are required at the top, bottom and sometimes at intermediate locations along the ramp.

These landings allow a person to maintain balance while performing tasks such as opening doors, resting or changing direction of travel if the wheelchair ramp turns.

Top landings should be nearly flush with the exterior door threshold. If not, the wheelchair’s relatively small front wheel will abruptly stop. It is also a tripping hazard for walkers.

Top landings should be at least 60-inches by 60-inches if there is a door that swings out, with at least a 12-inch by 24-inch space at the right of the door’s handle. These dimensions give enough room for a person to move off to the side while opening the door without having to get out of the way of its swing.

Intermediate landings are needed when there is a change in direction of a ramp or — in general terms — after a ramp covers more than a 30-inch change in rise.
An intermediate landing which does not change a ramp’s direction can be the same width as the ramp.

When an intermediate landing is used for a wheelchair changing direction, the dimensions are usually 48-inches by 48-inches for a 90-degree turn. If the landing is used for a 180-degree turn, 48-inches times by the width of the two ramp sections is a typical measurement.

Bottom landings are typically 60-inches by 60-inches for wheelchair users, but larger-width landings may be called for it the user has to make a direction change (a 90-degree turn, for example). Also, make sure the intersection between the landing and the ramp doesn’t have a “lip” greater than 1/2-inch, which would become a tripping/rolling hazard.

Next: Other safety features

When building a home wheelchair ramp, nothing is more critical than slope. Anything more than a 1-to-12 ratio is unacceptable. Why? Because slopes steeper than this may be beyond the strength of people using manual wheelchairs trying to use the ramp. It may also cause an electric wheelchair to tip backwards.

What is slope? Simply put, slope is the relationship of vertical height (rise) to horizontal length (run). A gentler slope, say a 1-to-16 ratio, will require a longer wheelchair ramp than a 1-to-12 ratio.

Using slope, how do I determine how long my ramp will be?

First, measure the distance between the bottom of the entry point (front door, for example) to the grade at the house’s foundation. For our purposes, suppose that distance is 30 inches. Then measure the change in grade between the foundation and where the wheelchair ramp’s bottom landing will be located. If it’s 10 inches lower, then that figure will factored in.

Second, after you’ve made those measurements, do some basic math. Say that a ramp with a 1:12 slope is to be built with a home with a 40-inch total rise.

Multiply 40-inches by 12. That number is 480 inches. Convert it to feet, and the length of your ramp (excluding all landings) will be 48 feet to safely accommodate wheelchair access at a 1:12 slope.

Next: Planning For Handicapped Ramp Landings

How do you build a wheelchair ramp for your home? First of all, decide the type of ramp that best fits your budget, your home and the person using it.

View an example of a “post-and-beam” home wheelchair ramp:

Option 1: Berming

Berming is basically constructing a ramp with concrete, blacktop, patio blocks or even treated wood decking. The grade along the path is built up with dirt or sand..then a wheelchair-ready walkway is made from the above materials. As long a the total rise doesn’t exceed 18-inches from the origin point (driveway, street, sidewalk) to the home entry (front door, patio), berming can be an economical way to build a compliant, wheelchair-accessible ramp to a house. Anything more than an 18-inch rise usually calls for a permanent, framed structure.

Option 2: Solid Construction

Solid construction for a wheelchair ramp usually involves a ramp made out of concrete to create a one-piece structure. While these are infrequently used at homes, solid construction wheelchair ramps are the most stable. They can, however, be among the most costly options.

Option 3: Post-And-Beam

A majority of home wheelchair ramps are of the “post-and-beam” construction type. These structures are typically built with wooden framing, supported by posts.

First, the posts. One option is to sink posts vertically into the ground — below the frost line — into holes filled with sand, gravel or concrete. The other option is to pour concrete into the hole and install an anchoring bracket on top, into which the posts are bolted.

As for the wheelchair ramp itself, horizontal beams are attached between the posts to frame the perimeter of the structure, which will include not only the ramp itself — but landings as well. The surface of the ramp is attached to joists that are installed at right angles to the beams.

When it’s time to attach the lumber to the joists, lay, for example, 2×6’s perpendicular to the director of travel, spaced with a slight gap (about 1/4-inch) through which rain, snow and dirt can fall.

As for the type of wood used in this project, it should be naturally resistant to decay (redwood or cedar, for example), or treated with chemical preservatives.

