Heights and Lenghts                            June 2008
Guidelines for lengths and heights of accessible elements are prominent in TAS.  But what happens when the wording is not clear about how tall or how wide things should be? Check out the following examples.
Heights at Accessible Counters


Per TAS 4.32.4 Heights of Tables and Counters
"The tops of accessible tables and counters shall be from 28" to 34" above finish floor or ground."
This means that all accessible counters regardless of whether they have a sink or lavatory in it must be 34" high.  But in actuality, TDLR will allow for a 36" wide portion of the counter that has a plumbing fixture to be at 34" and the rest of the counters can be 36" tall.  In other words, if you need the counter to be taller than 34" because you might be installing a dishwasher or ice maker that only fits under a 36" counter, you are allowed to have that.

This is an unwritten rule with TDLR.  Also keep in mind that it is only interpreted this way in Texas.  ADA does not give this concession.
This photo shows that the sink counter is at the 34" height, and the adjacent one's are at 36" high.  This photo does not show the required knee space at the sink.  I chose it just to show the counter heights.

In This Issue
Heights of Accessible Counters
Length of Ramps
Handrail Extensions
Inspector's corner
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Length and widths of Ramps
Ready for tricky math? 
Fig. 16 of TAS section 4.8 Ramps (shown below), shows how long a ramp must be between landings.  Also 4.8.3 tells you that a ramp that is 30ft or more shall be 44" wide. 
So if I have a 1:12 ramp and it is 30' long, and I have a landing, and then I continue up to another ramp that is 10' long, do I now have two ramps that can be 36" wide each because they are less than 30 ft. long, or is it considered on long ramp interrupted by landings and has to be 44" wide?
The answer is: A ramp run with a middle landing with another ramp run = one ramp. Therefore if the total length of the ramp (including the landing) is over 30', then the width shall be 44" wide.          
Fig 16
Handrail Extensions
TAS 4.8.5(2) states " If handrails are not continuous, they shall extend at least 12" beyond the top and bottom of the ramp segment and shall be parallel with the floor or ground surface."
When it occurs in a walkway within a path of travel, and the extension may become a hazard, there is a tendency to want to turn the extended handrail 90 degress in the direction of travel.
TDLR's ruling on this is that a ramp's handrails must extend horizontally for 12 inches minimum beyond the top and bottom of the ramp segment to comply with Texas Accessibility Standard (TAS) 4.8.5. This requirement is consistent with federal (ADA) requirements.

It is important to note that the purpose for the handrail extensions is so
that a person can steady him/herself before walking on the sloped surface.

It is unacceptable, therefore, to turn the handrail 90 degrees (or any
angle) before it has extended 12" horizontally beyond the top and bottom of the ramp.

Please note handrails do not violate the protruding object requirements of  TAS 4.4 when the leading edge is at or below 27" which is achieved through the design of the handrail. See the example provided in TAS 4.8.5, Figure 17.        

 Fig 17

Inspector's Corner

The length of a roll in shower should be 60" min.  What if a fixed seat or even a built-in bench is provided inside the shower?  The bench in this example is shortening the length of the shower, so it no longer is the required 60" minimum.  Therefore if you will provide a fixed seat, make sure you provide it beyond the 60" required length.roll in shower


If you have any questions on these or any other topics relating to accessibilty, feel free to contact me anytime.
Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714