What Makes a Good ADA-Compliant Product?
The key to ADA compliance is choosing well-made, durable products that are easy to use and require minimal physical effort.
Consider solid-surface lavatory systems with fully integrated sinks at various heights. Only one bowl in a multi-bowl sink needs to offer minimum knee and toe clearances, so these multi-height lavatory systems combine an ADA-compliant sink with higher sinks. An added benefit of these fixtures is that the solid-surface finish is durable and can be repaired. The continuous bowl is also easier to clean than a row of individual sinks and eliminates crevices for microbes to hide.
Lever, paddle, and infrared faucet controls make turning the water on and off easy. Lever-handle faucets are useful when only one hand can be used. Infrared-controlled and capacitive-sensor controlled faucets are the most universal, offering touch-free, easy activation. Durability is key, as is ease of cleaning.
Faucets, Dispensers, Grab Bars and Mirrors
Faucets and soap dispensers must meet ADA reach range and mounting height requirements. A 48-inch-high limitation is required for all accessories (except those mounted over obstructions), including lavatory fixtures, which are up to 20 inches deep. When the reach depth is over 20 inches deep, a reach range of 44 inches applies.
The ADAAG states that mirrors need to be mounted with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface no higher than 40 inches above the floor, with the top edge at a minimum of 74 inches from the floor. A full-length mirror in the restroom fulfills the ADA requirement for mirrors if it’s not possible to mount the mirror at 40 inches above the floor.
Keep in mind that a trash can on the floor, for example, is a barrier when it comes to someone in a wheelchair reaching for a dispenser mounted above it. A better solution is a recessed trash receptacle or combination paper towel dispenser/trash receptacle. A wall-mounted hand dryer is a good choice because it eliminates waste. Look for a dryer that meets the ADA protrusion requirement (it can protrude no more than 4 inches from the wall).
Feminine product vendors should also be taken into consideration. Restroom products provider Bobrick offers the only fully ADA-compliant napkin/tampon vendor on the market. It operates easily without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist and also satisfies the ADA 4-inch protruding objects requirement.
The ADA emphasizes grab bars to maintain balance and prevent falls. Look for sturdy, easy-to-grip models. Also, toilet tissue dispensers can’t control delivery or limit paper flow. Look for dispensers that hold enough toilet tissue and deliver it in an easy-to-grab fashion.