Skip to content

Blog

‘Building Elements & Interiors’ Category

manufactured bathtubs

Manufactured Tubs & Showers with Integral Surrounding Walls – What Do You Need to Know About Their Grab Bars?

Posted on November 11th, 2021

An item that has come up a number of times is tubs and showers that come with integral manufactured surrounding walls that do not necessarily meet the ADA requirements for grab bars even though the manufacturer states they do. It is important that grab bar blocking and its attachments be engineered to meet the vertical and horizontal force of 250 lbs. This is an important element that should not be left to rule of thumb and should be carefully engineered and tested to meet the exact regulation and code requirements.

Countertop Requirements for Accessible Kitchens Under ADA

Posted on April 5th, 2021

Counters come in many varieties from transaction to service to work surfaces just to name a few. We will look closer at kitchen countertops located in dwelling units, employee lounges, and common-use spaces.

Lifts and elevators

Lifts vs Elevators – Pros and Cons

Posted on January 6th, 2021

The question has come up several times of why and where one would use a wheelchair lift versus an elevator and what would be the advantage of one over the other, presuming there is a choice.

Doors and Gates – What they need for ongoing maintenance

Posted on July 31st, 2020

The question has come up as to whether manual doors need to be maintained to be accessible. And the answer is – yes, absolutely.

The Kitchen Sink – or everything you ever wanted to know about faucets

The Kitchen Sink – or everything you ever wanted to know about faucets

Posted on June 8th, 2020

What do you need to provide for an accessible sink? One of the more difficult issues about making a kitchen sink accessible is reaching the faucet controls.

counters and work surfaces accessibility

Counters and Work Surfaces for Sales/Service and Dining/Bar — What Is Required?

Posted on July 23rd, 2019

Discussion has come up of what is allowed or required for a bar or dining surface and how does this differ from a sales or service counter. Many times these two requirements are confused with each other. Some of the main questions are, what is required if there is a split-height counter and what about the required clear floor space.

what makes a closet accessible?

Closet Space – What Is Required for Access?

Posted on April 9th, 2019

Closet space, whether common shared storage for employees, or within mobility feature guest rooms in hotels, student housing, or public dwelling units, needs to be accessible under the ADA.

kitchen design considerations for aging in place

Kitchen Design Considerations for Aging in Place

Posted on February 28th, 2018

When remodeling a kitchen, what are some issues you might consider? We generally think of the appliances and locations, and then the countertop material and color. But there are additional items to consider if this is your forever home or if this is the one and only kitchen remodel you are thinking to do. So what are some issues to consider so the kitchen is useful as you age along with your house?

Washers & Dryers, and Access

Washers & Dryers, and Access

Posted on July 26th, 2017

This is a relatively simple topic, but I have seen a number of new facilities where these are not specified or installed in a compliant fashion. The ADA standards does not require all of the machines to be accessible. In each accessible space, one minimum is required to be accessible for a dryer and one for a washing machine. And if there are more than 3 washers or 3 dryers, then two are required to be accessible of each. This is applicable whether it is in a laundromat, or a common space laundry room for public residential dwelling units, or student housing at a place of education, or social service center establishment sleeping rooms, or a mobility feature dwelling unit.

Sinks, Sinks, Sinks, and Lavs - What needs to be done?

Sinks, Sinks, Sinks, and Lavs – What needs to be done?

Posted on April 19th, 2017

Sinks have many differing requirements depending upon how they are being used including types of approach, cabinetry below or not, and even the number required to be accessible. Following is a summary of different sink types and their uses that will hopefully shed some light on the issue and requirements for each.

Countertop

Counters, Cabinetry, & Hardware

Posted on February 21st, 2017

One of the things that we may not pay too much attention to is counters – whether kitchens, kitchenettes, service, or work surfaces. Depending on the set up, we have either a side/parallel approach, or if we have knee/toe clearance below we can have a front approach. And certain portions actually require a front approach.

The Doorbell – Transient Lodging & Dwelling Units

Posted on July 21st, 2016

Doorbells have a variety of requirements with the implementation of the 2010 ADA Standards. This would be within communication feature units both for transient lodging guest rooms as well as for dwelling units. These features are for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and blind or partially sighted.

Storage – An Overview

Posted on June 9th, 2016

For some reason, storage requirements appear to be confusing for most people – either accessible storage is forgotten completely or adequate accessible storage is not provided. And there also are some ambiguous portions in the ADA which really do need to be better defined. Like most other things in Access, the requirements for storage depends on its use. In order for storage to be considered accessible, it needs to be within reach range, whether side or forward reach, and from a level clear floor space that is along an accessible route. If it has any operable parts then they are required to have 5 lbs maximum operating force and are operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The issue though, is the scoping – how much do we need? Below is a summary of different types of storage and their respective requirements.

clearfloors

Clear Floor Spaces – Are they Really Clear?

Posted on December 5th, 2015

There are certain things in Access that at first and even second glance, appear to be clear. But many of the simple things are not as intuitive as you might imagine, particularly if you are not a wheelchair user. Clear floor spaces, for instance.

Restaurant, Bar, Banquet, Desk, and Cafeteria Seating – How much space do we need?

Posted on May 19th, 2015

When we do layouts of tables and seating, the question comes up – how much space between the tables and aisles are we going to need? We know we are required to have 5% of the seating accessible and dispersed within the area, but there is nothing specific on spacing other than that the tables are accessible and require a specific amount of clear floor space and the aisles require a specific width. So, we need to put this information together.

Refrigerators — What You Need To Know

Posted on May 20th, 2014

A question comes up – just how far reaching is the ADA? Most of us understand it affects buildings. A number of us understand it affects our operating policies, such as allowing a service animal into all buildings including restaurants. A more enlightened group understands it even affects access to our websites. But what about the lowly appliance we all use – the refrigerator? Does that need to be accessible and if so just what is accessible for a refrigerator?

Seating at Tables and Desks – How Much Space Do I Need?

Posted on October 15th, 2013

You are working on seating arrangements and the question is – how much space is necessary at a table or desk for the accessible space. The answer, of course is, it depends. Basically there is one spatial requirement if a wheelchair space is backing up to an accessible route or open aisle verses if the wheelchair space is backed up to a wall or some other object or obstruction.

Mail Boxes – So How High Should They Be?

Posted on September 12th, 2013

Different regulations have varying requirements for installation of mailboxes. The US Postal Services also has a maximum height requirement but this is not in reference to Accessibility features. In order to determine installation requirements you will need to know which regulations need to be adhered to. In Residential projects there may actually be several regulations having jurisdiction over a project, so you would pick the one that is most restrictive and providing greatest access.

Locks, Keys, & Hardware

Posted on July 9th, 2013

A good percentage of all doors and gates have some form of locking device other than a latch. Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (ADAS) basically includes locks within the hardware section stating it should be located between 34” and 48 “ above the finished floor or ground. California on the other hand allows a maximum […]

Lighting – Let the Sun In!

Posted on March 5th, 2013

We have heard so much about sun light not being good for us that we have missed the impact of natural light, in particular narrow spectrum blue light, and what it can do for our health and even well-being. We have also become energy efficient with lower artificial lighting levels inside that could adversely affect […]