Americans with Disabilities Act: How the ADA Affects Your Project

Americans-with-Disabilities-ActThe Americans with Disabilities Act is a wide ranging Federal law that proscribes discrimination against the physically disabled in public accommodations. This affects sourcing of materials for commercial new construction and remodel projects because the correct materials must be installed and also installed at proper heights in order to comply with ADA. This goes beyond installing ramp access to the exterior of a building. ADA guidelines govern the types and mounting heights for fire extinguishers and cabinets, the size of restroom stalls in commercial restrooms, and the types of locks that are used in a commercial project just to name a few. For the sake of simplicity, we will briefly cover the areas where you must be mindful of complying with ADA guidelines in your commercial project. There are exceptions for retrofit conditions, but we will cover new construction guidelines in this blog:

ADA Toilet Stalls ADA compliant toilet compartments must measure 60”W X 60”D minimum to allow use by individuals in wheelchairs (66”W X 66”D is recommended when possible). Grab bars measuring 36” and 42” must be installed behind and beside the toilet respectively and no more than 33” above the finished floor (AFF). In some cases, an 18” grab bar can be mounted vertically above the 42” grab bar. There must also be a 60” unobstructed turning radius in the restroom.
Ambulatory Toilet Stalls In ADA restrooms with 6 or more stalls, at least one stall must be an Ambulatory Toilet Stall measuring 36”W X 60”D minimum. This stall type is to accommodate individuals using crutches or canes. And ambulatory stall must also have 42” grab bars mounted on each side of the toilet and no more than 33” AFF.
Restroom Accessories Restroom accessories must be recess mounted or semi-recess mounted to prevent obstruction in the restroom for the physically disabled. The accessories must also be mounted with their operable components no more than 48” (AFF) to comply with ADA.
Fire Extinguishers and Cabinets ADA compliant fire extinguishers and cabinets must be mounted with their handles no higher than 48” AFF. They must also be recessed or semi-recessed to avoid obstructing the pathway of disabled individuals. For semi-recessed fire extinguisher that project 4” from the wall, they must utilized an ADA compliant flush pull in lieu of the standard pull handle.

This is just a glimpse at the ADA requirements for commercial spaces. Because of the intricacies of ADA guidelines, it’s best to work with your commercial hardware supplier to make sure you are covered. They will have the expertise needed to make sure you select the right hardware for your project and make adjustments to your specifications where needed.

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