A Guidelines for Bathroom Accessibility

It is an unfortunate fact of life that we have to go to the bathroom to do our business every once in a while. And this is even more complicated when you are someone with a disability.

Imagine this. You have to use a wheelchair every day. Right now, you are at a restaurant enjoying your dinner with friends but gradually, you feel that warmth accumulating in your body. Maybe you had a little too much wine, and now you can’t avoid it, so you excuse yourself to go find the restroom. You wheel yourself independently but, once you get there, someone is already in queue. There is only one restroom! But you patiently wait for your turn, since you’re already there anyway. After a while, the lady finally exits the door and you can’t wait to get inside. Lo and behold. There is not a single grab bar. The space is too tight and there’s just no way you can actually wheel yourself in! What do you do now?

Such is the struggle that a lot of people with disabilities have to put up with every day. For business establishments, this also means a lot of expensive fines and lawsuits. Unfortunately, 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, a lot of facilities still miss the mark in meeting ADA standards and guidelines. In this article, we hope to discuss some of the basic ADA bathroom requirements that everyone should know.

What is an ADA compliant restroom?

The specific figures laid out in the official ADA ramp slope requirements are there for a reason.

These specs have been calculated by the National Council on Disability to ensure safe, seamless, and fair access to public spaces for disabled Americans.

Even if you have a wheelchair ramp in place, you could still fall short of the ADA if it does not meet its requirements.

When disabled people buy a wheelchair, they expect the size and shape of the chair to fit on all ADA ramps. That’s why it is so important to get the specifications exactly right.

Signage

The first thing you see when you go look for the bathroom is its signage, but in the United States, there are at least 12 million people who have some form of visual impairment. This has necessitated the use of ADA compliant bathroom signs that feature raised Braille characters as well as raised pictorial symbols. On top of other efforts to adhere to ADA requirements, this is a great way for a business to signal to their customers their deference for ADA compliance.

    Grab bars

    The addition of grab bars in public restrooms can easily go unnoticed by the majority of people who will not have to use them. However, to the people who do need them, it means the world. Grab bars are safety features mounted on the wall to help support our weight when our heft cannot be entrusted to our lower extremities. For ADA compliance, grab bars must be 36 inches at the rear wall and 42 inches on a side wall. They must also have at least an inch and a half clearance from all directions. At a public toilet compartment, a grab bar must be attached a foot from the rear wall while a separate grab bar cannot be mounted more than half a foot from the side wall. They should also be conveniently placed near the location of toilet paper and a hand dryer. Since we are talking about the restroom location, grab bars must also be waterproof.

    Tony (Anthony) Guichard

    As the CEO & Founder of ACR Concrete & Asphalt Construction, Inc., Anthony personally holds A, B, C-12, C-8 & C-32 licenses with over 35 years experience in the design and construction industry.