ADA Bathroom Guidelines 2018

Do your bathrooms meet all the ADA requirements?

The ADA (The American with Disabilities Act) outlines very specific ADA bathroom guidelines concerning the construction and compliance of accessible (handicap) bathrooms.

We’ve compiled an overview of ADA bathroom requirements from wheelchair rotating space, grab bars and door weight, to lavatory, hand dryer, and mirror height requirements, with links to other construction and legal resources for ADA compliance.

You want to service your customers with comfort and accessibility, and you don’t want to put your business at risk for complaints, lawsuits or fines.

Here are some ADA bathroom requirements, with links to more resources below.

Rotating Space per ADA Bathroom Guidelines

A single wheelchair must rotate freely inside a bathroom with a motion of at least 60″ clear space in diameter. The chair must be able to complete a 180-degree turn. Sometimes that required space could be computed beneath fixtures.

Dimensions for a Handicap toilet

This space must be designed to accommodate a forward or parallel approach to the equipment by a single wheelchair. The open space minimum dimensions need to be 30” x 48.”

Sometimes that clear space will be located under current fixtures, but be sure to verify that there are enough room and space to allow legs to move freely under those spaces when sitting in a wheelchair.

ADA Grab Bar Requirements

Grab bars are not intended to be used as towel bars and vice-versa. The grab bar handrail must be fully anchored with a smooth surface that can be easily grabbed.

The diameter of the pipe used for this kind of purpose must be between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches. ADA grab bar handrails for accessible bathrooms must be installed in a horizontal position, between 34 and 36 inches off the ground, measured from the top of the gripping surface. There must be a separation between the grab bar and the surface where it is located, of at least 1-1/2 inches.

For security, bars must contain round edges and room for proper firm grab. The handrail must be returned to the connection to posts or walls. This will prevent someone from getting hurt by a sharp pointing object.

ADA Toilet Height Requirements

An Accessible toilet requires a minimum width of 60″ and enough space to accommodate the wheelchair to the sides of the toilet or in front of it.

Toilet seat heights must be between 17″ to 19″ above the finished floor. The lever for flush control needs to be placed on the open side of the toilet with the clearest floor space and mounted no higher than 44″ above the finished floor.

ADA Lavatory Requirements and Installation Height

An accessible lavatory must extend at least 17″ from the back wall and have a clearance of at least 29″ from the bottom of the apron to the finished floor.

The lavatory must not be installed at heights greater than 34″. If the lavatory is installed with a countertop, it should be placed no further than 2″ from the front edge for maximum accessibility.

ADA Hand Dryer Requirements

Hand dryer requirements are one of the easiest to comply with. ADA bathroom guidelines require hand dryers are either motion activated or touch-free devices.

Push-button activated dryers must be removed, especially in public areas where you should have handicapped accessible bathrooms. Make sure you provide touch-free equipment to comply with ADA guidelines.

When installing new hand dryer equipment follow ADA design guidelines and regulations including the location and depth of the wall. ADA specifies that the hand dryer must not protrude from the wall more than 4 inches. If this rule is not met, there is a significant chance that a blind person can hit the hand dryer and can be injured.

Most hand dryers don’t have sensors alerting blind people of their location, so be sure to verify this in your handicap toilet construction process.

Common ADA Mistakes

Mirror height: The average mirror height is more than 40 inches above the floor. From a wheelchair that is often 10 to 18 inches too high.

Grab bars: All bars need at least an inch and a half of clear space in every direction. It’s common for a toilet paper dispenser to be installed too close for accessibility.

Toilet stalls: Toilets should be located within 16-18 inches from the centerline of the wall. More or less than that makes maneuvering difficult. Toilet flush levers should be installed on the open side of the stall so that the user doesn’t have to reach over the toilet.

Sinks & Faucets: 2010 ADA updates require the toilet to be within a 60-inch clear space, and the sink must be installed beyond that area. Also, sinks are frequently installed too high, over 34 inches, especially base cabinet models (standard base cabinets are 36 inches high so special orders might be needed). Knee clearance that is at least 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep must be provided underneath sinks.

Doors: Non-compliant bathroom doors might be installed improperly (if it swings into the bathroom instead of outward). This reduces wheelchair turning clearance.  Also, do not install doors that require more than 5 pounds of force to open or close. Access should not be hindered by a door that’s too heavy to open.

ADA Compliance Misconceptions

Not attending to these common pitfalls can spell trouble for ADA compliance, not just in restrooms, but in the rest of your facility. If any of these sound familiar, you may be at risk of additional complaints, lawsuits or fines.

It’s essential for hotels to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) toilet and bathing room requirements. Stay safe and compliant!

If you have any questions call or email the THLA team!

512-474-2996, or by email at [email protected].