GSA Courthouse Management Group
Mechanical Lift Analysis Supplement
PART 2 EVALUATION OF PORTABLE RAMPS AT THE JURY BOX
PURPOSE OF THE SUPPLEMENT
The use of portable ramps as a means of access to the jury box was only briefly addressed in
the original edition of the Mechanical Lift Analysis. Part 2 of this supplement focuses on the
practicality, physical limitations, and best methods of providing this design concept.
The opposite extremes incorporating portable ramps into the design of the jury box observed
during the tour of 20 different U.S. Courthouses for the Mechanical Lift Analysis were
located in Phoenix, Arizona and Knoxville, Tennessee.
MANUAL RECONFIGURATION FOR ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION
As in the case of the mechanical lift for the witness box and Judge's bench at the Phoenix
U.S. Courthouse, the designer attempted to provide the components in a subtle sophisticated
manner, but the construction details and execution did not effectively support the design
The accessible means of getting into the jury box at this facility is provided by adapting a
section of the raised circulation space adjacent to the first row of seats into a ramp
configuration. The riser element at the edge of the raised floor is removed and recessed metal
pulls, imbedded in the moveable section of carpeted floor, are extended and used to lower
one end of the section to form a ramp.
The pulls are weak and poorly anchored into the plywood sub-flooring. Edge conditions of
the movable section of flooring, plus the fixed floor opening, have frayed carpet conditions
and the removable wood riser is not mechanically fastened to jury box base. (Refer to the
photograph on Page 5-65 of the Mechanical Lift Analysis.)
Unlike the lift equipment adaptation at the witness box for this Courthouse, which required
knowledge of the selected system limitations before providing the final millwork dimensions
and details, this ramp condition should have been more substantially detailed in the
construction documents prior to bidding.
This concept could be a good solution when it is properly designed, detailed and constructed.
HDR Architecture, Inc.