Volume VI  Number 6                        June  2011

Mies van de Rohe said "G-d is in the Details", but people who deal with codes and regulations agree that "the devil is in the details" because if you miss one it could get you in trouble.


In the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (The 2010 Standards), there are a few places where the details could be missed.  In this edition I will list a few of those details that you should be aware of.

Handrails vs. Grab Bars

Chapter 5 of the 2010 Standards explains the requirements for handrails at stairs, ramps, and walk ways.


At handrails, the distance allowed from the mounting surface to the edge of the handrail is 1 " minimum . This is different from the 1991 Guidelines which allowed

1 " only.






However the dimension only applies to handrails at a ramp or stair. At restroom grab bars, Section 609.3 Grab Bar Spacing of the 2010 Standards (p. 293 of the ADA Companion Guide) states that the space between the wall and grab bar shall be 1 " (no range allowed).  Thus, it is 1 1/2" only.


At ramps, a 12" horizontal extension of handrails at top and bottom is required if the handrails are not continuous. This extension should be horizontal and parallel to the path of travel.



However, at a stair, a 12" extension at the bottom of the stair is required, but not horizontally.  The extension on the top of the stair has to extend horizontally and parallel with the path of travel.

top of stair

bottom of stair


In This Issue
Handrails v. Grab Bars
Celar Widths
Overlapping clear floor space
Quick Links

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Clear Widths

An accessible route must be 36" wide minimum.  Door widths must be 32" min.


Therefore, doorways along the accessible route can reduce the accessible route width to 32" min.  A doorway can be a cased opening along the route, and the width can be decreased to 32" for a length of 24".

 acessible route


But even at doorways, the width can be reduced even further by 4" more to allow for hardware to project into the width if the door hardware is mounted below 34" a.f.f.  So at the panic hardware, the clear width could be as narrow as 28".


Even though an accessible route should be 36" min., at a restroom the accessible route to reach the accessible toilet compartments is increased to 42" wide.

  tlt compartment

 access to wc



Overlaping clear floor space

In the 2010 Standards, it is more clear that a door swing can overlap the turning space in a room.

304.4 Door Swing. Door shall be permitted to swing into turning spaces

dressing room 

By the same token, door swings cannot overlap clear floor space of any fixtures or dressing rooms. 

603.2.3 Door Swing. Doors shall not swing into the clear floor space or clearance required for any fixture. Doors shall be permitted to swing into the required turning space.

This is true because if a person is using a fixture like a lavatory for example, and a door swings into the clear floor space while they are using it, they will get hit. 

There is an exception that in a single user restroom or dressing room, the door can swing in if there is a 30"x48" space beyond the swing of the door.


In restrooms, a 60"x 56" clear floor space is required at water closets.  But if you think about it, the floor space is not exactly "clear" because there is a toilet in the way. 



So the 2010 Standards understood that , allows an overlap of the clear floor space with the water closet, shelving, toilet paper dispensers, grab bars and other elements that are needed in the restroom.







 What's next....

TDLR posted a draft of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards.  It is open for public comment at their website.


Remember that March 15, 2011 is when the new Standards became effective in the Federal level.  They will be mandatory on March 15, 2012. And each State will adopt it or not at their discretion.


If you want to learn more about the new Standards, The ADA Companion Guide has the 2004 Guidelines with commentary and explanations throughout.

Upcoming CEU opportunities:

June 15, 2011  AIA Dallas Procrastinator's Day 


August 12 METROCON11 "Understanding the 2010 Standards"


 If you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact me anytime.  

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714