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ADA Compliant Commercial Restroom Tips from Sloan

Posted on October 12 2021

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In April 2020, the ADA came out with a supplementary guide to help us all better understand and implement the requirements they set forth in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It is designed to add clarity to ADA requirements for toilet rooms and the fixtures found therein. This article takes a look at the guidance, and adds even more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions to provide further clarity.

This article is for people who have reviewed the new supplementary guidance shared in 2020 by the Access Board and are looking for further clarification. 

Sections within this article:

  • General ADA Information and FAQs
    • ADA Compliance Information by Product Type:
      • Grab Bars
      • Toilets
      • Urinals
      • Sinks and Lavatories
      • Faucet, Soap Dispenser and Hand Dryers
      • Showers


      At the bottom of each section, you will find links or more information on how to order the fixtures or parts we review. Sloan creates products with ADA compliance in mind, as well as electrical and plumbing requirements. Many of the Sloan products we sell are designed to adhere to ADA standards when installed correctly.


      Americans with Disabilities Act Information


      What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and why is it important?
      The ADA protects individuals with disabilities. It defines disabilities as “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”. The act prohibits the discrimination of people with disabilities, and guarantees them the same opportunities as everyone else. 

      Who enforces ADA rules, and when did they come into effect?
      The United States Access Board and the United States Department of Justice enforce the regulations set by the ADA. 

      Below is a timeline of the history of the ADA:

      • 1968 is when the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) required federal facilities to be accessible to people with disabilities. 
      • 1973 is the year ABA guidelines truly become enforced, after the US Access Board created an independent federal agency to enforce their standards. 
      • 1982 is when the Access Board developed a Minimum Guidelines for Accessible Design, which instructs developers and engineers how to comply with their regulations. 
      • 1990 is the year that the Access Board adds other facilities beyond federal facilities to adhere to the rules set forth by the ADA. This includes facilities such as rail stations, buses, and airports. 
      • 2010 is when the ADA was revised to include new standards for new construction, alterations, program accessibility, and barrier removal - ADA Standards For Accessible Design
      • 2020 is when the Access Board developed supplementary guidance to ADA Standards for Toilet Rooms - The United States Access Board Guidance for Toilet Rooms



      ADA Penalties Overview


      Penalties and Costs Regarding Non-Compliance
      1st Violation: $75,000
      Subsequent Violations: $150,000
      Additional cost from lawsuits

      Who is obligated to comply with ADA regulations?
      Essentially, all entities starting with the facilities infrastructure and design through the fixtures installed and maintained throughout it. This includes the following:

      • Manufacturers of installed products,
      • Contractors for installation requirements,
      • Architects/Engineers for correct spatial design,
      • And the Owners for ongoing maintenance and compliance.

      Understanding who and what facilities are required to adhere to ADA standards is not always straightforward. We recommend reaching out to the U.S. Access Board for help figuring out if you need to comply with ADA standards. 


      ADA Compliant Products from Sloan


      Listed below by fixture type are Sloan recommendations and general information regarding how to achieve ADA compliance in your commercial restrooms. Note that the information listed is not the full guidance, and you likely also need to follow additional requirements including plumbing and electrical codes, as well as state and local codes. We are sharing supplementary information regarding Sloan products, and common questions that come up about fixtures regarding ADA compliance to help you if you have the same questions after reviewing the guidance.


      ADA Grab Bar Guidance


      ADA Grab Bars in Restrooms
      Sloan recommends almost always choosing the maximum height limit for placement of your grab bar, which is 36 inches. This will make it easier to meet other proximity requirements for other fixtures and accessories. Note that grab bar heights are measured to the top of the gripping surface. 


      Grab Bars and Exposed Flushometers 

      Grab Bars Exposed Flushometers

      When choosing top mount sensor products (like a Sloan G2 or ECOS flushometer), you should rough in your water supply at 10 inches (instead of the usual 11.5 inches) so you have the space you need (1.5-inch clearance) between the top of the flushometer and the bottom of the grab bar that will be located above it. 


      Grab Bars and Concealed Flushometers

      ADA Grab Bars Concealed Flushometers

      Concealed flushometers with recessed panels are considered flush with the wall, and therefore do not have any clearances they must meet. This means they can be located behind the grab bar and still meet ADA compliance. 


      Grab Bars and Children’s Toilet Requirements 


      Children restroom ADA requirements

      Grab bar requirements for children’s height toilets must meet adult requirements. The table above also shares additional advice specific to children (ages 12 and under) that is non-mandatory, but recommended. Sloan states that these advisory specifications conflict with other plumbing code requirements. In order to comply with all requirements and meet the advisory specifications (shown in the image below,) you must either split or offset the grab bars.

      Grab Bar Split Offset ADA Options


      ADA Guidance Grab Bar and Flushometer FAQs


      Q: Can you split or offset the grab bar if there is an issue between the rear grab bar and the required location of the flush controls?
      A: If plumbing codes require a flush control location that conflicts with the rear grab bar, the grab bar may be split or shifted to the open side. This is permitted only where applicable codes mandate flush controls in such a location.

      Q: Do sensor controlled flushometers have to be located on the open side of the water closet?
      A: No. Sensor flush valves are not required to be on the open side of the water closet. If a water closet has a manual flush control in addition to a motion activated one, (such as a manual override button) it is recommended to put the manual control on the open side of the water closet, but not required.

      Q: If you have manual flush controls that are centered on the fixture, is that compliant? 
      A: Yes. As long as the portion of the control is within the centerline range and usable, it is considered to be on the open side of the fixture. 


