Common ADA Violations

Posted on - Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

As a Registered Accessibility Specialist in Texas I am required to perform building inspections to make sure that the facility is compliant with the Texas Accessibility Standards.  Also, I am requested to perform building assessments to make sure that the facility complies with the ADA Title III.  In performing the inspections and assessments I often see common mistakes in construction that then make the building be in violation of the Standards and Guidelines.  In this newsletter I will share with you some of those common violations and maybe the same ones won’t happen to you.

Side Grab bars

The ADA and other Standards require a minimum distances for the side wall grab bar to be mounted in order for a person who uses a wheelchair can transfer on and off the water closet.  The minimum distance is 54″ measured from the rear wall.


In my inspections and assessments I find that the figure is misunderstood and therefore the minimum distance is often not maintained.  The figure shows a 12″ maximum from the rear wall.  A person installing the grab bar may get confused and assume they can mount it within that 12″ and still be acceptable.  But they forget to red the 54″ min.  So I typically see side wall grab bars mounted at 48″ from the rear wall or even less.



Knee spaces

There are several dimensions that must be maintained in order to achieve a proper knee  and toe clearance at a sink.  The 2010 ADA Standards do a better job of graphically explaining those dimensions




But many times the dimensions are still not maintained and we don’t always have the proper minimum distances to achieve a knee clearance.  In the photo below we don’t have the horizontal 8″ required at the 27″ height, and therefore is not accessible


Objects mounted above or below grab bars

At accessible water closets, the grab bars must not only be mounted at the proper location, but objects (such as toilet paper dispensers or even water closet tanks) should not be located too close to the grab bars.  The ADA shows you a minimum distance those objects can be placed in relation to the grab bar.


If they are mounted too close, the person using the toilet may not be able to properly grab the bar and will not be able to easily mount the toilet.




Door clearances

At a door’s pull side approach, the ADA requires a minimum clearance of 18″ in order to maneuver to open the door and get through the door.



Sometimes, objects such as sinks or dispensers are located too close to the door and the 18″ minimum on the pull side is not maintained.





Upcoming Continuing Education Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in these topics and allowing me to share them with you.  May your 2014 be full of success, health and happiness to your staff and family!  May we continue to assist in removing barriers for all.

Below are some upcoming seminars where I’ll be teaching for AIA approved CEU:

December 17th: Applying the ADA in Existing and Altered Buildings Webinar for GreenCE

An article on Applying the ADA was published in CREST Magazine article page 57

Announcing the release of our second book: “Applying the ADA” published by Wiley.  It is available for sale now. (also available as an e-book)


 If you want to learn more about the new Standards, The ADA Companion Guide explains the 2004 ADAAG Guidelines  with commentary and explanations throughout.  The 2004 Guidelines were adopted by the DOJ to create the 2010 Standards and by Texas to create the 2012 TAS.  This book explains the technical requirements for both.

If you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714