wheelchair Adaptations ADA rules

ADA American With Disabilities Act Compliant

Are you working on a project that requires wheelchair Adaptations for ADA rules?

You are in luck!  Here we will simplify and explain to you all that you need to know about wheelchair Adaptations ADA rules, so you are not fined by government agencies, or worst! You are not going to be sued for not providing all the changes according to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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 Floor or Ground Surfaces for wheelchair Adaptations

Floor and ground surfaces have to be stable, firm, and slip resistant according to ADA specific rules. Ask us about it, because its not cheap to get your hands on an unedited version of those papers. In addition we do not have the copyrights to reproduce it here.

In areas where animals are contained the floor and ground surfaces are not required to be, leveled, stable, firm, nor slip resistant. Having to even mention this hurts my bones! Perhaps the rules have to be as clear as possible!

Also areas designed to practice or perform sports activities are also exempt from complying with the rules. Imagine if areas designed to sport were subject to the wheelchair Adaptations ADA rules? My rock-climbing gym would look a lot different!

Carpet for wheelchair Adaptations ADA rules:

Preferably, carpet pad should not be used because the soft padding increases roll resistance but is not prohibited.

The Maximum height shall be 1/2″ or 13mm, preferably installed without padding for wheelchair Adaptations according to ADA rules.

ADA max carpet height allowed

Openings on floors for wheelchair Adaptations ADA rules:

When a hole is necessary for drainage or other mechanical needs, including any an all floor surfaces, that hole should not allow passage of a sphere more than ½ inch (13 mm) diameter, with few exceptions.

Look up exceptions 407.4.3, 409.4.3, 410.4, 810.5.3 and 810.10 online under wheelchair Adaptations ADA rules.

Elongated openings, like in floor grills,  has to be placed so that the long dimension is perpendicular to the dominant direction of travel.

ADA compliant grill

Vertical Changes in Level wheelchair Adaptations

Straight Vertical. 

Changes in level of ¼ inch (6.4 mm) high maximum shall be permitted to be vertical.

Elevation drawing of a change in level between the surfaces of two parallel planes with a vertical edge that is ¼ inch (6.4 mm) high maximum.

 

Vertical Change in Level

 

Beveled Vertical. 

Changes in level between ¼ inch (6.4 mm) high minimum and ½ inch (13 mm) high maximum have to be beveled with a slope not steeper than 1:2.

 A change in level of ½ inch (13 mm) is permitted to be ¼ inch (6.4 mm) vertical plus ¼ inch (6.4 mm) beveled.  However, in no case may the combined change in level exceed ½ inch (13 mm).  Changes in level exceeding ½ inch (13 mm) must comply with 405 (Ramps) or 406 (Curb Ramps).

Elevation drawing of a change in level ¼ to ½ inches (6.4 - 13 mm) high that is beveled with a slope of 1:2.

 

 Beveled Change in Level

Ramps. 

Changes in level greater than ½ inch (13 mm) high shall be ramped, and shall comply with directions below.

Disabled Accessibility | Contractors to Build ADA Ramp
Disabled Accessibility | Contractors to Build ADA Ramp

Turning Spaces for wheelchairs ADA rules:

Changes in level are not permitted.

EXCEPTION:  Slopes not steeper than 1:48 shall be permitted.

 Floor or Ground Surface Exception.  As used in this section, the phrase “changes in level” refers to surfaces with slopes and to surfaces with abrupt rise exceeding that permitted  and is listed in this page. 

Such changes in level are prohibited in required clear floor and ground spaces, turning spaces, and in similar spaces where people using wheelchairs and other mobility devices must park their mobility aids such as in wheelchair spaces, or maneuver to use elements such as at doors, fixtures, and telephones.  The exception permits slopes not steeper than 1:48.

Size.

Turning space shall comply with 304.3.1 or 304.3.2.

Circular Space.

The turning space shall be a space of 60 inches (1525 mm) diameter minimum.  The space shall be permitted to include knee and toe clearance complying with other rules in this chapter.

 T-Shaped Space. 

The turning space shall be a T-shaped space within a 60 inch (1525 mm) square minimum with arms and base 36 inches (915 mm) wide minimum. 

Each arm of the T shall be clear of obstructions 12 inches (305 mm) minimum in each direction and the base shall be clear of obstructions 24 inches (610 mm) minimum. 

