I originally published the post below in May 0f 2009, but I'm trying to gather some information so I've pulled it up to the front again. Please take a moment to answer the quick survey about lever return in your area. Thanks!Click here to take a quick survey.//
After that last post I think we all need a break. Here's a "fix" from thereIfixedit.com:
A while back, I had a couple of posts about a door that opened less than 90 degrees. I received a photo of the application that inspired the original question, and I think based on the feedback I received from code officials and the fact that the clear opening width is 32 1/4", this application would be acceptable.
Yesterday we jammed as much rainforest into one day as we possibly could. In the morning we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and had a 3-hour hike with our awesome guide / biologist, Eduardo. He knew everything about the plants, birds, and animals of the reserve, and we learned A LOT.
My last post was about the method of measuring the clear opening width of a door that doesn't open to 90 degrees. After reading the codes and the commentaries and having several discussions with someone from the ICC, I posted a graphic of a 32" cylinder passing through the opening, as described by the ICC.
When I started working in the hardware industry, we regularly supplied doors with a 10" x 10" vision lite (type V in the Steelcraft graphic below), which was typically installed approximately 63" from the center of the lite to the floor. This configuration would no longer be acceptable according to some current accessibility standards. The 2003 edition of ICC/ANSI A117.1 states that if a door has a vision lite or an adjacent sidelite which permits viewing, at least one lite in the door or the sidelite has to be located with its bottom edge not more than 43" above the floor. There is an exception for lites with their bottom edge more than 66" above the floor, which would apply to transom lites or residential entry doors with lites at the top.
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.
Here's a great list of accessibility code requirements and contacts by state. It lists the accessibility code or standard for each state, as well as the contact information for the state agency that oversees the accessibility requirements. The list was compiled by the United States Access Board, an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. There's a wealth of other information on their website, so check it out!
Back in the 80's, there was a lot of confusion about how to measure the clear opening width of doors. The codes and standards weren't clear, so on doors with panic devices the fire marshals were looking for 32" between the panic device and the stop on the strike jamb. As each code and standard was revised to include information clarifying this requirement, I would periodically call the State Fire Marshal's office in the state where we most often had the problem. They stopped taking my calls but they eventually changed the way they measured clear opening width.
The ADAAG Manual was created by the Access Board of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board as companion information to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). It explains and clarifies many of the requirements of the ADAAG, and gives insight on the intent of the requirements. I recently found a downloadable version available online. You can download it here by clicking on the link at the top that says "ERIC Full Text".
Almost every week someone asks me about the clearance behind door pulls. Many manufacturers' catalogs show certain pulls with a symbol indicating that they are accessible, and other pulls without the symbol. About 10 years ago I called the Department of Justice (ADA), the International Code Council (CABO back then), and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (521 CMR) to get the real scoop. All 3 agencies told me that there was no specific dimension required for clearance behind a door pull. I was recently asked this question about a cabinet pull, so I made all 3 calls again to make sure I wasn't missing something. I was again told that you need to be able to slide a flat hand behind the door pull, and to open the door without gripping the pull. During both research projects I asked about a closed fist and was told that the clearance was not required to be large enough for a closed fist.
Personally, I think architects like pocket doors way too much but that's the cool thing about a blog...I get to tell everyone what I think. ;-) If you decide to use a pocket door on an opening that is required to be accessible, here's what you need to know:
Remember him? I guess I'm dating myself if I admit that I do since he made his debut in the mid- to late-80's, right around the time that Bill Lawliss, John Gant, and I all graduated with degrees in Architecture from Vermont Technical College. Just think where we could be now if we took those drafting jobs we were offered instead of choosing the glamorous field of door hardware.
News from the Access Board regarding the updated ADA Accessibility Guidelines which were originally published in 2004, revised in 2005, and published for public comment in 2007:
The 2007 edition of ANSI/BHMA A156.19 - American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors requires low energy operators to be initiated by a "knowing act", which is described as "consciously initiating the powered opening of a low-energy door using acceptable methods, including: wall- or jamb-mounted contact switches such as push plates; fixed non-contact switches; the action of manual opening (pushing or pulling) a door; and controlled access devices such as keypads, card readers, and key switches."
Door opening force is the measurement of how many pounds of force are required to open a door. The requirements for door opening force are found in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board requirements (521 CMR).
Tactile warning is an abrasive or knurled strip on a lever handle to indicate that the door leads to a hazardous area such as a boiler room, mechanical room, or loading dock. This requirement is no longer included in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) or in ICC/ANSI A117.1, but it is a requirement of the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (521 CMR):