Monday, September 10, 2012

UPDATE: New ADA Standards Taking Effect

Staying On Top of ADA & CBC
Accessibility related issues and items are a growing concern for property owners and tenants. Having a compliant facility and staying on top of both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Building Code (CBC) requirements are critical to avoid increasing complaint letters and lawsuits. In March 2012, the 2010 ADA Standards took effect. These standards contain significant changes, some of which created conflicts with CBC requirements.  To resolve such conflicts, the State of California issued emergency measures, which have just taken effect this past month of August 2012.
Some of these recent changes include:
  • Range of mounting heights of signs is now allowed; replaces previously identified exact heights, which are no longer compliant.
  • Increase in required number of van accessible spaces.
  • Allowance of a range for toilet centerline from the wall; no longer an exact dimension.
  • Increase in duration required for the door closing speed/time.
  • Change in location of toilet paper roll; previous location is no longer compliant.
  • New requirements for previously exempt facilities, such as recreation facilities and golf courses.
  • Change in requirements for detectable warning truncated domes spacing and location.

Accessibility is such a critical component of facility management, design and construction, that Williams + Paddon has a studio dedicated to it led by Mark Posnick, AIA, CASp. We stay up to date on changes to the requirements and provide that information to our clients and colleagues. If you are interested in learning more about recent changes to accessibility requirements, please contact Mark at 916.786.8178 or email



Based on the required locations of grab bars at a water closet, assuming they provide a possible hand hold the entire length, why in the world does the flush handle need to be on the "wide side"? So, practically, would not one of these be necessary?

The grab bar locations are based on the need and function of someone in a wheelchair transferring to the toilet from the side. The grab bars do provide handholds at the back and wall side to allow someone to lift and pull (or lift and push when transferring back to the wheelchair) themselves onto the toilet. When the person transfers back to the wheelchair, their back is to the wall, so placing the flush handle on the wide side, makes it immediately next to them. This is a much easier location for them to reach to flush the toilet since it is immediately adjacent to where they are sitting in the wheelchair. It is physically possible that the person could lean over and use the grab bar to hold themselves up while the reach to the far side/wall side of the toilet to a flush handle, but this is a much more difficult movement for many people. If this is a flush valve situation, the location is more accessible, but if it is a tank, they may have to reach over or around the tank, which is much more difficult. This is especially true if the flush is not only on the wall side, but actually on the side of the tank. This requires a tremendous amount of twisting that many persons in wheelchairs are not able to do. So the laws and codes are written on the more conservative side for those who cannot perform that maneuver.

Please feel free to contact me at the office, if you would like to speak further, or need more information. Thank you for your comment!

Mark Posnick, AIA, CASp

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