ADA and Door Hardware
September 17, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is accessibility and door hardware. Among the primary components in determining any facility’s level of accessibility are its doors and door hardware. A general test for accessible door hardware is determining the required type of grasp. If a door hardware component requires that users apply tight pinching or grasping, or if a user cannot operate the hardware with a closed fist, the component probably is not accessible. Handles that do not meet accessibility guidelines 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 lever-type and push-pull handles. Managers should be careful not to specify single-knob, twist-type handles for installation in lavatories. In many cases, users cannot operate them with a closed fist. Instead, managers should consider installing automatic openers. Regarding door installation, workers should adjust door pressure to 8.5 pounds for exterior pressure and no more than 5 pounds for interior restroom doors. The minimum door width is 32 inches. The maximum allowable change in elevation at a door threshold is a one-quarter-inch vertical rise or a beveled one-half inch. Threshold ramps made of recycled rubber tires can help facilities achieve a compliant threshold transition. Finally, a door’s swing should not encroach into a clear floor space unless state codes allow such movement. Both the restroom and the accessible stall must have a 60-inch turning radius. Many restrooms only need a simple reversal of the door swing to achieve compliance.