ADA and Door Hardware

  April 16, 2008

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is accessibility and door hardware:
Removing the barriers to accessibility in institutional and commercial facilities often can seem complex, given the systems, equipment and materials involved in renovations and remodeling.
One proven strategy for improving accessibility is getting a better understanding the needs of occupants and visitors during the planning and specification phase of the project. Take door hardware as an example.
A general test for accessible door hardware is determining the required type of grasp. If a door-hardware component requires users to apply tight pinching or grasping, or if a user cannot operate the hardware with a closed fist, the component probably is not considered accessible.
Handles that are not considered accessible for doors include a round, single-knob door handle and thumb-latch or finger-pull doorknobs that provide less than 1 1/2 inches of clearance. Among the types of accessible door handles are a lever-type and push-pull handle.
Managers should be careful not to specify single-knob, twist-type handles for installation in lavatories. In many cases, a user cannot operate such a handle with a closed fist. Instead, managers should consider installing automatic openers.
Finally, managers must ensure door hardware on toilet stalls is accessible. A paddle-type latch mechanism that requires no tight pinching or grasping often works best. Workers also must be sure to install the inside handle immediately below the lock mechanism.
Avoiding such problems can help managers ensure smoother entrance into and travel throughout their facilities.


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