ADA COMPLIANCE CODE FOR BATHROOM GRAB BARS
In a disability-accessible bathroom, grab bars are critical for those living with disabilities. Whether the bars are located in a shower, stall, or around a toilet, having accurate measurements is not only important for all, but it’s a potential lawsuit for the business if not done correctly. Grab bar code requirements are included in the standard ANSII-ICC A117.1 of the International Code Council per the Americans with Disability Act.
A summary of grab bar requirements is outlined in the following text and video. We always suggest calling or emailing a Licensed CASp if you are not sure of your dimensions and need a consultation. Even the slightest miscalculation can result in an ADA lawsuit. Feel free to reach out to us at (714) 500-7585 if you have any questions about your current situation.
TOILET ADA GRAB BAR HEIGHTS & DIMENSIONS
The size, length, and location, of grab bars are now universal for toilet stalls and individual bathrooms per the ADA.
- Toilets need to have horizontal bars behind, and next to them, and a vertical bar in front
- A grab bar at least 36 inches long should also be installed behind the toilet on the rear wall
- ADA Grab-Bar Code requires clearance of at least 12 inches over the grab bar, and 1 1/2 inches under clearance under each bar
- Install the rear grab bar at least 24 inches from the toilet centerline on the open/transfer side.
A117 specifies the amount of distance that is required from each bar to the floor and wall. However, according to ADA code experts, many contractors get this wrong, which increases the chance that a bathroom will not pass inspection and expose the facility owner and contractor to liability.
To avoid these types of problems, pay close attention to the bar length and height and ensure there are no obstructions to the bars as well. Consider hiring a certified access specialist (CASp) who can review your property if you aren’t sure of your ADA liabilities. Call (714) 500-7585 for a free quote today
CAREFUL WHEN IT SIZING THE HEIGHT OF YOUR GRAB BARS
In showers and toilets, the top of a horizontal grab bar must be 33-36 inches off the floor. The bottom of a vertical bar in transfer showers must be 3-6 inches over the horizontal bar on the wall.
Where many problems begin is where installers frequently aim for one edge of this range, and end up a bit too low or high per the Grab-Bar Accessibility Code. Even just a fraction of one inch may get you cited for noncompliance, depending on who the inspector is.
So what is the solution?
The architect should dimension the grab-bars in the middle of the range on the plans. If a range is shown on the plans, the contractor should install the grab-bar in the center. If you’re not sure about your plans, reach out to our CASp Specialists to review your property or plans at [email protected]
MAKE SURE TO GET THE PROPER GRAB BAR LENGTH
ADA Code specified for many years that the parallel bar’s leading-edge next to the toilet must have 54 inches at least from the rear wall, while the rear edge should have 12 inches away from the wall. Since a 42-inch bar is used by most contractors, getting one of those dimensions right made the other one right as well automatically.
However, in 2009 ICC made a change to its rear-edge standard, going to a “maximum” distance instead of an absolute one. Due to the change, many installers are now placing closer to a rear wall. However, most installers still use 42-inch bars, so they end up short of the 54-inch requirement. Using a longer bar is a simple solution to this problem.
SHOWER GRAB BAR REQUIREMENTS
A shower might need to have a shorter-length bar. That is due to the fact that the 2009 code requires that all accessible showers have shower seats and grab bars are prohibited to expend over shower seats.
- Both transfer showers (which are not large enough for a wheelchair) and roll-in showers (which are) are required to have horizontal bars on two walls at least
- The shower head wall must also have a vertical bar on a transfer-type shower
COMMON GRAB BAR OBSTRUCTIONS
Common obstructions include items like paper dispensers and shelves. Frequently they are installed too close to a grab bar. Code requires clearance at a minimum of 12 inches over the grab bar and 1 1/2 inches under them. If a bar is installed on a framed wall (instead of a stall partition), then recessed dispensers and shelves are recommended.
Some problems may be traced back to the framing crew. Blocking needs to be installed in the wall to fasten the grab bars to. Installers often either put the blocking in the wrong place or don’t think about it until it is too late. For both toilet stalls and showers, there is an obvious fix: blocking should be confirmed by the contractor before the cement board or drywall is installed.
Additional Grab-Bar Requirements
- All horizontal Grab-Bars must meet a certain ground-height (33-36″)
- Most installers are still using 42-inch bars, so they end up short of the 54-inch requirement
- Common Grab Bar obstructions include items like paper dispensers and shelves
- Blocking needs to be installed within the wall in order to fasten the grab bars to
- The grab bar accessory should be free from any sharp or abrasive elements
- The fixtures cannot rotate or move
- Should sustain at least 250 lbs of pressure or force
- Sidewall grab bars should be located a maximum of 12 inches from the rear wall and extend at least 54 inches from the rear wall
Need a CASp to inspect your property? Feel free to give us a call for a free quote (714) 500-7585 or visit us online adainspectionorangecounty.com