Side Wall Grab Bar at Water Closet where Insufficient Wall Space is Provided

ACCESS has seen accessible bathrooms where the side wall of the water closet has a door opening preventing the installation of a 42 inch long grab bar projecting 54 inches off of the back wall.

The jurisdiction is ADAAG Sections 604.5.1 and 103.

Chapter 6 plumbing elements and facilities.

604 Water Closets and Toilet Compartments.

604.5 Grab Bars.

604.5.1 Side Wall.

“The side wall grab bar shall be 42 inches long minimum, located 12 inches maximum from the rear wall and extending 54 inches minimum from the rear wall.”

There is a requirement in ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003, Section 604.5.1 for a vertical grab bar at the side wall.  In the opinion of ACCESS, using Section 103 Equivalent Facilitation (see below), and the analysis of ANSI Figure C604.3.1(b) regarding the elements of a front or diagonal transfer, the addition of the vertical grab bar in conjunction with the horizontal grab bar on the side wall results in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability of the water closet.  ACCESS suggests using a 60 inch long grab bar with a 90º bend at 36 inches; set that bar so the 24 inch vertical part is 40 inches to the centerline of the 24 inches off the back wall.

Chapter 1 Application and administration.

103 Equivalent Facilitation.

“Nothing in these guidelines prevents the use of designs, products, or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed, provided they result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.”

The above are opinions of Hank Falstad, AIA, Managing Senior Associate of Access Technologies Services, Inc. (ACCESS).  See our web site for additional information:

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