Keeping your restaurant accessible and inviting to all means a few things and one of them is being ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. This means taking some different measures when designing, installing or updating a bathroom that makes it easily accessible to all. Here, we’ll look at the most important and most common ADA Bathroom Accessibility requirements for restaurants that you should be keeping in mind prior to your restaurant opening it’s doors.
ADA Bathroom Accessibility Requirements
Many towns, counties, and states have different ADA bathroom accessibility requirements to first and foremost you’ll want to find out what your specific local jurisdictions requirements are. These will need to be incorporated into your planning when building or furnishing a restaurant space. Often, if you’re moving into a location that was previously a restaurant, many of the ADA requirements will already be met, but you’ll want to be sure that you know what is and is not required.
ADA Bathroom Floor Plan
The biggest requirements will be regarding space for a standard wheelchair to easily access the bathrooms areas and stalls. A standard wheelchair has dimension of 30 inches x 48 inches, so be sure doorways of both the entrance and the stalls have at least one stall that can accommodate this size.
Some other things to consider:
Space To Maneuver – customers with disabilities should have ample space to maneuver within the bathroom area. That means accessing stalls, sinks, paper towels or hand dryers with mobility. A standard wheelchair has some movement and turning space requirements, a good starting point (don’t go less than this), is 60 inches forwards or backwards and 36 inches left and right.
Signs and Labeling – from the dining room, ADA bathrooms should be easy to find, and that means having ideally placed signs. Now, this doesn’t mean it has to be a standard looking stock restaurant sign that you might see at a bus station. Instead you can make it creative but clear and within the style and flow of your restaurant.
Equipment Space – making sure that equipment like wheelchairs can access the bathroom and its areas is a must. Keep in mind people can be both right handed or left handed so ensure that stalls have this covered.
Heights – people who use wheelchairs will of course have height restrictions to lift themselves onto a toilet or to use a sink. Be sure that you find the middle zone of height that requires no higher than 49 inches and no lower than 16 inches from the floor.
ADA Bathroom Accessibility Stall Requirements
- Floor mounted toilets should have a depth of 58 inches while toilets that are wall hung should have depth of 55 inches.
- Spring loaded toilet seats are a no no for an ADA stall.
- Flushing handle or push button should be visible and should not require moving around the toilet to operate.
- Install the top of the toilet seat 17-19 inches above the floor and at least 18 inches removed from any walls.
- ADA stalls require grab bars, two horizontal: one at the wall above the toilet and the other on the side of the toilet. You can also choose to add another bar on the opposite side so there are three sides covered with grab bars.
- Install the grab bars at heights comparable to a wheelchair roughly 34.5 inches.
- Bars must be round and smooth, there should be no edges or rectangular shapes. The material should also be smooth and easy to use.
- Making sure the bars are securely mounted is also an ADA requirement and as people will be putting much or all of their body weight on them its very important.
- ADA doors cannot swing into a stall, they must swing outwards and be wide enough to allow a standard wheelchair with a width of 36 inches to easily access it.
- Doors should be easy to open and close, requiring no more than just a few pounds of force to operate.
- Latches and handles should also be easy to use without having to grip tightly.
- Mount handles somewhere in a range from 35 – 49 inches from the finished bathroom floor.
- Toilet paper dispensers should be easy to use and have an access port somewhere around 17 inches in height from the ground.
- Dispenser should be about 8 inches maximum away from the toilet itself.
- Seat cover dispensers have a wide possible range and should be 16-49 inches from the floor.
- Wash Area ADA Requirements (Lavatory)
- Making sure sinks and wash areas are easily accessible will be important as well to promote proper cleanliness especially when eating.
Sinks & Faucets:
- You’ll need at least one ADA compliant sink in each bathroom (men and women).
- The sink should be removed or protruding from the wall so that they can access via chair without hitting anything like pipes, cabinets or other plumbing.
- A sink should be low enough to the ground that it can be accessed from a standard wheelchair easily.
- Sinks on a counter-top should be as close to the front edge as possible to prevent the need for reaching.
- Faucets should be simple to use and operated by one hand. This can mean sensor operated, standard long lever, touch, or push operated. No floor pedals.
- 5 pounds in the maximum weight that should be required to turn on and off the faucet.
Mirrors, Soap Dispenser, and Hand Drying:
- Soap faucets should be easily accessible. Roughly 45 inches from the ground.
- People should be able to use the faucets and soap dispensers or paper towels all within arms reach and have no large spaces between them or impediments.
- Mirrors should be placed at the sink where people using a wheelchair will be able to see themselves easily.
- There should be no exposed or sharp edges on the mirrors bottom or sides.
- Installing touch free hand dryers that are easy to use is a great way to save some trees and make it very easy for all to use, making it ADA compliant.
- Dryers should be mounted between 41 and 49 inches from the floor.
Making sure your restaurant has ADA Bathroom Accessibility is not only required by law, but good for your business as well. Having a welcoming restaurant for all to come enjoy your food, drink, and atmosphere is important as we want to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive. That means bathrooms that area easy to use and easy to access, so there is no stress related to using the toilets for any single patron.
Be sure to think of this when planning your restaurant’s design and take the proper steps to ensure that your restaurant is ADA compliant in all the ways possible.
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