Bobrick is a 100+ year old company that is a leader in the commercial bathroom accessories and toilet dividers market. By default, many planners and architects specify Bobrick products for their commercial bathroom projects. As the gold standard in the industry, they are the go to for bathroom accessories and toilet dividers in the U.S., Canada, and 85 international markets. Bobrick has strategically strengthened their hold on the market with their purchases of Koala Kare Products and GAMCO to cement their dominance in Division 10 bathroom accessories. Integrating Koala Kare Products into the Bobrick family of companies expanded Bobrick’s reach into the childcare accessories segment of the Division 10 commercial bathroom accessories market. Koala Kare Products’ high quality baby changing stations, child booster seats, diaper dispensers, and high chairs are a perfect complement to Bobrick bathroom accessories. Bobrick ‘s purchase of GAMCO not only opened up the lower end of the Division 10 bathroom accessories market to the company, but also gave them access to an established custom fabricator of stainless steel grab bars and stainless steel bathroom accessories with an assortment of plated and powder coated finishes. Bobrick’s dominance in the commercial bathroom accessories and toilet dividers market is unquestioned; but, these two strategic purchases make them a much more formidable force and a bigger draw for customer’s looking for a single source for high quality toilet dividers, bathroom accessories, and childcare accessories.
Bobrick’s potential for saving you time and money can be best described in a simple scenario. Say your company is charged with completing a fairly large bathroom renovation for a local university’s dormitories. They need bathroom accessories, toilet dividers, hand and hair dryers, baby changing stations for public bathrooms in the buildings lower level, and one bathroom will have all accessories plated in polished brass. To make the scenario even more complicated, the building also has two very large locker rooms that will require combination shower & dressing dividers and ADA shower dividers will need ADA compliant shower seats and grab bars. That sounds like a tall order and could be pretty daunting if you have to go to one manufacturer for bathroom accessories, a separate manufacturer for bathroom accessories plated in the finish you need, a third manufacturer for baby changing stations, and yet another supplier for toilet dividers and shower & dressing dividers. Take all those requirements and roll them up into a single quote request to a Bobrick dealer. You’ll have a complete quote for everything you need, a healthy discount for purchasing from one supplier, and your entire order delivered in one shipment. Working with the Bobrick family of companies means efficiency and cost savings in sourcing of materials for your project.
Installing a shower seat without screws makes the process considerably easier; but, is it a feasible prospect? Actually, it is and I will tell you the secret. There are two different types of shower seats that can be used that do not require screws: HEWI and PBA Hanging Shower Seats and Freestanding Shower Seats. TA DA! You probably weren’t expecting that were you? Just a little curve ball. HEWI Hanging Shower Seats and PBA Hanging Shower Seats are useful when you already have grab bars installed in your bath tub or shower area and you want to add seating for a disabled or elderly user. Properly installed grab bars can support upwards of 600 lbs. so the addition of a HEWI or PBA Hanging Shower Seat will not pose an issue. HEWI and PBA Hanging Shower Seats are only available in nylon which will be more comfortable for your user; but, will be much pricier than stainless steel. If considering HEWI or PBA Hanging Shower Seats for your project, make absolutely sure to budget properly so you don’t lose your shirt.
If a HEWI or PBA Hanging Shower Seat are not really your speed, but you still want a shower seat that can be used without a screw mount installation, then you can opt for a freestanding shower seat such as a HEWI LifeSystem Shower Stool or Bradley Solid Phenolic Bariatric Shower Seat. HEWI LifeSystem Shower Stools and Bradley Solid Phenolic Bariatric Shower Seats are simply placed on the floor in your shower or bath tub area for use. HEWI LifeSystem Shower Stools and Bradley Solid Phenolic Bariatric Shower Seats are provided with non slip feet to prevent injury in the shower. Only minor assembly is required to attach the legs to the seat. If you can assemble an IKEA side table, you can assemble a freestanding shower seat.
ADA toilet compartments for disabled users are required in commercial restrooms, but you may not know that there are two types of ADA toilet compartments. The most common type is the Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartment. Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments measure 60”W X 60”D and have a 32” or 36” outswing door. The 36”outswing door is most common and preferable to provide ample room for disabled wheelchair users to enter the ADA toilet compartment. Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments can also come in larger dimensions that are called ADA Alcove Toilet Compartments. These toilet compartments measure 96”W or more and 60” deep. Because these larger ADA Alcove Toilet Compartments have more than the required 60” diameter turning radius for wheelchair operation, the toilet compartment door can swing into the toilet compartment and remain ADA compliant. Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments require a 36” grab bar mounted horizontally on the rear wall above the water closet (that’s the formal word for toilet) and a 42” grab bar mounted horizontally on the wall or panel closest to the water closet. In some cases an 18” grab bar mounted vertically above the 42” grab bar is required, but check with your local inspector to verify this. Installing it anyway will not negatively impact your ADA compliance and will provide an additional gripping surface for disabled users. In large restrooms, it is recommended that two Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments are installed to accommodate left handed and right handed users.