The space shall be permitted to include knee and toe clearance complying with other rules listed here, only at the end of either the base or one arm.

The T shape space is 36 inches (915 mm) wide at the top and stem within a 60 inch by 60 inch (1525 mm by 1525 mm) square.

 

T-Shaped Turning Space

Door Swing. 

Doors shall be permitted to swing into turning spaces.

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Clear Floor or Ground space for wheelchairs:

Floor or Ground Surfaces. 

Floor or ground surfaces of a clear floor or ground space shall comply with other rules listed here in this page.

Changes in level are not permitted.

EXCEPTION:  Slopes not steeper than 1:48 shall be permitted.

Size.

The clear floor or ground space shall be 30 inches (760 mm) minimum by 48 inches (1220 mm) minimum.

Clear floor or ground space is 30 inches by 48 inches (760 mm by 1220 mm) minimum.

 

Clear Floor or Ground Space

 

Enlarge a Door ADA American With Disabilities Act
Disabled Accessibility | Contractors to Build ADA Ramp

Knee and Toe Clearance for wheelchairs. 

Unless otherwise specified, clear floor or ground space shall be permitted to include knee and toe clearance complying with other rules listed in this page.

 

Position.

Unless otherwise specified, clear floor or ground space shall be positioned for either forward or parallel approach to an element.

For a forward approach to an element, a clear floor or ground space, 30 inches by 48 inches (760 mm by 1220 mm) minimum, is shown with the shorter dimension parallel to the wall or element. For a parallel approach to an element, a clear floor or ground space, 30 inches by 48 inches (760 mm by 1220 mm) minimum, is shown with the longer dimension parallel to the wall or element.

Position of Clear Floor or Ground Space

Approach.

One full unobstructed side of the clear floor or ground space shall adjoin an accessible route or adjoin another clear floor or ground space.

Maneuvering Clearance.

Where a clear floor or ground space is located in an alcove or otherwise confined on all or part of three sides, additional maneuvering clearance shall be provided in accordance with other rules listed in here.

Forward Approach. 

Alcoves shall be 36 inches (915 mm)wide minimum where the depth exceeds 24 inches (610 mm).

For a forward approach, if the depth of the alcove is greater than 24 inches (610 mm), the clear floor or ground space within the alcove must be 36 inches (915 mm) wide minimum.

Maneuvering Clearance in an Alcove, Forward Approach

Parallel Approach. 

Alcoves shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) wide minimum where the depth exceeds 15 inches (380 mm).

For a parallel approach, if the depth of the alcove is greater than 15 inches (380 mm), then the length of the clear floor or ground space within the alcove must be 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum.

Maneuvering Clearance in an Alcove, Parallel Approach

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Knee and Toe Clearances for wheelchairs:

Clearances are measured in relation to the usable clear floor space, not necessarily to the vertical support for an element.  When determining clearance under an object for required turning or maneuvering space, care should be taken to ensure the space is clear of any obstructions.

Toe Clearance.

Space under an element between the finish floor or ground and 9 inches (230 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall be considered toe clearance and shall comply with other rules listed in this page.

Maximum Depth. 

Toe clearance shall extend 25 inches (635 mm) maximum under an element.

Minimum Required Depth. 

Where toe clearance is required at an element as part of a clear floor space, the toe clearance shall extend 17 inches (430 mm) minimum under the element.

Additional Clearance. 

Space extending greater than 6 inches (150 mm) beyond the available knee clearance at 9 inches (230 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall not be considered toe clearance.

Width. 

Toe clearance shall be 30 inches (760 mm) wide minimum.

Figure 306.2(a) Toe Clearance: Elevation. Toes of a person in a wheelchair are shown extending for a maximum depth of 6 inches (150 mm) under an object that is 9 inches (230 mm) high minimum. Figure 306.2(b) Toe Clearance: Plan. Toe clearance at an element, as part of clear floor space, shall extend 17 to 25 inches (430 to 635 mm) under the element. The clear floor space is 30 inches (760 mm) wide minimum.

 

Toe Clearance

Knee Clearance.

Space under an element between 9 inches (230 mm) and 27 inches (685 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall be considered knee clearance and shall comply with other rules listed in this page.

Maximum Depth. 

