As a business owner or manager, you know how important it is to stay in compliance with industry and governmental regulations.
A case in point is ensuring that your bathroom facilities are accessible by workers, visitors, customers and other parties. Commercial restrooms are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If your building is not up to specification, there’s no better time than now to correct the matter. Employees, vendors, customers and other visitors must be accommodated.
Imagine how frustrating it would be if you were trying to apply for work (or it was your first day on the job) and you discovered that the hand dryers in the employee restroom were out of reach because they don’t meet ADA requirements.
Not only are there legal considerations to avoid discriminating against those with disabilities, you also have your brand and public image to keep in mind.
Being known as an organization that fails to provide equal access could make problems for your bottom line. And by discouraging disabled people from patronizing your business or working for you, you risk missing out on some talented individuals who would have helped your company succeed.
You may have received a complaint about someone not being able to access your bathroom, or you have become aware that your facilities are not up to standard in terms of offering people access. It’s prudent to get your commercial bathroom into ADA compliance as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of running afoul of regulations designed to give everyone proper access.
Read on for information about commercial ADA bathroom requirements so you can prepare to make changes in your facilities.
Introduction to ADA Bathroom Requirements:
For people who are unfamiliar with the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should know that the 101st U.S. Congress passed the ADA in 1990, requiring business owners to construct or modify facilities, so that people with disabilities will be accommodated. ADA requirements apply to your building’s entrances and bathrooms.
Fortunately for business owners large and small, the process of upgrading a commercial bathroom so that it’s in compliance with the ADA is straightforward. Typically you will focus on including grab bars, accessible toilets, sink and shower seats, along with sufficient room for people with disabilities to maneuver.
How Many ADA Compliant Bathrooms are Required In a Building?
To make sure your organization is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, you will first need to identify how many total restrooms you need.
The International Building Code and Plumbing Codes are used to determine how many actual toilets a building requires by using your occupancy load. To figure out your occupancy load, you can calculate 1 person for each 100 square feet of building space. So if your building is 2,000 square feet, your occupancy load is 20 people.
For an occupancy load of 1-25 people, you will need to have at least 1 restroom for each gender. The ADA requires a minimum of one ADA compliant restroom each gender, so both bathrooms would need to be ADA compliant.
If you have clustered bathrooms, half of the stalls will
ADA Bathroom Layout Requirements:
It’s useful to imagine what it would like for a disabled person to use your bathroom. People who use wheelchairs require more space to move around, as well as to get in and out of their chair when using a bathroom.
So, you will need to pay attention to the minimum ADA required size for commercial bathrooms when doing new construction, remodeling or upgrading the facilities to become compliant.
You and your contractor will have a clear idea of the size of the bathroom when you calculate the features and their space needs, such as the size of the bathroom stall to the amount of clearance space.
ADA Bathroom Stall Requirements:
ADA Toilet Requirements: Your commercial bathroom will need at least one ADA-compliant toilet. For it to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, the restroom stall should be at least 60 inches wide. The flush lever must be positioned on the open side of the toilet for ease of access.
ADA Toilet Requirements
When measuring the toilet from the floor, the distance ideally will be 17 to 19 inches (from the floor to the toilet seat’s top). Keeping in mind that the flush valve should not be a hindrance to disabled people. That means it must be designed for ease of use and no need to maintain a tight grip, or to pinch or twist the user’s wrist.
More measurements will be needed to finalize the toilet placement. For example, your contractor will have to place the center of the toilet from 16 inches to 19 inches away from the side wall. Essentially you want to ensure that when a person enters into the stall with a wheelchair they have sufficient space to maneuver to use the toilet.
ADA Grab Bar Requirements:
Individuals often need to steady themselves and stay stable as they move and change positions, so your commercial bathroom must help them by including grab bars. Having a strong and secure grab bar mounted on the wall is essential for keeping users safe while using your facilities, and is part of the ADA mandate for accessibility.
You must position grab bars 36 inches from the floor on the bathroom’s rear wall, and 42 inches on side walls. Keep in mind how the user will be moving his or her hand to grasp the bar. Accordingly, all grab bars in a commercial bathroom will have at least 1.5 inches of clearance from the wall to the bar.
You’ll need to attach a grab bar one foot from the rear wall of the public toilet compartment. A second required grab bar in the toilet compartment must be mounted within 6 inches of the side wall.
Remember to include grab bars next to toilet paper dispensers and hand dryers. And observing the protocol of “safety first,” you must install grab bars that are waterproof. Verify that grab bars will suffice for ADA compliance before purchasing them for installation.
ADA Sink Requirements:
The sink in your commercial bathroom needs to be at the correct height to suit disabled individuals. Therefore, the recommended height is approximately 34 inches high. People can reach this while standing, for the most part, as well as access the sink to wash up when they are using a wheelchair. Knee clearance is another factor to keep in mind whenever you are accommodating disabled people in your restroom.
As for the plumbing connections at the sink, make sure the pipes, faucets and knobs are arranged so they do not prevent a disabled person from using it. So the faucets and knobs must be operated with one hand. Electronic-controlled devices to use the sink (motion sensitive) can help here. You may also opt for push able or lever-controlled faucets.
ADA Bathroom Sign Requirements:
Proper signage is also critical in a commercial bathroom, for it to be ADA compliant. You need to mount signs on bathroom doors 48 inches above the floor. The tactile characters (for people with visual disabilities) need to measure 16 inches from their highest character. Signs must always include tactile characters. Furthermore, you will need to place a sign on the door to any non-compliant bathroom, using tactile characters to inform disabled people where the nearest compliant bathroom is located.
ADA Baby Changing Station Requirements:
Make sure that your commercial bathroom is also ADA compliant for those needing to use the facilities to change babies’ diapers.
According to a report from Foundations, your ADA baby changing station must allow knee clearance to extend 25 inches under the changing table. The table itself must rise 9 inches above the finish of the ground. Ease of use is another important factor.
A person should be able to use the baby changing station with just one hand. And the station should not require any pinching or twisting of the wrist, or tight grasping. From a technical perspective, you should only need to apply 5 pound of force to operate the baby changing station.
Getting Assistance to Bring Your Commercial Bathroom Into ADA Compliance
If you have any questions about installing commercial bathroom equipment and signage, our team is standing by to assist. To learn more about our approach to helping organizations to become compliant with ADA requirements, please get in touch with Prestige Distribution today.