In light of it being 2 years since my sister was diagnosed with MS and now needs access help, we’re going to talk about the ADA and what it means for businesses. First, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law in the United States that prohibits discrimination based on disability. This includes requirements for accessible design and accommodations to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to public spaces, including buildings. While this doesn’t always happen for a variety of reasons, that is what businesses are supposed to do.
When it comes to doors, the ADA sets specific guidelines to ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities. Here are a few key points to consider:
- Door Width: ADA-compliant doors must have a minimum clear width of 32 inches when the door is open at a 90-degree angle. For double doors, at least one of the doors must meet this width requirement. This allows wheelchairs, people with crutches, and even simply strollers to make it through the doors. Most doors also have locking door closers so it is easier to keep the doors open for people to get in, which is a cool feature, but isn’t required federally.
- Opening Force: The maximum force required to open a door should not exceed 5 pounds. This is to make it easier for people with limited strength or mobility to open doors. This can be difficult to manage at times, but it is a requirement. It also requires frequent adjustment in areas with a fairly wide temperature humidity range…. So, yes, you should adjust after the Hurriquake!
- Closing Speed: Door closers should have adjustable closing speeds to ensure that doors close slowly enough to allow individuals with disabilities enough time to pass through. A good rule of thumb for this is around 7-9 seconds for the door to close… No, not with little kid counting seconds!
- Hardware: Door hardware, such as handles and locks, should be easy to operate without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. This is called one-step egress, and is also part of California’s fire code to prevent entrapments. Lever-style handles are generally preferred over round knobs.
- Thresholds: Door thresholds should be no more than 1/2 inch high. Higher thresholds can be difficult for people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. We promise, wheelchairs don’t need speedbumps!
- Clear Floor Space: There should be enough clear floor space in front of the door to accommodate a person using a wheelchair or other mobility device. Nobody wants to get stuck trying to get into the bank, or to get dinner.
- Automatic Doors: Automatic doors are often the best solution for ensuring accessibility. They can be operated by a variety of means, including push buttons, motion sensors, or proximity sensors. These do require maintenance to make sure they work properly, though.
It’s important to keep in mind that while the ADA is a set of federal guidelines, states like California can have additional regulations or standards that buildings must meet to ensure accessibility. These standards might be more stringent than the federal requirements, so make sure to consult the California Building Code and local accessibility guidelines when designing or renovating buildings, especially when it comes to ADA-compliant (and Fire Code compliant) doors.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on ADA compliance in California, check out the California Division of the State Architect (DSA) website at https://www.dgs.ca.gov/DSA or contacting them directly, as they oversee accessibility regulations and guidelines for the state.
Katz Locksmith is a full-service company that specializes in commercial locksmith work. We are family and woman-owned, and we’re committed to providing great service! We service businesses in areas such as Eastvale, Claremont, Corona, Fontana, Glendora, Montclair, Ontario, Rialto, San Bernardino, Upland, and more! We go into mountain area such as Mt. Baldy, Crestline, and Big Bear. For additional information or booking a service call us @ (909) 942-0282.