Honestly, I do NOT have a bathroom obsession. It’s just a coincidence that once again, a code question came up regarding a bathroom door.
You know how sometimes you just know something, and then someone questions you and then you start to question yourself? That’s what happened yesterday. I was creating some hardware sets for a small restaurant project, and I pointed out to the architect that the 2′-8″ wide doors on the single bathrooms weren’t wide enough. I didn’t stop to consider whether I was right or not…I just told him that he needed wider doors.
When he said that he thought they could be 2′-8″ wide because the bathrooms weren’t considered “occupiable space,” I started to wonder if there was an exception I didn’t know about. It made sense…doors to toilet stalls don’t have to provide 32″ clear…why should small individual bathrooms be any different, especially since there was a designated accessible bathroom with a 3′ wide door?
We called in an expert – the code consultant. They are an extremely valuable source of information and if nothing else, you can get them to make the tough decisions. The code consultant for this project confirmed that the bathroom doors needed to provide 32″ clear opening width, even though the bathrooms were very small.
Speaking of small bathrooms, I took this photo in Maine last summer, in a bathroom that has to be the smallest commercial (non-airplane) bathroom I’ve ever been in – only about 12 square feet. As you can tell, my kid thought it was really funny that I was taking a picture of the bathroom, and she still asks me why I did it whenever we go to this restaurant. I knew it would come in handy someday.
The moral of the story…even small bathrooms need big doors. For more information about clear opening width, refer to this post.