When constructing or remodeling a bathroom to make it accessible to handicapped individuals, builders must comply with the guidelines set forth by the ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act has rules about several different bathroom features.
Clear Floor Space
The floor must have a clear space, and the minimum dimensions must be 30 inches by 48 inches. Bathrooms with smaller spaces than this cannot properly accommodate a single wheelchair. The space must also allow for a parallel or forward approach to the bathroom equipment. If that space must include current fixtures, there should be enough room for a person’s legs to move freely underneath them.
All toilets for handicapped persons must have a minimum width of 60 inches. They must have enough space to allow wheelchairs to access the sides or front of the toilet. In addition to this, there must be horizontal grab bars installed on the nearest wall or behind the toilet. Whichever option is closer is the best choice. If space restrictions are an issue, a separate partition can be installed to meet guidelines. Seats must be between 17 inches and 19 inches above the floor. The flush handle of a toilet should be located on the open side, and it must be no more than 44 inches above the floor.
Since they are not as sturdy, towel racks should never be installed instead of grab bars. In order to be compliant, the grab bars must be completely anchored. They must also have smooth surfaces that are easy to grasp. To make the bars easier for anyone to grab, the pipes should be about 1.25 to 1.5 inches in diameter. The space between the grab bar and the wall must be at least 1.5 inches. This allows handicapped individuals enough space to hold the bar without rubbing against the wall. Bars must be placed between 34 and 38 inches above the floor. As a safety measure, all bars must have rounded edges. A bar’s screws and its anchor plates must also be free of any sharp edges.
Lavatories must have a clearance of 29 inches from the floor to the apron’s bottom side, and they must stand at least 17 inches from the back wall. They cannot exceed a height of 34 inches. For lavatories installed in counter tops, placement should be no more than two inches from the front edge.
A single wheelchair must be able to rotate without difficulty in a bathroom. In order to complete a half turn, an open space of about 60 inches is required. It is possible to add existing features that allow for clear movement under them.
This is one of the easiest compliance items to install. The ADA requires hand dryers to be motion activated or have another touch-free feature. Businesses that have push-button dryers installed should replace them with new touch-free models. If this is not done, the business could face several different fines and legal action. The ADA has also set forth guidelines for dryer sizes. To meet the guidelines, dryers must not protrude more than four inches from the wall. This is because most dryers do not have automatic sensors to alert blind people of their location. If the dryer protrudes too far from the wall, a blind person could run into it and sue the business.
Before starting any bathroom building or remodeling project, it is important to review the entire list of ADA regulations. To find out more about regulations and insurance implications, discuss these issues with an agent.