Something that most assisted living facilities need to consider in their design is ADA accessibility. Especially when catering to an aging population, it’s crucial that facilities be compliant with all ADA requirements, including those for bathrooms. Bathrooms can be particularly difficult to design in a way that meets ADA requirements because there are a lot of stipulations to meet in such a small space. As a facility manager, you can’t be expected to be an expert in everything the ADA requires, but you and your team’s compliance (or lack thereof) ultimately falls to you and could make the difference in whether or not issues are resolved with a fine or, worse, a lawsuit.
There are a number of requirements for ADA compliant bathrooms, most of which pertain to bathroom dimensions and layout: specifications for toilet height, sink height, mirror height and certain radii of movement from the door, toilet, sink, shower or tub, and any combination therein. It also includes stipulations for grab bars and their placement.
While there are numerous stipulations for ADA compliant bathrooms,we’ll be primarily focusing on requirements as they relate to flooring. The ADA standards require that compliant bathrooms have floor and ground surfaces that are stable, firm and slip resistant. While both vinyl and tile flooring meets qualifications for stability and firmness, epoxy exceeds them both when it comes to slip resistance, as we discussed earlier.
The ADA also has regulations relating to changes in level in flooring. Changes in level can be up to ¼ inch without treatment or ½ inch if beveled with a slope no steeper than 1:2. Changes in level above ½ inch must be treated as a ramp or curb ramp. These specifications apply to all portions of accessible routes, including thresholds.