ADA Compliance Requirements For Grab Bars

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This blog will cover the standards that have been set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) towards the installation and use of grab bars within the toileting (water closet), bathing (bathtubs) and showering area (shower closets).

 

What are Grab Bars?

Grab bars are a daily living aid or an independent living aid that can be fitted to the wall in strategic locations to ensure that people using a space have something to grip onto for supporting their body weight.

Most commonly found in bathrooms near toilets (water closets) to provide support to users when they are sitting and rising from a toilet seat, in showering areas to provide support while standing for elongated periods of time and in bathing areas to provide support to disabled users for getting in and out of a bathtub and to lower and raise their body when inside the bathtub.

What is ADA Compliance?

The abbreviation ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a civil rights law put in place to prohibit discrimination against people living with disabilities, particularly in public spaces such as workplaces, schools, transport, and basically anywhere that the general public has access to.

This means that all businesses need to have daily living aids that are compliant with the standards prescribed by the ADA.

Grab bars specifically have their own general set of compliance standards, these include:

  • The placement of the grab bar i.e. horizontal or vertical: This depends on where the grab bar is being installed, the bathtub, showering area or the toilet. More information on this below.
  • The diameter or thickness of the grab bar: The approved diameter for a circular grab bar ranges between 1-1/4 (32mm) to 2 inches (51mm).
  • The spacing between the grab bar and the wall: A space of at least 1-1/2 (38 mm).must be left between the wall and the grab bar to ensure that all users can easily grab the bar.
  • The spacing between the grab bar and projecting objects below and above: The space between the grab bar and projecting objects below and at the ends shall be 1 1/2 inches (38 mm) minimum. The space between the grab bar and projecting objects above shall be 12 inches (305 mm) minimum.
  • The weight-bearing capacity of a grab bar: In public spaces, in particular, to be ADA compliant, the grab bar that is to be installed must be able to hold 250 lbs or 114 kgs (approximately).
  • The length of a grab bar: The standards prescribed by ADA require minimum lengths vary based on the location of the grab bar within the bathroom. More information on this below.
  • The height of a grab bar: The height of the grab bar refers to the distance between the floor and the grab bar itself. Once again, ADA has specified different heights based on the location of installation. We will discuss this in detail below.

 

ADA Requirements For Installing Grab Bars near a Toilet or a Water Closet

There are many measurements and factors that need to be considered when installing a grab bar near a toilet or water closet. Of course, it is always best to have a professional install these aids, as they will be aware of what is ADA compliant and what isn’t. However, there are general rules that should be followed, as below:

  • The number of grab bars installed: In public spaces, there must be 2 grab bars installed. One running alongside the nearest wall (sidewall) to the toilet, and one behind the toilet.
  • The length of the grab bar: The bar that runs alongside (sidewall) the toilet must be at least 42 inches (1065 mm) in length and must begin at maximum 12 inches (305 mm) away from the rear wall extending 54 inches (1370 mm) minimum from the rear wall. The bar that is to be installed behind (rear wall) the toilet on the rear wall must be at least 36 inches (915 mm) in length – must be installed considering the centreline of the toilet 12 inches (305 mm) minimum on one side and 24 inches (610 mm) minimum on the other side. The rear wall grab bar shall be 36 inches (915mm) long minimum and extend from the centerline of the water closet 12 inches (305 mm) minimum on one side and 24 inches (610 mm) minimum on the other side.
  • The height of the grab bar: Both of these grab bars must be at 33 (840 mm) – 36 (915 mm) inches above the finished flooring of the water closet.
  • The diameter of the grab bar: The diameter of the grab bar should be 1-1/4 (32mm) to 2 inches (51mm).
  • The space between the grab bar and the wall: There should be a space or gap of at least 1-1/2 inches (38 mm) between the wall and the grab bar.
  • The weight-bearing capacity of a grab bar: In public spaces, in particular, to be ADA compliant, the grab bar that is to be installed must be able to hold 250 lbs (114kgs) approximately.

 

ADA Requirements For Installing Grab Bars at Shower Stalls

There are two different types of showers stalls, these include, a transfer stall and roll-in stall. Transfer showers are designed to support a user who can stand to transfer in and out of a shower stall. A roll-in shower allows for users who are wheelchair-bound to remain in their chair which creates a safer environment for them. 

ADA Requirements for transfer (stall) showers:

  • The shape of the grab bar: An L-shaped grab bar on the control wall (where faucets are installed. Two straight grab bars can be used as well as long as they are installed close together at the end in order to form an L-shape.
  • Placement of the grab bar: The grab bar should cover the full depth of the control wall and half-way along the back wall to a point 18 inches (455 mm) from the control wall.
  • Height of the grab bar: The grab bar shall be mounted between 33 (840 mm) to 36 inches (915mm) above the shower floor.
  • The diameter of the grab bar: The diameter of the grab bar should be 1-1/4 (32mm) to 2 inches (51mm).
  • The space between the grab bar and the wall: There should be a space or gap of at least 1-1/2 inches (38mm) between the wall and the grab bar.
  • The weight-bearing capacity of a grab bar: In public spaces, in particular, to be ADA compliant, the grab bar that is to be installed must be able to hold 250 lbs (114 kg).

