Accessories in Public Restrooms | ADA Guidelines
SPACE REQUIREMENTS AND REACH RANGES
THE STANDARDS DESIGNATE CLEAR FLOOR SPACE to accommodate a single wheelchair of at least 30 inches by 48 inches (760 by 1220mm). The space can be positioned for a forward or parallel approach to restroom elements. A portion of the clear floor space may be located under fixtures, lavatories, or accessories as long as the required knee and toe clearance is provided (Fig. 14 and many others). If properly centered in front of controls and operating mechanisms, the clear floor space will allow both left- and right-hand access.
REACH RANGES AND MOUNTING HEIGHTS for restroom accessories may vary within a facility depending on the location of individual accessories and the direction of reach required for their use. To allow use by people with limited reach range, it is required that accessories be mounted with their “operable parts” – dispensing mechanisms, start buttons, coin slots, or dispenser openings – located no more than 48 inches (1220mm) above the finish floor (Fig. 1a.). Where accessories are mounted over obstructions such as counters, depending on the nature and depth of the obstruction it is required that they be located between 44 inches and 48 inches (1120 and 1220mm) maximum above the finish floor. The operable portions of any accessory should be mounted no lower than 15 inches (380mm) above the floor. However, the 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards limit the operable portions of dispensers in toilet compartments to no lower than 18 inches (455mm). When determining the mounting location of restroom accessories, make sure to account for side and forward approaches.
The 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards require that soap dispenser controls and faucets that serve certain accessible lavatories - larger restrooms determined by scoping such as IBC as to require an enhanced reach range - need to be installed with a reach depth of 11 inches (280mm) maximum.
Separately, the 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards also require altered installation heights and locations for towel dispensers and hand dryers – at or near an accessible lavatory – where reaching is obstructed, such as units mounted on perpendicular walls adjacent to accessible lavatories. The operable portions of these elements may need to be installed as low as 34 inches (865 mm) as shown in the table below, depending on how far back from the front edge of a lavatory or counter a unit is mounted.
ACCESSORIES PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SERVICE AMENITIES TO RESTROOM INSTALLATIONS
Restroom accessories with leading edges more than 27 inches (685mm) and not more than 80 inches (2030mm) above the finish floor shall protrude 4 inches (100mm) maximum horizontally into the circulation path. Should the leading edge be at or below 27 inches (685mm) then they may project any amount as long as the required minimum width of an adjacent clear access aisle is maintained. This standard is specifically designed to ensure detection by people who use a cane so as not to be a hazard; but beneficiaries also include people who are inattentive. For these reasons and to avoid interference with access aisles or wheelchair turning areas, it is recommended that all floor-standing and surface mounted units protruding more than 4 inches (100mm) be located in corners, alcoves, or between other structural elements. Fully recessed accessories are the recommended choice throughout universally designed restrooms.
MIRRORS located above lavatories or countertops must be installed with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface 40 inches (1015mm) maximum above the finish floor (Fig. 4). Mirrors not located over lavatories or countertops must be installed with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface no more than 35 inches (890mm) above the finish floor (Fig. 1b). A single full-length mirror is recommended in each restroom because all people can use it, including children.
SOAP DISPENSERS installed over lavatories must be mounted so push buttons or operable parts meet specified reach ranges. Lavatory-mounted soap dispensers and lever-handle faucets should be spaced far enough apart to avoid interference with their operations and are usable by a person using the accessible lavatory. It is recommended that soap dispensers that meet 2010 ADA Standards for controls and operating mechanisms be used throughout restrooms to provide universal usability. Mounting height is at 44 inches (1120) maximum above the finish floor but the 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards require that soap dispenser controls, and faucets, that serve certain accessible lavatories incorporate “enhanced reach ranges”, determined by scoping requirements need to be installed with a reach depth of 11 inches (280mm) maximum.
PAPER TOWEL DISPENSERS, WASTE RECEPTACLES AND WARM-AIR HAND DRYERS should be conveniently located in an area that is accessible to people using wheelchairs, preferably adjacent to an accessible lavatory. It is recommended that one hand dryer be mounted with sufficient clear floor space to allow both left- and right-hand approaches; or provide two dryers, one for each type of approach. When a single hand dryer is installed in a restroom, it is recommended the operable part be located at 40 inches (1015mm) above the finish floor; when two or more dryers are installed, mount one dryer so the operable part is 40 inches (1015mm) and the other dryer at 48 inches (1220mm) maximum above the finish floor. The 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards require altered installation heights and locations for towel dispensers and hand dryers where reaching is obstructed. The operable portions of these elements may need to be installed as low as 34 inches (865mm).
SANITARY NAPKIN/TAMPON VENDORS are recommended in all women’s restrooms to provide convenient access to hygienic products. It is recommended that all units meet 2010 ADA Standards for operating mechanisms, clear floor space and accessible mounting heights to provide universal usability. Vendors with push-button operation mechanisms that are activated with less than 5 lbs (22.2 N) of force are the recommended choice for universally designed women’s restrooms.
