The Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for commercial restrooms were established to ensure that everyone can access and use these facilities. Although some companies are exempt, most businesses that serve the public or employ more than 15 people must comply. The ADA standards are ever-evolving, but the intent is to provide ready access to all people regardless of their adaptive needs. Determining whether your company or facility must make modifications to meet the federal standards may require consulting with an architect or building inspector.
Who Must Comply with ADA Regulations
The ADA guidelines apply to virtually all commercial businesses that serve the public. Even if your business is not open to the public, you may be required to meet ADA standards for your employees. Some buildings and facilities are grandfathered in if they were constructed before the guidelines were implemented. Nevertheless, the ADA requires that business owners “remove architectural barriers” in existing buildings to the greatest extent possible without causing structural problems or undue financial hardship. One of the most important aspects of the ADA guidelines pertains to public restrooms.
What is ADA Compliance for Restrooms?
Accessibility is the key to ADA restroom compliance. Doors must be easy to open and fixtures must be reachable. Sinks must be no more than 34” high with 27” of clearance underneath. Faucets must be easy to operate with one hand, but electronically operated faucets are preferable. Soap dispensers, hand dryers, light switches, mirrors and grab bars must meet reach and height specifications. There are even specifications for how toilet paper dispensers dispense. Increased lighting levels are typically a requirement as well. Hallway and door width and toilet partition width are also specified, depending on whether your restrooms are single- or multiple-occupant, unisex or gender-specific. The standards are updated frequently, so you are safest to consult a licensed architect or contractor for current specifications.
Determining Your Obligation for Compliance
The ADA website provides a variety of helpful information for business owners and facility managers. Here you can find the details of how to comply as well as what your obligations are. Individuals who believe that you unfairly restrict access to disabled persons can file suit against you, as can the U.S. Department of Justice. Monetary awards can range well into the six-figure range or more for continued violation. Contact your city’s building department or a local architecture consultant and request a review of your facility. If any modifications are necessary, you can evaluate them from a cost and feasibility standpoint. If you do plan any renovations or remodeling in the future, you will be required to bring your facility into compliance at that time.
Town and Country Office Cleaning has been helping clients maintain their facilities for more than 40 years. Trust their certified professionals to keep your facility’s restrooms sanitary and professional whether or not your facility is required to meet ADA standards.