Volume V Number 11 December 2010
The 2010 Standards of Accessible Design Section 305.3 describes the clear floor area for rooms, including storage rooms, as being a minimum of 30"x48". This is the amount of space required by a wheelchair. In storage closets it is important to have not only the minimum requirements, but if they are full entry closets, then the ability to turn around and exit the closet will also be required. Many times, storage closets are designed narrow and deep, which becomes problematic if the person in the wheelchair is able to fully enter the space and not get back out.
|Shallow vs. Full entry closets|
There are two types of closets: one is a "shallow closet" space which is shallower than the 48" x 30" required by a wheelchair and therefore does not allow full entry. A closet that is deeper than 48" would allow full entry by a person in a wheelchair.
In storage facilities (i.e. closets) that allow full entry, a 5'-0" turning space is required so that once in they can turn around and get out without risk of getting stuck. What if you don't have the five feet? Then you can make the deep closet act like shallow closets. Here are some examples:
If you have a wide closet that is 48" wide and 48" deep, but no 5'-0" space, try adding shelving to the back to make the space less than 48" and therefore does not allow for full entry.
Deep Closet and no turning space
Shelf makes it a shallow closet
If you have a closet that is narrow , like 36" wide, but deeper than 48", and already has shelving in the back, one solution is to swing the door in so that there is no risk in getting trapped inside by the door closing and not being able to turn around to exit after the door is closed.
Deep closet with out swinging door
Deep closet with in swinging door