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What You Need to Know When Creating an ADA Compliant Bathroom

Whether building or renovating a small business, restaurant or any type of facility’s public restroom, it is vital to keep the accessibility guidelines established by the ADA in mind. ADA is an acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law enacted in 1990 to curb discrimination against people with disabilities public places.  

Although the law has seen constant updates in the last 3 decades, our focus will be on the most recent major changes covering the design of public restrooms that were introduced in 2010. These rules are titled the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Constructing or renovating public restrooms in accordance with these guidelines will help your clients avoid fines or the possibility of being shut down for non-compliance. 

Why Function Trumps Form When Designing an ADA Compliant Bathroom 

The ADA provides a few approaches that contractors can take to provide maximum comfort to individuals with limited mobility. Although most designers are concerned with style or color, we recommend prioritizing function over form – for instance, sourcing for slip-resistant tiling for floors before considering their design. 

Ease of cleaning and texture should be of equal concern. Besides helping your clients stay on the right side of the law and avoid potential personal injury lawsuits, customers will feel that the facility has their loved one’s well-being in mind. 

Features of an ADA-Compliant Bathroom 

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the American National Standards Institute’s specifications, building codes have been amended to improve access to facilities for physically challenged individuals. Outlined below are the major features that should be included: 

1. Grab Bars  

Grab bars are an essential to help people with unsteady footing to maintain balance. The shape and position of grab bars are also specified in the 2010 ADA guidelines for accessible restrooms. The dimensions of grab bars depend on the kind of restroom you are building or remodeling, and cannot be substituted by towel bars, which are not strong enough to hold an adult’s weight. 

ADA regulations state that the bar must be smooth and firmly anchored and should have a diameter of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. Additionally, they must be 34 – 38 inches above the floor and have a separation from the wall of not less than 1 ½ inches. Grab bars should have no sharp edges and must return to an anchor point on the wall to ensure they leave no exposed ends. 

2. Wheelchair Turning Space 

An accessible public bathroom must accommodate a single wheelchair with the ability to rotate fully without obstruction. To ensure this kind of freedom, there should be a clear floor space of not less than 60 inches in diameter to allow 180-degree rotation. Compliant bathroom doors should swing clear of this minimum wheelchair-accessible space. If you are renovating an existing restroom, you can supplement the available space with room under a fixture to ensure you meet this requirement. 

3. Lavatory Placement  

According to the ADA advisory 606, you should have at least one accessible lavatory in each public bathroom which should extend not less than 17 inches from the wall. It must also feature a minimum of 29 inches clearance from the finished floor to the sink apron. Additionally, the lavatory must not be more than 34 inches above the floor. If you install the lavatory in a countertop, it must be no further than 2 inches from the countertop’s front edge. 

4. Toilet Stalls  

ADA bathroom requirements for commercial bathrooms state that a compartment or toilet stall should have a width of at least 60 inches and enough space to fit a wheelchair either to the side or in front of the toilet seat. There must be horizontal grab bars installed on the nearest partition or wall, or behind the toilet seat. You must install the toilet flush lever on the toilet’s open side where there is clear floor space. The flush control should be located not more than 44 inches above the floor. Finally, the fixtures in a toilet stall must be situated to make them detectable by a visually impaired patron using a cane. 

5. Hand Dryer Accessibility  

The requirements for ADA bathrooms stipulate that all hand dryer buttons or touch-free sensors must be between 38 inches and 48 inches above the floor. If you install push-button controls, users should be able to activate them with one hand and require them to exert a force of not more the 5 pounds. 

Additionally, the guidelines for ADA compliant bathroom layouts state that hand dryers and tissue dispensers should be operable by both right-handed and left-handed individuals. This will not only allow for different wheelchair approaches to the bathroom but will ensure that all persons with disabilities can dry their hands with no problems. Hand dryers in bathrooms should protrude from the wall to ensure that visually impaired persons can distinguish them from the wall or other fixtures. 

Pick a Supplier with ADA-Compliance Knowledge  

Building and renovating public restrooms according to ADA regulations helps your commercial clients comply with local building codes. Moreover, there are is an increasing number of residential clients who require accessible bathrooms in their homes to cater to elderly or physically impaired family members.  

When you are building an ADA-compliant bathroom for commercial or residential clients, you should pick materials that make it as easy as possible to comply with applicable laws without breaking the bank. 

The Pro Gallery is the premier remodeling supplier that offers you the best quality bathroom fixtures to ensure ADA compliance. Talk to us today if you are looking to build or remodel a fully ADA compliant bathroom.