Knee clearance shall extend 25 inches (635 mm) maximum under an element at 9 inches (230 mm) above the finish floor or ground.

Minimum Required Depth. 

Where knee clearance is required under an element as part of a clear floor space, the knee clearance shall be 11 inches (280 mm) deep minimum at 9 inches (230 mm) above the finish floor or ground, and 8 inches (205 mm) deep minimum at 27 inches (685 mm) above the finish floor or ground.

Clearance Reduction. 

Between 9 inches (230 mm) and 27 inches (685 mm) above the finish floor or ground, the knee clearance shall be permitted to reduce at a rate of 1 inch (25 mm) in depth for each 6 inches (150 mm) in height.

Width. 

Knee clearance shall be 30 inches (760 mm) wide minimum.

Figure 306.3(a) Knee Clearance: Elevation. Knee clearance is 27 inches (685 mm) high minimum above the floor or ground for a minimum depth of 8 inches (205 mm), measured from the leading edge of the element. The vertical clearance decreases beyond this depth to a height of 9 inches (230 mm) minimum at depth of 11 inches (280 mm) minimum measured from the leading edge of the element. Figure 306.3(b) Knee Clearance: Plan. Combined knee and toe clearance can extend 25 inches (635 mm) maximum under an element.

 

 Knee Clearances

Protruding Objects:

Protrusion Limits. 

Objects with leading edges more than 27 inches (685 mm) and not more than 80 inches (2030 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall protrude 4 inches (100 mm) maximum horizontally into the circulation path.

EXCEPTION:  Handrails shall be permitted to protrude 4½ inches (115 mm) maximum.

Protrusion Limits. 

When a cane is used and the element is in the detectable range, it gives a person sufficient time to detect the element with the cane before there is body contact. 

Elements located on circulation paths, including operable elements, must comply with requirements for protruding objects. 

For example, awnings and their supporting structures cannot reduce the minimum required vertical clearance. 

Similarly, casement windows, when open, cannot encroach more than 4 inches (100 mm) into circulation paths above 27 inches (685 mm).

A frontal view shows a person using a cane walking along a wall. A wall-mounted object more than 27 inches (685 mm) from the floor protrudes no more than 4 inches (100 mm) from the wall surface. An object overhead provides vertical clearance that is greater than 80 inches (2030 mm).

Limits of Protruding Objects

 Post-Mounted Objects. 

Free-standing objects mounted on posts or pylons shall overhang circulation paths 12 inches (305 mm) maximum when located 27 inches (685 mm) minimum and 80 inches (2030 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground. 

Where a sign or other obstruction is mounted between posts or pylons and the clear distance between the posts or pylons is greater than 12 inches (305 mm), the lowest edge of such sign or obstruction shall be 27 inches (685 mm) maximum or 80 inches (2030 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground.

EXCEPTION:  The sloping portions of handrails serving stairs and ramps shall not be required to comply with other rules listed on this page.

Elevation drawing (a) shows an object mounted more than 27 inches (685 mm) high on a post. The object protrudes 12 inches (305 mm) maximum from the post on both sides. Elevation (b) shows signs or other obstructions mounted between posts or pylons. One object has its lowest edge mounted 27 inches (685 mm) high maximum between posts that are more than 12 inches apart. Another object is mounted with its lowest edge 80 inches (2030 mm) high minimum between posts that are more than 12 inches apart.

Post-Mounted Protruding Objects

Vertical Clearance.

Vertical clearance shall be 80 inches (2030 mm) high minimum. 

Guardrails or other barriers shall be provided where the vertical clearance is less than 80 inches (2030 mm) high. 

The leading edge of such guardrail or barrier shall be located 27 inches (685 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground.

EXCEPTION:  Door closers and door stops shall be permitted to be 78 inches (1980 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground.

A person using a long cane is shown approaching the sloped underside of a staircase. A portion of the area below the stairs in front of the person has a vertical clearance less than 80 inches (2030 mm). A railing 27 inches (685 mm) high maximum separates this space from the areas where a vertical clearance at or above 80 inches (2030 mm) is maintained.

Vertical Clearance

Required Clear Width. 

Protruding objects shall not reduce the clear width required for accessible routes.

