On ADA-Compliance: Height Requirements for Different Counters

Having an inclusive establishment where different kinds of people are welcome is more important now than ever! With the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affecting every person today, you have a responsibility to ensure that your business follows the regulations detailed in this civil rights law.

With the recent revisions in the law, also known as the 2010 standards for accessible design, every business with 15 or more full-time employees must consider whether their company is ADA-compliant and reassess their company’s layout and fixtures, specifically their counters.

ADA-Compliant Counters

When it comes to accessibility, you mustn’t forget about counters! With nearly every establishment having some type of counter, people with disabilities must be able to access them like everyone else. As such, your counter height must meet the ADA standards.

From bathrooms and restaurants to grocery stores and department stores, nearly every place has at least one service counter or checkout counter. People with disabilities visit and work at those places too, so business owners need to ensure that they can access them as easily as other people.

If you’re unsure whether your counters are ADA-compliant or not, read our guide below:

Sales and Service Counters

Most sales and service counters are usually too high for people who use wheelchairs, so you may have to make a few modifications. Counters with a cash register must have a portion that is 28 to 36 inches high, measured from the floor to the sales countertop.

For a parallel approach, the portion of the counter must be at least 36 inches long and 30 inches in length for a forward approach. With this modification, those who can’t reach the usual height of a sales counter can easily exchange goods and services and money.

If it’s not possible to lower the height of one portion of the sales counter, we recommend providing an auxiliary counter nearby instead.


Since public bathrooms are among the most used places, your establishment’s restroom must be ADA-compliant and easily accessible by every member of the public. 

Your bathroom sink should be more than 34 inches high and must include the following spaces:

  • ADA knee clearance at the counter measuring at least 27 inches from the sink to the finish floor
  • 30 inches of lateral clearance
  • 48 inches of floor space from the knee space under the bathroom sink for wheelchair navigation
  • No less than 9 inches of vertical toe space of clearance

Desks and Signage

Whether with a disability or not, every employee must be afforded the necessary equipment for a conducive workspace to perform their job well. 

ADA-compliant work surfaces or desks should measure 28 to 34 inches from the finish floor to the top of the surface area. Meanwhile, the seating height should be 30 inches high for easy reach. In some cases, reasonable accommodations must be made for disabled employees but shouldn’t cause “undue hardship” on the employer.


Ensuring that your business is ADA-compliant and modifying your workplace to accommodate people with disabilities indeed calls for a few renovations and tweaks that require you to invest money, time, and effort. However, although consuming, having a business that’s ADA-compliant is worth it! By doing your part, you’re helping create an accessible society for everyone!

Do you want to assess the ADA compliance of your business but don’t know where to get started? Then, we at All Things Inspector may be able to help! Our inspection tools will help you quickly spot non-compliances so that you can make the necessary changes. Browse our ADA templates today!

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