What to Check during an ADA Inspection for a Bathroom

Check ADA Sink Clearance requirements quickly with our ADA template.

Our ADA Knee Clearance template (shown above)makes easy work of doing ADA Inspections.  

Use the links below for more on ADA Compliance.

What does an ADA Restroom Inspection Consist of?

An ADA-compliant restroom meets the Standards for Accessible Design for provided elements, turning space, doors, and. ADA standards apply to any employee public and restroom facilities. Continue reading to learn what it takes to perform an ADA Restroom Inspection and get a glimpse of some new ADA inspection tools.

California ADA Restroom Requirements

If you plan to build, remodel, or design a new restroom, you must meet accessibility standards as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This page summarizes the ADA restroom guidelines to help you stay compliant and out of trouble.

The ADA standards outline how many single-user restrooms or stalls in multi-user restrooms must be ADA-compliant. If your design has single-user restrooms clustered, at least half must meet accessibility requirements.

Multi-user restrooms must include a minimum of one wheelchair-accessible sink and stall. The space must have at least one ambulatory-accessible stall if your multi-user bathroom has at least six toilets or urinals. Ambulatory accessible stalls should be designed for people using mobility aids, crutches, canes, or similar assistive devices. In restrooms that have multiple urinals, a minimum of one urinal must be ADA compliant.

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Understanding ADA Restroom Requirments

ADA Standards require that each accessible restroom have a minimum of  60 inches of turning space. You must also configure all elements — including toilet paper dispensers, and toilets, sinks, to maintain accessibility. If your restroom includes shelves, coat hooks,  or mirrors, you must also have accessible shelves, hooks, and mirrors within your compliant commercial restrooms.

Restroom stalls, signs, doors, toilets, grab bars, vanities, sinks, and showers must meet specific ADA guidelines for the bathroom to be considered ADA-compliant.

Sign Requirements for ADA Restroom

If your design includes inaccessible and accessible commercial restrooms, all accessible restrooms should be indicated using the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA). Also, all restroom signs should have braille identification.

Vanity Requirements ADA Restroom

Any restroom vanities that have mirrors need to include at least one accessible mirror. ADA-compliant over-the-counter mirrors should be no higher than 40 inches from the finish floor, measured from the lowest reflecting surface

Below are more cool links to help grow your ADA Inspection knowledge. 

ADA Requirements for Restroom Stalls

Multi-user restrooms include multiple stalls and sinks. Multi-user restrooms have two different stall types:

Wheelchair Accessible Stalls

Wheelchair-accessible stalls need to meet the following requirements:

  • Compliant door: Stall doors must meet ADA criteria, which we’ll outline below.
  • Maneuvering Clearance: Bathroom stalls should have enough room for wheelchair maneuvering clearance. The stall needs to be at least 56 inches deep if the toilets are wall mounted and 59 inches deep if the toilets are floor mounted. Stalls need to be at least 60 inches wide.
  • Toe clearance: Toe clearance

Requirements ADA Restroom Door Handle

Restroom doors are critical to accessibility. Requirements for ADA door clearance and door handles include:

  • Door clearance: Restrooms should have enough clearance from the door’s swing for users to maneuver in a wheelchair. Stalls in multi-user restrooms, doors should swing out to avoid reducing the minimum required stall space. In single-user restrooms, push-exit doors need to have a clearance space of 48 inches by 12 inches. Pull-exit doors need to have a clearance space of 60 inches by 18 inches.
  • Restroom Stall doors:  stall doors need to be at least 32 inches wide. They should self-close within 1.5 seconds.
  • Opening force: You should be able to open a restroom door with no more than five pounds of force. Latches should not require tight twisting or pinching.
  • Door pulls: Stall doors need to have pulls on both sides.

Push Gauges

ADA Push Door Pressure Gauge

According to the ADA, doors present some of the most common accessibility concerns for disabled persons. Doors that require too much force to open create difficulties for the elderly, for the disabled, and for anyone without sufficient upper-body strength.

