The Regulations for Disabled Toilets in Buildings

Written by kirsten anderberg
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The Regulations for Disabled Toilets in Buildings
There are "toe clearance" requirements for accessible bathroom stalls. (man in wheelchair image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sections 4.16 through 4.19, and the Architectural Barriers Act standardised regulations for accessible toilets. The ADA has posted Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG) which cover compliance regulations for stall size, doors and grab bars. The ADAAG also addresses bathroom sink and mirror heights. If you are having accessibility compliance issues, you can contact the Department of Justice for the enforcement of ADA rules.

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Toilet and Toilet Stall Regulations

According to the ADAAG, accessible toilet stalls must have a minimum depth of 56 inches. The front door and one side inside the stall must have a clearance area of at least 9 inches from the floor. If the depth of the stall is more than 60 inches, the front door and side "toe clearance" are not necessary. There must be a 42-inch minimum clearance area for doors, and all hardware, such as handles and locks, must also comply with the ADAAG rules. Flush controls can be hand operated or automatic but controls cannot be higher than 44 inches above the floor.

The Regulations for Disabled Toilets in Buildings
The ADAAG requires all accessible toilet stalls to be at least 56 inches in depth. (sign for toilet/ unisex. toilet access. portaloo image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

Handrails and Urinals

Handrails, regulated in Section 4.26 of the ADAAG, are required within the stall. In general, the handrails must be 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch in diameter. There must be a 1 1/2-inch space between the handrail and the wall, and the handrails must be mounted in a specific manner. According to the ADAAG, urinals hanging on a wall or in a stall must be no higher than 17 inches above the floor.

The Regulations for Disabled Toilets in Buildings
Urinals must be 17 inches from the floor, or lower, to meet the ADAAG requirements. (bathroom image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Sinks and Mirrors

Guidelines for sinks or lavatories in accessible bathrooms mandate that sink rims be no higher than 34 inches from the floor and have 29 inches of toe clearance for wheelchairs beneath them. There must be a 30-inch by 48-inch clearance at the approach of the sink.

Faucets can be "lever-operated, push-type and electronically controlled mechanisms." If the sink shuts off automatically, it must stay on for at least 10 seconds before doing so. The bottom edge of mounted mirrors may be no higher than 40 inches off the floor.

The Regulations for Disabled Toilets in Buildings
Hot drains underneath the sinks must be insulated so they don't burn on contact. (Toilet and Bathroom fixtures image by Gopaal Dhussa from Fotolia.com)

Children's Water Closets

There is a special section in the ADAAG for water closets used primarily by children. Guidelines for floor space clearance and stall height are covered as well as handrail specifics. Water closet rules include "seats shall not be sprang to return to a lifted position" and flush controls are not to be more than 36 inches off the floor. The rules also state that toilet paper dispensers in water closets must be between 14 and 19 inches from the floor.

The Regulations for Disabled Toilets in Buildings
There are special children's water closet regulations as well. (sign. wc. toilet. toilets for men. toilets for women. image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

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