ADA Compliant Bathroom Design
Intended to regulate the construction and compliance of handicapped accessible bathrooms, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all public restrooms in the United States be ADA-compliant. The most prevalent aspect of ADA compliance is measurement and spacing of various bathroom elements, as wheelchairs and other devices can be cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in small spaces. If you’re renovating a bathroom and would like for it to be ADA compliant, here is a list of the most common guidelines that must be followed. For a complete list, please visit the official ADA website or contact the ADA directly.
An important thing to remember when it comes to grab bars is that they cannot be replaced by towel bars – if you wish to install towel bars and have your bathroom be ADA-compliant, you must also include grab bars in your bathroom. The diameter of the pipe used must be between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches, and must be installed between 34 and 38 inches off the ground. As a matter of safety and security, the bars must be round in shape and connected directly to posts or walls. This way, someone getting hurt by sharp edges can be prevented.
Sinks & Faucets
Sinks and faucets in an ADA-compliant bathroom shouldn’t be mounted higher than 34 inches from the floor. Additionally, they should have a knee clearance of 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. When purchasing and installing ADA-compliant sinks, be sure to pay attention to the space under the sink: you’ll need a clear floor space and insulated pipes under the sink, so individuals in wheelchairs will be able to use the sink. Faucets should be lever-operated, push, touch, or electronically controlled. Any faucet installed in an ADA-compliant bathroom should be able to be used with one hand without the need to pinch or twist the wrist.
Perhaps the most important part of an ADA-compliant bathroom are handicap toilets. They must have a minimum width of 60 inches, so wheelchairs can easily fit in front of the toilet, and inside and outside the stall. Horizontal grab bars must be installed behind the toilet and on the nearest wall or partition – whichever is closer. When it comes to toilet seats, the height must be between 17” to 19” above the finished floor. The lever for flushing must be placed on the open side of the toiler with the clearest floor space, and mounted no higher than 44” above the floor.
Hand dryers are one of the easiest requirements to comply with when it comes to ADA-compliant bathroom design. ADA guidelines require that the provided hand dryers must be either motion activated or touch-free devices. In the past, when push-button activated dryers were popular, these dryers had to be removed in all public areas where you should have handicapped accessible bathrooms. When it comes to bathroom equipment, touch-free is key – those who don’t comply with the touch-free ADA guidelines can be exposed to several fines and other legal repercussions.