Top 5 Necessary Elements of an ADA Compliant Entrance

Commercial buildings, transportation facilities, and several other areas should always accommodate persons with disabilities. Some may excuse that the line is blurred about what kind of design is inclusive of everybody. However, there are already existing laws that dictate what equal opportunities and accessibility look like.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, shortly referred to as the ADA, was instilled by the US Department of Justice in order to create a standard for various parts of the building. When it comes to the entrances of these spaces, there are already plenty of components that are needed for proper compliance.

If you want to learn what makes up an ADA compliant entrance system, here are the principal elements:

1) Accessible Width

It is ideal for every commercial building entrance’s width to be accessible to persons with disabilities. However, the minimum requirements would be at least 60% of the entries would be ADA compliant.

An ADA-compliant width is described to be at least 32 to 48 inches. This takes into account measurements of the door’s hardware, though that is subject to change. Ideally, wheelchair users and other people using walking assistance would pass through with no problem.

2) Inclusive Height

Unlike width, height might seem like a minor detail when it comes to accessibility for persons with disability. However, entrances that may feature a slope should follow the proper height threshold for the inclusivity of others.

For example, cane and crutch users may find it a hindrance when there’s a slope by the entrance. These doorways should not exceed half an inch in height as not to cause any problems for these individuals utilizing walking assistance.

3) Maneuverable Area

Certain entrances should allow space for any person to maneuver themselves in and out of the place, especially when they change their minds. Persons with disabilities are no exception to that, so provide a safe area for them to turn when needed. 

The ADA does have a guide for how sufficient this maneuvering clearance should be through the Standards for Accessible Design manual. As a general rule though, the area is calculated by taking the path of approach and the door’s swinging directions into account.

4) Hardware Material

Millions of persons with disabilities may have difficulty with grabbing different objects and lifting them. Having a commercial entrance to the building that isn’t friendly for those with a less strong grip doesn’t pass ADA requirements.

Seek out door hardware material that makes it easier to grasp. Certain door handle and pull designs will be much easier, and it wouldn’t be necessary to twist and turn the mechanism that can hurt a person’s wrist.

5) Door Pressure

Finally, the door’s pressure affects the commercial building entrance’s push force and closing speed. It’s important to find a balance between having the door automatically close while making it easy to open.

Persons with disabilities should not spend longer than they need to in front of a door just to enter and exit the building. Gauge the door pressure and ensure that the door doesn’t surpass five pounds.


Putting all these elements together in a single door for your commercial building might seem like too much, but it’s important to place the effort for inclusivity. Strive for ADA compliance to welcome everyone to your establishment’s entrances.

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Merle Parkins