This post was printed in the April 2012 issue of Doors & Hardware
The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (available for download at www.ada.gov) officially went into effect on March 15, 2012. The requirement for a 10-inch-high flush bottom rail on manual doors is now included in the ADA standards. Previously, it was not included in the ADA standards but was a requirement of ICC A117.1, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. These standards are applicable to doors that are required to be accessible.
The text of both standards is very similar, except that the ADA addresses existing doors. Here is the section from the ADA standards:
404.2.10 Door and Gate Surfaces. Swinging door and gate surfaces within 10 inches (255 mm) of the finish floor or ground measured vertically shall have a smooth surface on the push side extending the full width of the door or gate. Parts creating horizontal or vertical joints in these surfaces shall be within 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) of the same plane as the other. Cavities created by added kick plates shall be capped.
1. Sliding doors shall not be required to comply with 404.2.10.
2. Tempered glass doors without stiles and having a bottom rail or shoe with the top leading edge tapered at 60 degrees minimum from the horizontal shall not be required to meet the 10 inch (255 mm) bottom smooth surface height requirement.
3. Doors and gates that do not extend to within 10 inches (255 mm) of the finish floor or ground shall not be required to comply with 404.2.10.
4. Existing doors and gates without smooth surfaces within 10 inches (255 mm) of the finish floor or ground shall not be required to provide smooth surfaces complying with 404.2.10 provided that if added kick plates are installed, cavities created by such kick plates are capped.
This requirement appears in the “Manual Doors” section of both publications, so it does not apply to automatic doors. The purpose is to avoid creating a projection that could catch a cane, crutch, walker, or wheelchair and inhibit passage through the door opening, so the requirement applies to the push side of the door only. The 10-inch measurement is taken from the floor or ground to the top of the horizontal bottom rail, extending the full width of the door. Prior to the 2003 edition of A117.1, the required dimension was 12 inches, versus the 10 inches required by today’s standards.
The 10-inch-high space must have a smooth surface, so bottom rods and latches of surface-mounted vertical exit devices, kick-down and plunger holders, surface bolts, automatic door bottoms, and full-height door pulls would not meet the intent of this requirement. This also affects the door’s bottom rail, the top of which must be at least 10 inches above the floor. If kick plates are added to create a wider bottom rail, the space between the top of the kick plate and the glass must be capped, and the joints between surfaces are limited to a 1/16-inch variation in plane.
Tempered glass doors with no vertical stiles and a tapered bottom rail do not have to meet the requirement for a 10” bottom rail, although they are still subject to the prohibition on projections. Sliding doors and doors that do not extend to within 10 inches of the floor are exempt from the flush bottom rail requirement. As outlined in the ADA, existing doors are not required to provide the 10-inch smooth surface, but if kick plates are added to widen the bottom rail, the gap between the top of the plate and the glass must be capped. This is not addressed by A117.1, which is typically used for new applications as referenced by the International Building Code.
Now that the standards are consistent, expect to see increased awareness and enforcement of this requirement. And if the wider bottom rail results in a wider top rail and stiles, you won’t hear me complaining!
This post was originally created on March 20, 2009, and was updated to include the 2010 ADA standards and printed in the April 2012 issue of Doors & Hardware magazine.