FHA Specification A or Specification B Bathrooms

Residential dwelling units that must meet the design requirements of the Fair Housing Act are referred to as “covered units”.  The ANSI A117.1 Type B dwelling unit is equivalent to a “covered unit”.

All of the bathrooms within a covered unit shall meet the following requirements:

  1. be on an accessible route,
  2. have 32″ nominal clear width doorways (a 34″ door will suffice),
  3. have switches, outlets, and controls in accessible locations,
  4. have reinforcing around toilets, tubs, and showers for the future installation of grab bars.

Powder rooms (toilet rooms without a bathtub or shower) shall comply with all of the above except the reinforcement in the walls is not required.

In addition to these 4 requirements, the bathrooms must comply with the clear floor space requirements of either Specification A or Specification B.   If Spec A is selected, the clear floor spaces apply to all of the bathrooms in the unit and each fixture in those bathrooms.  If Spec B is selected, the clear floor spaces apply to just one bathroom and to just one of each type of fixture in the bathroom.

In both Spec A and Spec B bathrooms, clear floor space is required at the lavatory, water closet, bathtub and a 30″ by 48″ clear floor space must be provided beyond the swing of the door so that the user can enter and close the door.

Spec B bathrooms require a bit more clear floor space and are usually larger than Spec A bathrooms.   The most noticeable difference is that in a Spec B bathroom a parallel approach clear floor space is required at the control end of the bathtub.

If there is only one bathroom in a dwelling unit, it is permissible to use either Spec A or Spec B.

The following pages are taken from the Fair Housing Act Design Manual

Specification A Example: fairch7 36

Specification B Example: fairch7 37

Powder Room Example: fairch7 38

Note that if a powder room is the only toilet facility on the entry level of a covered multi-story unit, it must have reinforcing in the walls and conform to either the Spec A or Spec B requirements.


5 Responses to FHA Specification A or Specification B Bathrooms

  1. […] Now here’s the confusing bit: Type A units only have one set of rules for the bathrooms, but in the Type B Units, you can have either Specification A or Specification B bathrooms.  I’ll explain the difference in a later post. […]

  2. Rick Goves says:

    I am confused. I searched the access board for the new ada and cannot find any reference to a type a or b restroom enclosure. Is this requirement not part of the ada and only part of the IBC or the FHA? Where and what section is the first reference made to these types and specifications in the ada if any, and what publication are they mentioned first. IBC or FHA?

    • jeromymurphy says:

      Type A and Type B refer to the deign of the dwelling unit, not just the bathroom. Scoping requirements for Type A & B units are found in Chapter 11 of the IBC and the technical requirements are found in Chapter 10 of ANSI A117.1. This only applies to multi-family housing. The ADA Standards do not apply to residential facilities (except for those constructed by a public entity) and do not include provisions for Type A & B units.

      Bathrooms within a Type B unit are either Specification A or Specification B. This is part of the FHA and can be found in the FHA Design Manual.

      I hope this helps.

  3. Ron Barkey says:

    I have a question in regard to thresholds for showers for Type A and B units in Section 1003.11.9 (ANSI 117.1 2003 as this is what our city uses for code) it states showers shall comply with Section 608. Referring back to Section 608.7 thresholds can only be 1/2″ max for a transfer type shower.
    Now if you refer to Section 1004. there is no reference to Section 608 so does that mean you can put in a regular 36 x 36 shower as long as future blocking for grab bars is installed?

    • jeromymurphy says:

      You are correct. In a Type B unit, if the shower is the only bathing fixture, it must be 36″ min by 36″ min but is not required to have a low threshold.

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