Today’s Quick Question may seem ultra-specific, but a) it’s a real question that someone sent to me, and b) the answer highlights a couple of important resources.

Are there limitations in the accessibility standards regarding the location of a card reader in relation to the door it is controlling?

In the floor plan (right –>) you can see that the card reader in question is intended to be centered 8 inches away from the door, on the perpendicular wall on the hinge side.  Common sense tells me that a card reader in this location could be difficult to reach for someone who is using a wheelchair.  It’s possible that with the door closed, the person would not be able to get close enough to use the reader.  But what do the accessibility standards say?

It turns out that the standards don’t specifically address this application.  So I turned to the first resource that I want to mention…the US Access Board.  Did you know that you can ask the Access Board a question?  In the past, I have tried using the ADA Information Line, but my questions are usually so technical that it can be difficult or impossible to get a definitive answer.  Over the last year or so I have been sending questions to the US Access Board’s technical assistance email address, and I have received fast and accurate responses!

With regard to today’s quick question, the representative from the US Access Board pointed me to the other resource that I’m going to share – the Guide to the ABA Accessibility Standards – available online.  I have written about this guide before – here is the link to my post about Chapter 4.  The great thing about the guide is that there is extra information that helps to explain the intent of the accessibility requirements, along with really helpful illustrations.

The response from the US Access Board representative confirmed that my intuition was correct.  He recommended locating the card reader further away from the door, or on the latch side wall; the reader must have the clear floor space required for operable parts.  The reason the answer to today’s question is not crystal-clear in the standards is because although it’s advisable to center the operable part within the clear floor space, it is not specifically required (except at washers and dryers).  The online guide contains the graphic below, which clearly illustrates the potential problem.  The guide also contains link icons in each section – this allows you to link directly to the applicable section of the guide (for example, here’s the link to the section addressing side reach radius).

Bottom line…it’s best to move the card reader to a more accessible location.

Clear floor space images: US Access Board Guide to the ABA Accessibility Standards.

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