      Sloan Grab Bars

      View all of the grab bar options available from Sloan on our Grab Bar page. If you don’t see the grab bar you need to meet ADA requirements, give us a call for additional help. 



      ADA Urinal Guidance


      ADA Urinal Guidance


      The standard ADA Urinal Guidance specifies a maximum of 17-inches from the finished floor to the lip of the urinal. This means that the lip of the urinal can be at any point from the floor to 17-inches, but no higher. It does not need to be 17-inches only. 


      Sloan Urinals

      View our Urinal page to see all of the Sloan urinals available for purchase. 



      ADA Lavatories and Sinks


      Wheelchair accessible sink lavatory


      ADA Lavatory and Sink Requirements:

      • Wheelchair clear floor space directly in front of fixture must be at least 30-inches wide and 48-inches long
      • The clear floor space needed by the sink can go all the way to the wall as long as there is no obstruction
      • Clear floor space underneath the lavatory must be a minimum of 17-inch and a maximum of 25-inches
      • There needs to be at least one station that has 30-inches of clear space from left to right, although many plumbing codes require 30 inches between every station of the sink
      • Lavatory or counter surface must not be higher than 34-inches above the finished floor
      • Fixtures must include knee and toe clearances
      • Exposed pipes must be covered or insulated to prevent injury

      Sloan carries a variety of faucets and lavatory systems where everything is mounted above deck. This makes below deck clearance requirements a nonissue. (For example, AER-DEC Integrated Sink Systems and BASYS faucets). 

      Requirements for exposed pipes and surfaces

      • Water supply and drain pipes under lavatories and sinks must be insulated or covered to protect against direct contact
      • No sharp or abrasive surfaces should be under lavatories and sinks
      • When angle brackets are used for mounting, a cover or element of insulation around the P-trap and water stops must be used
      • These requirements are met most often by including an enclosure (cabinets or shroud)  beneath the sinks


      Sloan Sinks and Lavatories

      View our online collection of Sloan Sinks. Sloan has a variety of custom sinks and lavatories available that can be designed to fit your specific space and requirements. Call us to get a quote or place an order for a Sloan custom lavatory or sink. 



      ADA Faucets, Soap Dispensers, and Hand Dryers


      ADA Faucet, Soap Dispenser and Hand Dryer Requirements

      • Manual faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers must be activated with a maximum of 5-pounds of pressure or less
      • The operating components of manual fixtures cannot be any higher than 48-inches from the floor
      • Sensor-activated fixtures help improve user accessibility, and comply with ADA requirements, making them an ideal option for ADA compliance


      ADA Wall Mounted Hand Dryers


      Suggested mounting heights for ideal performance (from floor to bottom of dryer):

      • Men: 45-inches
      • Women: 43-inches
      • Teenagers: 41-inches
      • Children: 35-inches
      • ADA: Mounting heights for restroom accessories should be not more than 44” to 48” depending on counter depth
        Note: When mounting for any user, ensure that it is mounted below the 48” ADA maximum

      Quantity recommendations:

      • One dryer for every two sink stations is sufficient for most applications
      • For high-traffic applications, one dryer per sink station is suggested

      Optional add-ons for hand dryers:

      • Recess kit for ADA compliance
      • Noise reduction nozzle to reduce the decibel level by 9dB (but increases dry time by approximately 3 seconds)
      • Wall guards to protect walls from splashes

      Sloan Faucets, Soap Dispensers, and Hand Dryers

      View our Sloan Faucets, Soap Dispensers, and Hand Dryers through the links below:



      ADA Mirrors


      ADA Mirror Guidance FAQs


      Q: Can accessible mirrors be above lavatories?
      A: Yes. When accessible mirrors are located above countertops or lavatories, the bottom of the mirror must be no higher than 40-inches (max) above the finished floor. For mirrors not located above lavatories or counters, they must be no higher than 35-inches (max) above the finished floor.

      Q: If a restroom has both a full-length mirror and a mirror above a countertop/lavatory, do both mirrors need to comply with ADA standards?
      A: No. Only one mirror in a toilet room is required to comply. However it is advisable that if multiple different types of mirrors are in a restroom, one of each type complies. 


      ADA Mirrors

      Find ADA Compliant restroom mirrors in our washroom section. 



      ADA Showers

       ADA Shower Requirements


      ADA Shower Guidance FAQs


      Q: What height does the folding bench have to be installed to comply with ADA requirements?
      A: Although the image shows 18-inches, the range is 17-19-inches for the folding bench to adhere to ADA requirements. (This is the same range for ADA toilet heights.)


      Q: What is the length requirement for shower spray hoses?
      A: The minimum length is 59-inches and it must be able to be used as a fixed position shower head and a handheld unit. It must also have an on/off control with a positive shut off. If it is on a vertical bar, the vertical bar must be installed so that it does not obstruct the grab bars, except if you use a fixed shower head located at 48-inches. This exception does not apply to healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities, transient lodging guest rooms or residential dwelling facilities. 


      Zero Threshold Shower Pans

      ADA Zero Threshold Shower Pans

      Shower Pan Thresholds must be bevelled, rounded, or vertical. Drain placement can be in front or back, or on the left or right. Sloan recommends putting that linear drain in the front, as shown in the image above. 

      ADA Showerheads

      Give us a call to learn more and order ADA compliant showerheads, accessories, and repair parts. 



      Additional Resources


      Information for this article is from Sloan’s Commercial Restroom Products and ADA Compliance Webinar. We hope this general overview of some basic and frequently asked questions regarding the installation of fixtures in commercial restroom facilities will help you attain ADA Compliance in your facility’s restroom. Use the links below for more information regarding ADA Compliance for commercial restrooms.