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Reach Ranges wheelchair Adaptations:

 The following table provides guidance on reach ranges for children according to age where building elements such as coat hooks, lockers, or operable parts are designed for use primarily by children. 

These dimensions apply to either forward or side reaches. 

Accessible elements and operable parts designed for adult use or children over age 12 can be located outside these ranges but must be within the adult reach ranges required by other rules listed somewhere else in this page.

Forward or Side Reach Ages 3 and 4 Ages 5 through 8 Ages 9 through 12
High (maximum) 36 in (915 mm) 40 in (1015 mm) 44 in (1120 mm)
Low (minimum) 20 in (510 mm) 18 in (455 mm) 16 in (405 mm)

Forward Reach.

Unobstructed. 

Where a forward reach is unobstructed, the high forward reach shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum and the low forward reach shall be 15 inches (380 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground.

A side view is shown of a person using a wheelchair reaching toward a wall. The lowest vertical reach point is 15 inches (380 mm) minimum and the highest is 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum.

 

Unobstructed Forward Reach

Obstructed High Reach. 

Where a high forward reach is over an obstruction, the clear floor space shall extend beneath the element for a distance not less than the required reach depth over the obstruction. 

The high forward reach shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum where the reach depth is 20 inches (510 mm) maximum. 

Where the reach depth exceeds 20 inches (510 mm), the high forward reach shall be 44 inches (1120 mm) maximum and the reach depth shall be 25 inches (635 mm) maximum.

Figure (a) shows a person seated in a wheelchair reaching a point on a wall above a protrusion, such as a wall-mounted counter, which is 20 inches (510 mm) deep maximum. The maximum reach height is 48 inches (1220 mm). In figure (b), the obstruction is more than 20 inches (510 mm) deep, with 25 inches (635 mm) the maximum depth. The maximum reach height is 44 inches (1120 mm).
Obstructed High Forward Reach

Side Reach.

Unobstructed. 

Where a clear floor or ground space allows a parallel approach to an element and the side reach is unobstructed, the high side reach shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum and the low side reach shall be 15 inches (380 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground.

EXCEPTIONS: 

First, an obstruction shall be permitted between the clear floor or ground space and the element where the depth of the obstruction is 10 inches (255 mm) maximum.

Second, operable parts of fuel dispensers shall be permitted to be 54 inches (1370 mm) maximum measured from the surface of the vehicular way where fuel dispensers are installed on existing curbs.

The drawing shows a frontal view of a person using a wheelchair making a side reach to a wall. The depth of reach is 10 inches (255 mm) maximum. The vertical reach range is 15 inches (380 mm) minimum to 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum.

 

Unobstructed Side Reach

Obstructed High Reach. 

Where a clear floor or ground space allows a parallel approach to an element and the high side reach is over an obstruction, the height of the obstruction shall be 34 inches (865 mm) maximum and the depth of the obstruction shall be 24 inches (610 mm) maximum. 

The high side reach shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum for a reach depth of 10 inches (255 mm) maximum. 

Where the reach depth exceeds 10 inches (255 mm), the high side reach shall be 46 inches (1170 mm) maximum for a reach depth of 24 inches (610 mm) maximum.

EXCEPTIONS: 

First, the top of washing machines and clothes dryers shall be permitted to be 36 inches (915 mm) maximum above the finish floor.

Second, operable parts of fuel dispensers shall be permitted to be 54 inches (1370 mm) maximum measured from the surface of the vehicular way where fuel dispensers are installed on existing curbs.

In figure (a), a person seated in a wheelchair is shown reaching to the side over an obstruction 10 inches (510 mm) deep maximum and 34 inches (865 mm) high maximum. The maximum reach height is 48 inches (1220 mm). In figure (b) the obstruction depth is 10 inches to 24 inches maximum (255 to 610 mm) and 34 inches (865 mm) high maximum. The maximum reach height is 46 inches (1170 mm).

 

Obstructed High Side Reach

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Operable Parts adaptations for wheelchair access:

Clear Floor Space. 

A clear floor or ground space complying with  all rules listed in this page shall be provided.

Height. 

Operable parts shall be placed within one or more of the reach ranges specified in other rules listed somewhere else in this page.

Operation. 

Operable parts shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. 

The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.

EXCEPTION: 

Gas pump nozzles shall not be required to provide operable parts that have an activating force of 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.