The area around a manually-operated door is required to be kept clear of obstructions, in order to allow a person using a wheelchair, walker, or crutches sufficient space to maneuver when opening the door.  This area is called the maneuvering clearance, and the size of the required clear space can vary depending on whether it is on the push side or pull side of the door, and if the approach to the door is from the front, the latch side, or the hinge side.

The required maneuvering clearance varies slightly between standards; the requirements of the ADA standards are not exactly the same as those included in ICC A117.1.  State and local standards may also vary, so it’s important to refer directly to the applicable set of requirements for a project or facility.

The US Access Board video below illustrates the purpose of maneuvering clearance, and some of the basic accessibility principles that apply to the operation of doors.

These optional resources address specific questions about maneuvering clearance:

If you have not yet downloaded the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, get it from the website and find the section on maneuvering clearances.  Then proceed to the review questions below.


Review Questions

1. In which section of the 2010 ADA standards will you find the maneuvering clearance requirements for manually-operated doors?

  1. 305.7
  2. 404.2.4
  3. 404.3.2
  4. 1002.4.4.2

2. According to the 2010 ADA standards, what are the minimum maneuvering-clearance requirements for a front approach on the pull side of the door?

  1. 60 inches perpendicular to the door, 18 inches beyond the latch side
  2. 48 inches perpendicular to the door, 12 inches beyond the latch side if the door has a closer and latch
  3. 60 inches perpendicular to the door, 36 inches wide
  4. 48 inches perpendicular to the door, 22 inches beyond the latch side

3. What is the maximum recess allowed by the accessibility standards for manually-operated doors, before additional maneuvering clearance is required?

  1. 4 inches
  2. 6 inches
  3. 8 inches
  4. 10 inches

Answers: 1 – B, 2 – A, 3 – C


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