The width of a “post-and-beam” wheelchair ramp can range from 36-inches to 48-inches, depending on the personal assistance or mobility equipment involved. 36-inches may be appropriate for someone walking or using a cane, crutches, or a walker. For someone using a wheelchair, 42-inches to 48-inches is appropriate. That’s also an acceptable distance for two people walking side-by-side.

Next: Why is slope critical?

Take A Look At The Results Of The Kitchen Remodel:

This Lindee Construction kitchen remodel in a Minnetonka home included pushing out the house three feet, walnut floors, replacing the slate stairs and creating a much larger, more modern and usable kitchen space.

The remodel required removing the existing kitchen and gutting it, building a new two-tired counter further into the dining room to provide a much larger kitchen area. To accommodate the kitchen island shift about three feet was added off the dining room.

The slate was removed the stairs and walnut treads replaced them. A sofitt was built to accommodate the pendant lighting and add a detail creating a sense of intimacy in the kitchen and offering backlighting in the dining room.

Among other details:

  • Carerra marble countertops on both levels of the two-tiered counter facing the dining room.
  • The kitchen remodel featured natural walnut floors.
  • The exposed wooden beams were painted white to add to the open, airy feeling.
  • The F. Bartazzoni Italia stove was painted Ferrari red at the same factory that paints the cars.
  • The stove is complemented by an Arietta hood, also imported from Italy.
  • Open spaces were added atop the kitchen cabinets and faced with seeded glass.

When Nancy Smith first glimpsed the Minnetonka condomonium during her house hunt nearly four years ago the first thing that caught her eye was the “big, beautiful deck,” she said.

Click On Image To View Project

That deck was enough to overcome an interior not conducive for someone in a wheelchair seeking independent living. There was plush carpet — difficult to traverse in a wheelchair — along with a bathroom with a step-in bath/shower “that I can’t step in to.” Then there was the kitchen. “Think of a 1980s condo with those tiny little kitchens,” she said. “That’s what it was.”

In addition to being enclosed and small, the kitchen had two narrow openings and a table that dominated what open space there was. “It was very difficult to turn around in,” Smith said.

She replaced the flooring and remodeled the bathroom, but wasn’t able to renovate the kitchen to meet her accessibility needs at the same time.

That changed after several years and when Smith learned she qualified for help in remodeling and retrofitting her kitchen to help her live independently. To qualify the project needed to meet the standards of the Americans With Disability Act.

She received a list of contractors vetted for the specialized ADA compliance work and “I called (Lindee Construction.) Dave answered the phone and it was as simple as that,” she said.

Lindee’s owner Dave Kuennen met with Smith, discussed what she sought from her kitchen renovation and drew up ADA-compliant plans that received Smith’s OK. “Dave thought of everything,” Smith said.

Less than a month from the start of construction Smith was using her kitchen for cooking, eating meals with her son, cleaning up on her own and loading her dishwasher.

“Last night I made macaroni and cheese for my son, something I hadn’t been able to do in years,” she said. “We ate together at our table and he said it was the best mac and cheese he’s ever had.”

Kuennen said that ADA compliant projects are unique given that the needs of each client dictate the design. In Smith’s case that included ensuring she had an ADA compliant kitchen design to ensure her left side was situated to take the most actions such as using a faucet or stove top.

The project centered around providing Smith independent accessibility to her kitchen, so Kuennen’s remodel design removed the walls that enclosed the kitchen and expanded the kitchen’s footprint allowing her to move in and out of the space with ease.

A section of countertop was lowered and left vacant beneath to give Smith access to a workspace. The counter stovetop was positioned for ease of access from the workspace. The kitchen sink and dishwasher were placed to make them both more easily reached and working better in tandem for someone requiring wheelchair access.

“We make sure the drawers have proper handles so they can be opened with ease,” said Keunnen. “And we build cabinet doors that opened the drawers behind them when the door is opened” to limit the number of actions needed to access stored items.

One reason for Lindee Construction’s expertise with ADA compliant construction is that the company is a certified health care contractor trained for construction work in sensitive spaces.

“We monitor the air quality before, during and after a project,” Kuennen said. “And we use HEPA air filters and controlled containment to keep construction debris and contaminants from non-construction areas.”

The project was finished in early August. “I’m still acclimating to it,” Smith said. “But I already can tell it will lighten the load for the people who help me.”

While the project is helping Smith live more independently, it provided her more than just accessibility.

“What is great is that he not only made it accessible, but did it with an appearance that is beautiful,” she said.