Installing or renovating a handicap bathroom requires proper planning. People with disabilities have unique needs that must be considered when constructing bathrooms designed for their use. Below are some of the most important aspects that you must pay attention to if you want your bathroom to meet the requirements specified under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
When constructing a new bathroom for a handicapped person, you need to provide an unobstructed floor space measuring no less than 30x48-inches. This clearance which must also include the amount of swing from the bathroom door will allow a wheelchair to be brought inside the bathroom while still ensuring enough room for a person’s legs and feet. If you are just remodeling, you can choose to have a T-shaped bathroom with an aisle measuring at least 36-inches. This space is enough to allow a wheelchair to turnabout via a 3-point turn. Ramps are also needed if the handicap bathroom is built higher than the ground level.
The toilet stall should have a width of at least 60-inches. The toilet seat in the handicap bathroom should be installed with a height between 17 and 19-inches above the floor. Ensure that the flush handle or lever is placed on the most accessible side of the toilet seat. Remove or avoid installing furniture and fixtures in the toilet stall to prevent unnecessary obstructions.
The access door to the bathroom should provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches considering the door frame, the door thickness when opened at a full 90-degree swing, and the protruding parts of the hinges. In specific circumstances, you should ensure that it can accommodate the specific wheelchair and other assistance devices this particular case will be dealing with.
If the designated bathroom entrance does not provide quite enough space, you might be able to gain extra width by installing a swing-away door using special expandable hinges. This type of door can add more clearance to the door opening without taking up more floor space.
Grab Bars or Handrails
Grab bars and handrails are vital to persons with disabilities. These devices allow a handicapped person to easily and safely transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet seat and back again. Under the ADA, the grab bars must have a continuous non-slip surface, easy to grip, and have a diameter of at least 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 inches. It must also provide a 1-1/2 inch clearance between the wall and the inside surface of the bar to provide safe access.
Ensure that the bars are securely mounted to the bathroom or toilet stall wall. It is recommended that safety bars and rails are installed at a height between 34 and 38-inches above the floor. The bars must not occupy the free space required under the ADA guidelines.
If a urinal is installed, its rim should not be higher than 17-inches from the floor. For more convenience, an unobstructed space of at least 30x48-inches should also be available in front of the urinal. The ADA has issued regulations as to the installation of a lavatory in a handicap bathroom.
The wash area should have a clearance space underneath of at least 29-inches from the floor. The height of the countertop should not exceed 34-inches. An unobstructed area measuring 30x48 inches must be available in front of the lavatory. All bathroom fixtures should be easy to operate.