Let’s say you are at a fancy restaurant in 1985, in New York City. You have completed your meal, and you suddenly need to use the restroom. You know where it is located, so you back up your wheelchair and head in that direction. When you reach the door, you immediately realize you have a problem – your wheelchair will not fit through the door. This causes you a great deal of anxiety and frustration. Fortunately, you are a disabled person who has a limited amount of mobility. You have enough mobility to move from your wheelchair to the stall.
These were everyday situations in the past. However, after the Americans with Disabilities Act was first introduced in 1986, these issues were addressed. Fortunately, through the years, the act has been amended time and time again to meet the needs of those with disabilities. Commercial bathroom stalls now accommodate people with disabilities.
People in wheelchairs no longer need to fear if they will be able to enter a commercial bathroom, thanks to the ADA guidelines. For example, their guidelines were updated in 2010 for a single-user restroom. It now requires a 30-inch by 48-inch access to the sink, and the door cannot swing into this rectangle. The measurement must start from the point where the person has a 9-inch vertical clearance. This clearance allows for their feet. There must also be a 27-inch vertical clearance allowed for their knees. The centerline of the toilet is required to be between 16 and 18 inches from the sidewall. There must also be a clear circle at least 60 inches around the sidewall as well as 56 inches from the rear wall to allow a wheelchair to turn. The door must not swing into the minimum required area of the wheelchair-accessible toilet compartments. The toilet seat height must be 17-19 inches. The latch on the door cannot require tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate it.
When choosing items to be placed in a bathroom, you should make sure they are ADA compliant. This means they need to be well-made, durable, easy to use, and require a minimal amount of physical effort. Commercial bathroom stalls are very important to people with disabilities.
The sink areas, for example, should be of solid-surface. This will eliminate crevices for microbes to hide out. The sink should be fully integrated at various heights. Just one bowl in a multi-bowl link is required to offer a minimum knee and toe clearance. Different controls such as the lever, paddle, and infrared faucets make turning the water on or off easier. Infrared and capacitive sensor-controlled faucets are the most frequently used. They offer touch-free and easy activation. Their durability is outstanding, and they provide ease of cleaning.
Since faucets, grab bars, mirrors, and dispensers are each a part of the commercial bathroom, they also have ADA requirements to meet. Faucets and soap dispensers must meet a reach range as well as a mounting height requirement. There is a 48-inch high limitation, which is mandatory for all accessories. Mirrors must be ADA approved. Mirrors must be mounted, so the bottom edge of the reflecting surface is no higher than 40 inches above the floor. The top edge must be a minimum of 74 inches from the floor.
Grab bars are placed to prevent falls and to maintain balance. You should choose sturdy, easy-to-grip bars. They need to be located off the back wall and be set 33-36 inches from the floor. They need to be 36 inches wide. Another grab bar needs to be placed on the wall on the side. It needs to be placed at the same height as the first one and be 42 inches in length. Toilet tissue dispensers cannot control delivery. They cannot limit paper flow. Make sure they hold enough tissues and allow for an easy way to grab the tissue.
All bathrooms need to contain a trash container. It is important to remember that when it is placed on the floor this can act as a barrier to a person in a wheelchair.
Doors are required for all restrooms. They should be easy to open and have handles that are easy to grab with just one hand. The doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide with the door open at 90 degrees.
It is also important to have ADA bathroom signs available. These assist in locating restrooms in your facility. They also play a significant role in helping to make your facility accessible. You should buy signs that are strong, lightweight, and easy to install. Many restroom signs are now available in English and Spanish.
Any public facility needs to stay informed when it comes to bathroom construction. There are different building requirements for new buildings as opposed to bathrooms being renovated. There are also differences between city codes and ADA requirements. Anyone dealing with a new or remodeled restroom should follow ADA requirements.