Door Maneuvering Clearances

Posted on - Wednesday, August 1st, 2018


In order for a person with disabilities to enter a building on their own, there needs to be enough room for them to get through the door and into the spaces.  This newsletter will explain what the requirements are for doors so that a person can easily open the door and go through it.
What types of doors need to comply?
In the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design the only doors that require compliance with doors that people will pass through:
ADA Section 404.2 Manual Doors, Doorways, and Manual Gates. Manual doors and doorways and manual gates intended for user passage shall comply with 404.2.
 That means that if a door is located in a shallow closet, for example, that door is not technically intended for a person to pass through and therefore it does not have to comply


Why do we need so much room in front of the door?
The amount of maneuvering clearances at the door depends on the approach to the door.  Section 404 shows you the different ways that a person could approach the door and gives you guidance for the amount of clearance a person will need to reach for the door handle, open the door and go through.
The most well-known requirements are the forward approach pull and push.
But why do we need so much room?  The rectangle shown in the figure provides the proper amount of space for a person with disabilities to reach the door handle, open the door and go through. Below are four images depicting the amount of space required for a forward approach pull side maneuvering of the door.
Interestingly enough, a door might be located in a thicker wall, or an object might be located on the same wall as the maneuvering clearance.  As long as the object is no more than 8” deep, or as long as the door is not located more than 8” from the face of the wall, it will be compliant for maneuvering for forward approach pull or push side.  Below are some examples:

This door is located in a recess that is less than 8” deep. The 18” on the pull side maneuvering can include the wall that is in front of the door.

This door has a paper towel dispenser next to the 18” maneuvering clearance at the latch side of the door

Since the paper towel dispenser is less than 8” deep, it can be part of the maneuvering clearance

But there are other ways one can approach the door, and the requirements for the amount of maneuvering clearance will change.  The table in section 404 shows the different approaches and the amount of space required for each.
The US Access Board created instructional videos to explain the standards. Here is the one about maneuvering clearances
Other types of doors
The requirements for doors also applies to toilet compartment doors. Except for the latch side approach which requires only 42″ of clearance, all other approaches will require the space per section 404
The requirements so far dealt with swinging doors and gates.  But besides the swing doors, there are also maneuvering requirements for sliding doors. These also require maneuvering and these are found in section 404.
this is a barn door that will require maneuvering clearance to open