The federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. A follow-up to the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968, this act became effective January 1992. This act set forth guidelines on how to design all public utilities and buildings keeping the needs of the physically challenged in mind. The ADA has a list of specifications and regulations for bathrooms, toilets, rest rooms and washrooms. Buildings are certified as being ADA-compliant when they have met requirements. Older facilities may have to make alterations to their structure to be certified. Subsection 603 deals with specifications for toilets and bathrooms.
Handicapped bathrooms must have a minimum of 30 by 48 inches of clear floor space to accommodate a wheel chair. The bathroom stall must be at least 60 inches wide. All controls in the bathroom should be at arm's length of a person in a wheelchair. Instructions must also be provided in Braille for the hand-washing station .
The toilet should be accessible from the wheelchair. Inside the room, it is mandatory to provide a grab bar for toilets. The disabled person can use the grab bar to assist himself onto and off of the toilet. ADA-compliant toilets must have at least one grab bar on each on the sidewalls and on the rear wall of the toilets. The sidewall grab bar should be located a maximum of one foot from the back wall. It must be at least three and a half feet long and should extend at least four and a half feet from the rear wall.
The toilet seat must be at least 17 inches above the floor.
Toilet-paper dispensers must be placed a minimum of 7 inches and a maximum of 9 inches from the toilet.