Overview and Guidelines for ADA Restroom Layouts

ADA restroom

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990 to ensure all persons with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as everybody else. Under this law, guidelines were put in place for every public and commercial restroom and bathroom. Meaning, there are very specific dimensions and requirements that should be followed - from the floor space, grab bars, doors, sink, mirror, toilet, and other items inside a restroom.

The requirements and guidelines for an ADA restroom layout were established to ensure people with disabilities have appropriate and accessible spaces. They are not optional, and every restroom and bathroom at parks, offices, commercial properties, construction sites, and recreational centers should strictly adhere to them to avoid lawsuits and civil penalties.

So what exactly are these ADA restroom layout requirements? Here's a brief overview to get you started.

ADA Restroom Layout Requirements Overview

  • Floor Space

The clear floor space should have a minimum of 30 inches by 48 inches. Also, this space should allow persons with wheelchairs to make a forward or parallel approach to an element. For a forward approach, the minimum width of alcoves should be 36 inches with a depth that exceeds 24 inches. On the other hand, alcoves should have a minimum of 60 inches width and more than 15 inches depth for parallel approach.

  • Turning Space

An ADA bathroom/restroom should be able to accommodate a wheelchair, allowing a person to make a 180-degree turn while inside. This means there should be a circular clear floor space of at least 60 inches in diameter. But in smaller restrooms, the turning space can be t-shaped with the aisles at least 36 inches wide. This will allow a wheelchair to make a 3-point turn.

According to the guidelines, a restroom's turning space can include the space under the fixtures, considering that there is enough space for the toes and feet. Additionally, doors can also swing into this space.

  • Grab Bars

There should be a grab bar with a length of 42 inches and positioned at 33 inches to 36 inches from the floor on the side-wall. Another grab bar with a width of 36 inches and positioned 33 inches to 36 inches shall be installed on the back wall.

  • Mirrors

ADA restrooms have specific requirements for mirrors as well. For one, it should be ADA-approved. It should also be tilted to make it easier to use for handicaps. Additionally, the distance between the floor and its bottom part should measure 40 inches.

  • Dispensers

    • Towel dispensers: should be mounted at 48 inches from the floor.
    • Toilet tissue dispensers: measures approximately 15 to 19 inches from the floor.
    • Soap dispensers: should be installed no higher than 44 inches from the floor.
  • Hand Dryer

A hand dryer should not be higher than 48 inches above the floor. It also requires 30 inches by 48 inches clear area.

  • Toilet

For an ADA bathroom, a toilet should be installed only 16 to 18 inches away from the side-wall in wheelchair accessible water closets. For ambulatory accessible water closets, it should not be further than 17 to 19 inches from the side-wall.

  • Sink

Sinks should not be higher than 24 inches from the ground. Additionally, it should extend at least 17 inches away from the back wall. Also, the distance between the actual bowl of the sink and the edge of the counter should not exceed 2 inches.

Now, these are just some of the single ADA bathroom/restroom layout requirements. Multiple toilet layouts have another set of requirements. To learn more, you may check out the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If you are looking for an ADA accessible portable restroom for rent, Island Restroom Suites has you covered. We have a full line of restrooms and shower trailers that are compliant with the ADA guidelines. Call us to learn more.


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