Door Gauges

Whether you need a Door Gap Gauge to inspect a fire rated door or a push pull gauge to check a fire rated or non fire rated door for ADA we have the tools you need.

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ADA Toilet Requirements

ADA Standards for toilets include:

  • Clearance: In the clear space required for access to the toilet, you can only place toilet paper, grab bars and other relevant dispensers, coat hooks, and shelves within the required toilet clearance.
  • Dimensions: The top of the toilet seat should be 17-19 inches from the finish floor. The center of the toilet needs to be 16-18 inches from the finished wall.
  • Flush controls: Users should be able to access the flush handle from the side farthest from the wall.
  • Toilet paper dispensers: Toilet paper can be recessed within the dispenser or not. All dispensers should be seven to nine inches from the toilet. The point where toilet paper comes out of the dispenser should be 15-48 inches from the ground. If placed near grab bars, non-recessed dispensers must be at least 1 1/2 inches below the bar or precisely 12 inches above.

Requirements for ADA Restroom Grab Bars

Accessible restrooms and stalls must have a grab bar behind and beside the toilet. Grab bar requirements include the following:

  • Height: Grab bars should be 33-36 inches from the ground.
  • Length: The side grab bar needs to be at least 42 inches long and stop no more than 12 inches from the rear wall. The rear grab bar should be at least 36 inches long, 12 inches from the center of the toilet to the nearest wall, and 24 inches from the center into the open space next to the toilet.
  • Clearance: Grab bars need to protrude at least 1 1/2 inches from the wall.
  • Rounded edges: Grab bars should be rounded.
  • Strength: Grab bars need to support 250 pounds of force without rotating.

ADA Bathroom Shower Requirements

ADA Bathroom Shower Requirements

If your restroom has showers, you need to include at least one accessible bathtub or shower. A roll-in shower is the standard type of accessible shower. Standards for roll-in showers include:

  • Size: Showers should be a minimum of 30 inches wide and 60 inches long. Additionally, you should leave a clearance of 30 inches wide and 60 inches long outside the shower.
  • Drainage: A shower may have a 1:48 max slope to provide drainage.
  • Thresholds: The transition into the shower should be 1/2 inch or less.
  • Optional seat: Roll-in showers are generally not required to have a seat; if you choose to include one, it needs to attach to the wall and fold out of the way.
  • Grab bars: Three walls should have grab bars that meet ADA Standards; if your shower does not have a seat,
  • Shower controls: Place all controls and knobs within a space no more than 48 inches from the floor.

Lavatory Requirements ADA Restroom

Single-user restrooms include compliant sinks, and at least one sink in a multi-user restroom needs to be accessible. The ADA Standards for restroom sinks include:

  • Height: Bathroom lavatories should be no more than 34 inches from the finish floor, measured at the top of the sink.
  • Front clearance: All sinks need to have clear space that allows people to access the lavatory in a wheelchair without obstruction.
  • Hand-operated dispensers: People should be able to operate any paper towel dispensers or soap dispensers with one hand, without twisting or pinching the wrist, with five or fewer pounds of force.

What Is The Risk Of Not Meeting ADA Restroom Requirements in 2023?

You might wonder, “Do all restrooms need to be ADA-compliant?” You should ensure your commercial restroom design complies with ADA Standards. Bathrooms that are Non-compliant in your business establishment can lead to lawsuits. If a business is fined more than once, subsequent fines might reach $150,000. Mitigate these risks by following ADA guidelines when adding new or updating existing restrooms.

What is an ADA compliant restroom?

An ADA-compliant restroom meets the Standards for Accessible Design in provided elements, turning space, and doors. ADA standards apply to public and employee restrooms.

The 2010 and 2016 ADA Standards outline how many single-use restrooms or stalls in multi-user restrooms need to be compliant. If your remodel has single-user restrooms clustered together, half need to be accessible

The information in this article is intended for general purposes only and is based on data available as of the initial publication date. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for a review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and activities. It should not be construed as opinion or legal advice. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult an attorney.

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