This is a great Quick Question, and I got some help from the U.S. Access Board with the answer:

When there is a pair of doors or a bank of doors, do ALL leaves have to meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Some of you may remember the photo in this post, which was sent to me by Aaren Kimes of Allegion.  I shared it in a previous Fixed-it Friday post, regarding the location of the actuator.

One question that came up was whether automating one leaf of the pair made the opening compliant with the accessibility standards, even though the bottom rails do not have the 10-inch flush, smooth surface that is required on the push side of manual doors.  Because the 10-inch bottom rail is not required for automatic doors, does automating one door mean that the other door can stay as-is?

According to the US Access Board, only one leaf of the pair or bank of doors needs to be fully accessible in order to comply with the ADA.  This is based on the requirements of Section 206 – Accessible Routes.  The section includes requirements for entrances, and another section for doors, doorways, and gates, which answers the question:

206.5.1 Entrances – Each entrance to a building or facility required to comply with 206.4 shall have at least one door, doorway, or gate complying with 404.

206.5.2 Rooms and Spaces – Within a building or facility, at least one door, doorway, or gate serving each room or space complying with these requirements shall comply with 404.

Based on this section, it’s acceptable to have one leaf that is compliant with the ADA standards, and the other doors are not required to comply.  Note that the adopted building code or fire code will likely include requirements that apply to ALL door leaves required for egress or provided for egress purposes.  However, the requirement for a 10-inch flush, smooth, surface is not a requirement of the model codes – it is only found in the accessibility standards.

Make sense?  Any questions?

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