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We need a new deck with a ramp to accommodate wheel chairs. Codes are not a major factor, because we live in the country, but we still want it to be easy for handicap parents/grandparents. Our one issue is a hill that slopes toward our house. The ground is fairly well graded about 15-20 feet from the foundation and drainage hasn't been an issue so far. The house is about 25 years old. We'd like to build a large deck over the current vegetation, that also replaces the existing, dilapidated deck. We'd like the new deck to extend out far enough that it ends maybe 6-12" above ground level toward the slope. My question: Is this a bad idea or is it workable? We haven't seen very many decks with ground slopes toward a house, for obvious reasons. Grading it further out is not really an option. We could maybe add a little dirt next to the foundation, but there is no way to move that much dirt and trees to have a perfect grade away from the house. We have plenty of room for a switchback ramp, new steps, etc. Just concerned about building toward a hill. Pictures are included.

Picture 1: Photo taken from existing deck...the ground is graded from the point just past the crock. The water drains to the left, in the picture. A few feet beyond the crock (south) is where it starts to slope toward the house. You can see a raised patio and shade trees in the background.

Picture 2: Photo taken from garage pad...We tossed around the idea of having new stairs(east/west direction) put in where the sidewalk joins the garage pad, and having a ramp with a switchback, perpendicular to the stairs(running north and south), and parallel with the garage pad.
 

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Naildriver
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10,600 Posts
Ramps are easier to build with converging landscape, since the two slopes will geometrically meet sooner than later. The problem comes in if the landscape tapers away from the deck/ramp. They will never meet and you have to build landings and alter the way the ramp lies, sometimes making switchbacks. Keep in mind a 1:12 pitch is needed to prevent runaways and allow easier climbing. "Code" is minimum requirements. You can do better.
 

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For residences there is no code relating to ramps for handicap access. For commercial installations ramp should be no greater than 12: 1, if they are less than 20:1 (5% slope) they aren't even considered a ramp. Also meet the code for commercial access ramps need a landing 60"x60" at the top and bottom and every change of direction.
 

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Usually Confused
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In addition to what Msradell said, check with societies or associations that help disabled persons. Even though there may be no residential codes in this area, they may have some best practice guidelines. As well as the slope mentioned, they might have information regarding width, turning clearance, door landing clearance and things like that. You'd hate to build something that doesn't function well for the disabled person having to use it.
 
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