 

ADA Requirements for standard roll-in (stall) shower:

  • Positioning of the grab bar: Where a seat is provided within a standard roll-in shower, there should be 2 grab bars provided. One on the back wall and the other on the sidewall (opposite the seat). There should be no grab bar above the seat. Where a seat is not provided in a standard roll-in shower, presence of a U shaped grab bar that wraps around the stall (across the 3 walls). This can also be constructed by placing 3 different grab bars closely together. For both of the above, grab bars should be installed 6 inches (150 mm) maximum from adjacent walls.
  • Height of the grab bar: The grab bar shall be mounted between 33 (839mm) to 36 inches (915mm) above the shower floor.
  • The diameter of the grab bar: The diameter of the grab bar should be 1 1/4 inches (32 mm) minimum and 2 inches (51 mm) maximum.
  • The space between the grab bar and the wall: There should be a space or gap of at least 1-1/2 inches (38mm) between the wall and the grab bar.
  • The weight-bearing capacity of a grab bar: In public spaces, in particular, to be ADA compliant, the grab bar that is to be installed must be able to hold 250 lbs (114 kg).

 

ADA Requirements for alternate roll-in (stall) shower:

  • The positioning of the grab bar: Where multiple grab bars are used, required horizontal grab bars shall be installed at the same height above the finish floor. Other grab bar requirements (diameter, spacing, height and weight-bearing) as mentioned above apply.

 

ADA Requirements For Installing Grab Bars at Bathtubs

The requirements for grab bars used in bathtubs varies based on whether there is a permanent bath seat available or not. Below are the appropriate ADA requirements for each type.

ADA Requirements for bathtubs with a permanent bath seat:

  • Location of the grab bars: ADA guidelines specify the presence of a total of 3 grab bars installed within bathtubs.
  • Grab bars on the back wall: There should be 2 grab bars that are located on the back wall (opposite side of the entrance of the bathtub). These should be installed parallel to one another on the same wall. Each grab bar shall be installed 15 inches (380 mm) maximum from the head end wall and 12 inches (305 mm) maximum from the control end wall.
  • Grab bar on the control wall: Another grab bar needs to be installed at the control wall closer to the front edge of the bathtub.
  • The shape of the grab bars: The grab bars should be straight and installed horizontally.
  • Height of the grab bars on the back wall: The first grab bars should be at a minimum height of 8 inches (203 mm) and a maximum 10 inches (254 mm) above the rim of the bathtub. And the second grab bar should be installed parallel to the first grab bar at a distance of 33 (838 mm) and 36 inches (915 mm) above the height of the floor.
  • Width of the grab bars on the control wall: The grab bars installed on the control wall should be at least 24 inches (610mm) long.

 

ADA Requirements for bathtubs without permanent bath seat:

  • Location of the grab bars: ADA guidelines specify the presence of a total of 4 grab bars installed within bathtubs. 2 on the back wall, 1 on the control end and 1 on the head end of the tub.
  • Grab bars on the back wall: There should be 2 grab bars that are located on the back wall (opposite side of the entrance of the bathtub). These should be installed parallel to one another on the same wall. Each grab bar shall be installed 24 inches (380 mm) maximum from the head end wall and 12 inches (305 mm) maximum from the control end wall.
  • Height of the grab bars on the back wall: There should be a distance of 8 inches (203 mm) minimum and 10 inches (255 mm) maximum above the rim of the bathtub.
  • Length of the grab bars on the back wall: Each grab bar on the back wall should be at least 24 inches (610 mm) long.
  • Grab bar on the control wall: Another grab bar needs to be installed at the control wall closer to the front edge of the bathtub. Length of the grab bars on the control wall: This grab bar should be at least 24 inches (610 mm) long.
  • Grab bar on the head-end wall: A single grab bar must be present on the head end wall, closer to the front edge of the bathtub. The minimum length as recommended by ADA is 12 inches (305 mm) for this grab bar.

 

About Us

evekare is an Australian manufacturer of daily living aids including grab bars and other bath and toilet aids. We have one of the largest, most stylish and innovative range of grab bars that you can find from a single grab bar manufacturer.

View Our Range of ADA Compliant Grab Bars

 

Final Words

The above-mentioned ADA guidelines for installation or use of grab bars have been put together while referencing the official ADA website on the date this blog was published.

These guidelines may change from time to time and we recommend that you refer to the ADA website directly for obtaining this information or contact a certified installer or an independent living consultant.

We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information provided above and cannot be held liable in any form or manner.

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