BABY CHANGING STATIONS (in standards and elsewhere also referred to as Baby Changing Table and Diaper Changing Table) are increasingly found in men’s and women’s restrooms and in single-user (“family”) restrooms as well (Fig. 6a). While not required by the accessibility standards, baby changing stations (BCS) are widely regarded as an important or even essential feature in many facilities. They need to be located with care to provide for the needs of BCS users (including people who use wheelchairs) while not preventing other restroom users from gaining access to and using the fixtures and dispensers in the restrooms. Their installation and use must comply with 2010 ADA Standards, which address clear floor space (30 inches by 48 inches (760 by 1220mm)), design of handles and controls (operable with one hand, without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist), required force (maximum of 5 pounds of force (lbf) (22.2 N)), mounting height (working surface in the down position, 34 inches maximum, (865mm)), knee space (27 inches to underside (685mm)) and toe space beneath (17 inches to 25 inches, (430 to 685mm)). Design guidance includes:
- Accounting for the space that a unit occupies when in the down position and with the caregiver (whether standing or seated) in front of the unit.
- Locating the unit so that paths of travel are maintained around it when being used.
- Positioning near a lavatory and a waste receptacle.
- Avoiding placement of a BCS within any toilet compartment so as not to unnecessarily tie-up the compartment’s use.
- Placing a BCS in the public parts of the restroom, out of the paths of travel is a good choice.
- A BCS located in a family restroom is also a good choice.
CHILD PROTECTION SEATS are also found in public restrooms to provide a safe, secure and convenient location for a child, generally weighing up to 50 pounds (Fig. 6b). Unlike the BCS, they should be installed inside a toilet compartment to provide visual and physical access. Like the BCS, they should be assessed for operability and reach in the up and down position. When in the down position, make sure there is adequate space to maneuver around the seated child. For easier reaching, the bottom of the lowered seat should be no less than 15 inches (380mm) above the floor.
ACCESSORIES COMPLETE THE SPECIFICATION OF TOILET COMPARTMENT INSTALLATIONS
A number of accessories should be included in every toilet compartment. All accessories must be located on a side wall or partition, preferably the one nearest the toilet in accessible compartments, and just in front of the leading edge of the toilet seat to ensure universal usability. Regardless of location of dispenser outlets, no part of any accessory that projects from the wall or partition can be installed so as to interfere with maneuvering space or access to grab bars. If mounted above grab bars, no part of a protruding accessory can extend closer than 12 inches (305mm) to the top of the grab bar (Fig. 12f). The space between the grab bar and projecting objects below and at the ends shall be 1-1⁄2 inches (38mm) minimum (Fig. 12f). The operating mechanisms and accessible openings of most units should be located 18 inches (455mm) minimum to 48 inches (1220mm) maximum above the finish floor, except that the 2010 ADA Standards allow the outlet for toilet paper dispensers be mounted no lower than 15 inches (380mm) above the floor. Recessed objects above the grab bar are permitted within the 12 inch (305mm) area (Fig. 12g). The 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards allows recessed dispensers to project as much as 1⁄4 inch (6.4mm).
ROLL TOILET TISSUE DISPENSERS that do not control delivery or do not allow continuous paper flow are required in all accessible toilet compartments. The 2010 ADA Standards require that roll toilet tissue dispensers must be installed with the dispenser centerline 7 inches (180mm) minimum and 9 inches (230mm) maximum in front of the leading edge of the toilet (Figs. 12b, 12d). The 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards establish a different measurement procedure, locating the dispensers between 24 inches (610mm) minimum and 42 inches (1070mm) maximum from the rear wall of the toilet compartment (Figs. 12c, 12e). The 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards locate the outlet of the dispenser no lower than 18 inches (455mm) above the finish floor (Figs. 12c, 12e). The 2010 ADA Standards allow the outlet on the roll toilet tissue dispenser to be mounted as low as 15 inches (380mm) above the finish floor (Fig. 12b).
SANITARY NAPKIN DISPOSALS are recommended in all women’s toilet compartments. They should be within reach from a sitting position, and it is recommended that they be mounted below grab bars (Figs. 12d, e).
TOILET SEAT COVER DISPENSERS are an optional hygienic amenity that can easily be provided in all toilet compartments. The opening for toilet seat covers needs to be mounted between 15 inches and 48 inches (380 and 1220mm) above the floor, in an accessible location in the accessible compartment, typically away from the vicinity of the toilet itself (Figs. 12c, d, e).
COMBINATION UNITS can organize and unify installations by incorporating several accessories at one convenient location, such as toilet tissue dispensers, toilet-seat-cover dispensers, and sanitary napkin disposals. Recessed units should be installed in side walls or partitions with grab bars (Fig. 12e). Note that recessed units are allowed to project only 1/4 inch.