“Access for All”, our recent lunch and learn, centered around accessibility guidelines, and the principles of universal design as they apply to washrooms.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides architects and designers the guidelines and standards for accessibility based on the ADA. Failure to comply with the ADA in your commercial design, can result in legal action from the Department of Justice. Most state building codes have adopted the ANSI accessibility code (ANSI A117.1) and are enforceable by law. It is important to verify All accessibility guidelines on national, state, and local levels. Local codes may be more stringent than national codes, and will supersede federal requirements.
There are many requirements to consider when designing an accessible bathroom for your commercial space. You must consider not just the fixtures, but also their dimensions and height, the amount of space between them for accessing and maneuvering, and discern if they are easy to operate. For example, a simple toilet paper holder requires several guidelines. It needs to be easily accessible within arm’s reach, which according to the ADA is defined between 7-9” from the front of the toilet bowl and at least 15” (18” according to ANSI) above the finished floor. The outlet of the toilet paper dispenser must be between 24” minimum and 42” maximum from the back wall. It must be fully operable with one hand, using less than 5 pounds of pressure and cannot have any parts that require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
Now, can you imagine the amount of time and research that goes into designing an entire ADA compliant space? Call the experts at JL Architects and we’ll do it for you!
*Photo Credit: Bradley Corporation
**Thanks to Ken White, our lunch-n-learn presenter from Bradley Corporation.