3 Required Features of ADA Compliant Restrooms

toilet with handrails for the disabled. Focus on the lid of the toilet

Providing comfort and service is an important goal that requires precision and dedication. Setting out to create an ADA compliant restroom and failing frustrates everyone.

The importance of the guidelines laid out by the ADA ensures that a handicap accessible toilet offers safe, efficient access to anyone who needs it.

The ADA guidelines were made with the best intentions, but perhaps not written by engineers gifted with communication skills. 

The following expands on the most important rules to ensure function and compliance.  

Handicap Accessible Toilet

While the nuts and bolts of the guidelines come down to sizing, it is the intent behind the spacing and sizing that is more important.

Each of the following states the height, width, and clearance of various items but it's important to note that these measurements serve a purpose.

Restrooms are also public locations and need to offer more privacy and security than a home bathroom.

1. Sinks

Sink access is important for the hygiene of a facility as well as safety. It's easy for injuries to occur when the sink is too low, unreachably high, and the clearance underneath is clogged with pipes.

Knee clearance needs to be 27 inches high. It also needs to be between 11 and 25 inches deep to accommodate mobility equipment.

Faucets are to be one-hand operated and no require pressure placed on the wrist. This means no twisting or gripping. Levers, electronic control, and push operation with less than 5 pounds of force provide the best results.

Fixtures around the sink, such as soap dispensers, paper towels, and trash cans all are better recessed so they don't protrude into the room and create hazards and waste internal space. 

2. Stalls

Stalls also benefit from the same ethos in fixtures. toilet flush valves need to be usable without twisting. 

Toilets and urinals both need to be 17 inches from the floor or 19 inches max for a toilet (depending on seat position).

Grab bars are one of the easiest mistakes made in designing a compliant restroom. It's easy enough to mount the bars, 33-36 inches high in positions along the rear (36 inches long) and side (42 inches) wall. The problem is the gripping surface. The bar needs to offer 1.25 inches of surface which means it needs to be off the wall by at least 1.5 inches to a maximum of 1.75.

3. Doors

Doors are another sticking point for restroom design. Doors need to be easy enough to open with one hand and swing gradually without snap-back from hinges. 

You want doors to swing open 32 inches when at 90 degrees. They need to be 80 inches tall to provide headroom. This applies both to the stall doors and the doors to the facility itself. When a lock is used for a single-occupancy restroom, it needs to be easy to engage without twisting. 

Also, keep in mind that doors still need to function according to fire and safety codes as well. 

The Right Access

Building a compliant handicap accessible toilet requires you to consider many angles of comfort and safety. 

When the guidelines are viewed from the inside, for their intent, rather than the string of measurements, they become much clearer. 

For more information about mobility solutions and products, contact BruanAbility. 

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