Problems with the 2010 ADA Standards (and 2012 TAS)

July 18, 2012

There are two things that really bug me about the new Standards.

Firstly, this issue with 50% storage in kitchens. See my earlier post. This rule was not written by someone familiar with designing kitchens. Just take a look at the recent Access-Board webinar¬†on kitchens where in one slide they show upper cabinets dimensioned 48″ to the bottom shelf, but somehow still fit a microwave under that upper cabinet. The elevation is unrealistic and so is the rule.

Secondly, under the old Standards we had an exception for maneuvering clearance at doors that were automatic or power-assisted (1991 ADA Standards 4.13.6). The new Standards allow the maneuvering clearance exception only at doors that are automatic. Here in Texas, and probably elsewhere, the interpretation is that an automatic door does not require any interaction so push-button operators are out. The problem with this is that often push-button operators were installed at existing restroom doors where tight spaces didn’t allow the provision of complying maneuvering clearance. Now, I guess that door will need to be automatic and will just swing open anytime someone passes by. I don’t think that is very practical.

Away from any State or local authority you can always argue compliance to the “maximum extent feasible” and stick with the push-button, but in Texas the words “maximum extent feasible” equate to “rejected variance application”.

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