The second type of ADA toilet compartment is the Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment. This toilet compartment type is a foreign concept to some purchasers. The Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment is meant to accommodate those who utilize a cane or crutches in order to support themselves while they walk. Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartments measure 35” – 37”W and 60”D with an outswing 32” door. Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartments require two 42” grab bars mounted horizontally on each side of the water closet. The Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment is required in restrooms with 6 or more water closets or with a combination of 6 or more water closets and urinals. For example, in a Men’s Restroom with two water closets and four urinals (an odd set up, but we’ll go with it for the sake of this example) you will need one Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartment and one Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment. When dealing with ADA compliance, always ask for clarification or assistance when needed. Failing to adhere to ADA guidelines can be very costly not to mention inconveniencing disabled patrons.
When installing grab bars in a restroom for children, the mounting height will not be the same as a standard adult restroom. Single toilet rooms and ADA toilet compartments designed for children in preschools, elementary schools, and day care centers are scaled down for their smaller stature. Obviously, mounting a grab bar at 33” above the finished floor (aff), which is standard for adults, would be too high for small. ADA grab bar mounting heights for children are unique in that there are three grab bar mounting height ranges that correspond to the age and average height of the child. The ADA grab bar mounting heights are:
• Ages 3 and 4: For children in this age range, the toilet is required to have a height of 11” – 12” and have a centerline of 12” from the side wall or panel closest to the toilet. The grab bars will be mounted between 18” – 20” aff.
• Ages 5 through 8: For children in this age range, the toilet is required to have a height of 12” – 15” and have a centerline of 12” – 15” from the side wall or panel closest to the toilet. The grab bars will be mounted between 20” – 25” aff.
• Ages 9 through 12: For children in this age range, the toilet is required to have a height of 15” – 17” and have a centerline of 15” – 18” from the side wall or panel closest to the toilet. The grab bars will be mounted between 25” – 27” aff.
These guidelines apply to stainless steel grab bars or nylon grab bars that are installed in an ADA compliant toilet compartment for children or an ADA compliant single toilet room for children. The type and quality of the grab bars do not need to change; however, a smaller diameter grab bar such as 1-1/4” would be recommended for smaller hands and is the minimum diameter permitted by ADA.
Adding a textured grip to stainless steel grab bars will improve the safety of users when holding a stainless steel grab bar. Stainless steel grab bars when mounted properly on your wall or floor will support a substantial amount of weight; however, if the user cannot properly grip the grab bar because of its smooth surface, the weight capacity of the stainless steel grab bar is irrelevant. A textured grip on a stainless steel grab bar is particularly useful for the elderly or those that do not have a sufficiently strong grip for holding the stainless steel grab bar. There are a few different types of stainless steel textured grips to choose from, each with their own benefits.
• Peened Safety Grip: The peened safety grip is the most common textured safety grip for stainless steel grab bars. The peened safety grip texture is similar to fine grit sandpaper. It’s not overly coarse, but it does improve the grip for stainless steel grab bar users.
• Knurled Safety Grip: The knurled safety grip is a very coarse texture that is cut in a diamond pattern on the stainless steel grab bar. This safety grip type may be overly aggressive for sensitive hands, but provides a more effective grip for the stainless steel grab bar.
• Ripple Grip Safety Grip: The ripple grip (aka Shur-Grip) safety grip has a look and texture similar to reptile scales. The texture of the ripple grip safety grip falls between the peened and knurled safety grips. It is not too aggressive for sensitive hands, but provides an effective gripping surface. The appearance of the ripple grip texture provides an attractive aesthetic for the stainless steel grab bar.
All three grab bar textures are available on Brushed Satin Stainless Steel Grab Bars, Polished Stainless Steel Grab Bars, Brass Plated Stainless Steel Grab Bars, and Powder Coated Stainless Steel Grab Bars. You will be able to have an improved, textured grip on your stainless steel grab bar no matter what finish or configuration you need. Textured finishes can also be used for stainless steel grab bars in ADA compliant restrooms and public spaces.
LifeSystem Support Rails by HEWI are a durable, high end alternative to traditional stainless steel and alternate nylon grab bars. HEWI Nylon Grab Bars are not exactly cheap nor are they poor quality; but, with the introduction of the HEWI LifeSystem Support Rails, HEWI created a more aesthetically appealing grab bar for bathrooms in high end homes, offices, or even in hospitals. HEWI LifeSystem Support Rails are actually more of a substitute for HEWI Nylon Swing Up Grab Bars. The difference is that the HEWI LifeSystem Support Rails are designed as more of an armrest that you would see on a chair or in a car. The grip pad at the front is ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip and the HEWI LifeSystem Support Rail allows height and length adjustments for more comfortable usage. An assortment of colors for the nylon armrest and CFC-free polyurethane grip are available to complement a variety of color schemes.
HEWI did not end their innovation with the HEWI LifeSystem Support Rail. They expanded the LifeSystem line to also encompass ergonomic, handicap accessible bathroom accessories to assist the elderly or disabled. From the HEWI LifeSystem Towel Holder with Walking Aid Holder to the HEWI LifeSystem Adjustable mirror, HEWI has produced a line of high quality, high end accessories for residential bathrooms, commercial restrooms, hospitals, and nursing homes. The HEWI LifeSystem accessories serve as a complement to HEWI’s already stellar array of nylon grab bars and bathroom accessories.
The 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.