Architectural Record BE - Building Enclosure

A Practical Guide to 2010 ADA-Compliant Restroom Design

This course is no longer active
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Sponsored by The ASI Group
Jeanette Fitzgerald Pitts
Continuing Education

Learning Objectives - After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explore the reasons accessible design is important in professional practice.
  2. Explain the latest changes in accessibility requirements as they apply to restroom design.
  3. Address key considerations for creating compliant restrooms.
  4. Select restroom equipment that is compliant with the latest ADA accessibility standards.



The rules defining acceptable accessible design have recently changed, forcing many in the design community, from seasoned and senior architects to junior associates and other design professionals, to take a closer look at the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. On March 15, 2012, the revised regulation, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, also referred to as the 2010 ADA Standard, became the new, legally enforceable requirement for ensuring a space is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

This new standard has even broader reach than its 1991 predecessor, applying to newly designed and constructed or altered state and local government facilities, public accommodations, commercial facilities, recreational facilities, detention facilities, courthouses and more, and includes a number of significant and material changes to the existing accessibility requirements. “The new ADA standard has been changed just slightly enough that even experienced design veterans, if they're not paying attention, can make mistakes,” says Judy Girod, FASID, CID, director of interior design at Lothrop Associates in New York.

Restrooms are one of the room types where there are a considerable number of ADA stipulations to satisfy and where many of the newly revamped regulations apply. The 2010 ADA Standard stipulates that “where toilet rooms are provided, each toilet room shall comply…” so, generally speaking, any restroom designed in a local or state government building, public accommodation, commercial facility, recreational facility, detention facility, courthouse, etc. is required, by law, to be in compliance with the ADA. The requisite mix of toilet compartments, necessary clear floor space, turning space, door placement and fixture mounting height are just a few of design elements that are addressed and regulated in the ADA Standard.


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Originally published in Architectural Record