What Makes a Restroom ADA Compliant or Handicap Accessible?

Many people call us at ProDryers asking what makes products ADA compliant in a restroom.  It’s always difficult to answer because each restroom product has unique requirements to qualify as an ADA compliant restroom product.  Hand Dryers either have to be surface mounted ADA compliant (thin 4” such as the World Dryer SlimDri) designs, or recessed into the wall; the exception being hand dryers such as, or similar to, the Dyson Airblade design.  Hand Dryers designed like the Airblade are unique and allow for easy detection by cane, which reduces the risk of a blind person not being able to detect the object.  Read more below for a thorough understanding of other popular restroom products and ADA compliance.

What does ADA stand for? What makes a product ADA compliant? ADA stands for American Disability Act. It is a law that was put into place in 1990 that provided protection against people with disabilities. The acronym ADA is thrown around a lot in the construction of a commercial bathroom. Any good business owner wants to accommodate their customers, handicapped or not, and the ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, especially in a restroom setting.

The guidelines offer the best protocol for the design of handicapped-accessible bathrooms, as well as creating office and retail spaces that are easy for people using wheelchairs or walkers to access. Because of the act, store aisles have become wider, interior steps have been eliminated (unless an elevator is available) and fixtures such as toilet paper dispensers, faucets and doorknobs have become easier to grip and use.

Pretend you’re in a wheelchair, actually sit in a chair and get a tape measure out as you read this through each category and the description of what makes each product ADA compliant.  For a person 5’4″ and above, 19″ to 21″ seat height works well. For a person 5’4″ and under, a seat height of 17″ to 18″ seat height works best.  For a person 4’11” and under, the seat height of 14″ to 16″ is what is needed. With that being said, here are a few ADA compliant items in a bathroom that any business should have and here at ProDryers we sell.

Soap dispensers (B-2112) should have a push button valve and should be able to use with one hand and not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. Activation of soap valves shouldn’t require more than five pounds of force when full. Wall mounted units should be located where their push buttons are 44″ maximum, above finish floor.

Sinks shouldn’t be mounted higher than 34 inches from the floor, and they should have a knee opening of 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. You also need a free floor space and insulated pipes under the sink.

Faucets should be lever-operated, push, touch, or electronically controlled. They should be usable with one hand without the need to tightly grasp, pinch, or twist the wrist. Users shouldn’t have to apply more than 5 pounds of force to use the faucet.

Faucets must meet ADA reach range and mounting-height requirements (H-1000C). A 48-inch-high limitation is required for all accessories (except those mounted over obstructions), including lavatory fixtures, which are more than 20 inches deep. At 20 to 25 inches deep, a reach range of 44 inches applies. At more than 25 inches deep, accessories must be relocated. At ProDryers, we have a wide range of ADA compliant faucets to choose from.

Keep in mind that a trash can on the floor, for example, is an obstacle when it comes to someone in a wheelchair reaching for a dispenser mounted above it. A better solution is a recessed trash receptacle (ASI-0458) or combination paper towel dispenser/trash receptacle. The ADA hand dryer specifications state that the air dryer must not come out from the wall more than 4 inches, the Dyson AB02 and AB04 meets the regulations! They’re installed low enough that a blind person can detect them with a cane and a person in a wheelchair has easy access.

Koala Baby Changing Stations meet ADA regulations when installed properly because the horizontal (KB200) Baby Changing Station extends no more than 4″ from the wall when closed; it conforms to ADA regulation when and where needed. The vertical mount (KB101) unit can be installed with the bottom leading edge at 27″ from the floor to meet regulation. Where space is limited and only forward access is allowed, the horizontal unit can be installed properly as well. If the space allows access by a person in a wheelchair, both units can be installed to meet the regulation.  ASI baby changing stations also offer many high quality ADA compliant units.  The ASI 9012 is one of the most popular baby changing stations available.

Mirrors located above lavatories or countertops should be installed with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface 40 inches maximum above the finish floor or ground. Mirrors not located above lavatories or countertops should be installed with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface 35 inches maximum above the finish floor or ground.

A single full-length mirror can accommodate a greater number of people, including children. In order for mirrors to be usable by people who are mobile and people who use wheelchairs, the top edge of mirrors should be 74 inches minimum from the floor or ground. A great example is ASI-0535; it meets all the qualifications and fits any bathrooms décor. Go to ProDryers and to search the many ADA compliant mirrors.

Any business that is open to the public should follow the ADA guidelines. People can obtain court orders and actually file a law suit. Your first warning as a business owner could cost you up to $50,000 and anything after that are $100,000 each time. So remember when constructing your bathroom to check with ADAAG to make sure everything is copacetic!



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