Accessibility and Restrooms

ADA, plumbing, restrooms, renovations   August 9, 2010

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, accessibility and restrooms.

Restroom renovations can bring a host of benefits to institutional and commercial facilities from improved hygiene to water conservation. One major challenge for managers is to ensure renovations deliver these benefits while also addressing accessibility considerations. Paper and soap dispensers offer an example of the balance renovations need to strike.

Technicians should be careful not install dispensers or hand dryers more than 40 inches above the finished floor for adult standards. The 40-inch maximum height requirement refers to the operating mechanism or feature, not to the bottom of the dispenser. Some paper-towel dispensers have an operating mechanism or handle that is higher than the bottom of the dispenser.

One way to provide accessibility to dispensers is to specify a unit with automatic controls, such as infrared or motion-sensor-type activation switches. But be careful: The height at which the automatic control activates the dispenser can not be more than 40 inches high.

Toilet-paper dispensers installed in the wrong location can interfere with visitors' access to grab bars and make the dispensers non-compliant. Technicians can recess the dispensers so they are flush behind the side grab bar.

Finally, dispensers for sanitary seat covers also require clear floor space. Technicians should be careful not to install these dispensers above the back of a water closet. They will not be compliant because of the lack of required floor space in front.


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