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ADA Shower Valve Requirements

The ADA states that the shower controls are placed on the back wall or side walls and check ADA shower requirements. However, there is always a leeway when it comes to the placement of a control valve. The rule of thumb in this matter is always that it must always be within the arm’s reach from the shower seat.

Installs measuring 36″ x 36″, the control valve must be opposite the seat for the users to reach it with ease.  The general understanding is that the shower stall is 36″ x 36″. Making larger shower stalls would make it difficult for the user to access the controls from a sitting position. Therefore, the controls, including the shower valve, must be within a comfortable arm’s reach.

Like other controls, the minimum height for the shower valve should be 38″ above the floor, with the maximum being 48″. Architects always have a 10″ leeway to place these controls – as long as they are within 38″ -48″, the controls are always compliant.

The ADA also has set criteria on how to operate each control, including the shower valve. For example, the controls must not require anything above five foot-pounds of pressure to operate. Also, the controls cannot pinch or bind the wrist, figures, or skins. As so, the operator must be able to with only one hand.

Hand-Held ADA Shower Requirements

According to the ADA guidelines, a facility should provide a shower spray unit with a 60″ long hose that can function as both a hand-held shower and a fixed shower. However, there is an exception in unmonitored facilities exposed to vandalism instances. In such cases, the facility may install a fixed shower instead of a hand-held shower; however, the height must be 48″ above the floor.

The same goes for facilities where a hand-held shower spray unit is installed on a vertical bar with an adjustable height. The bar must be in the right position that allows the positioning of the hand-held shower spray within the specified area and no more than 48″ high.

When mounting the shower spray to the vertical bar providing adjustable positions above the 48″ recommended height, the bar must not obstruct the use of grab bars. However, it can be anywhere within 12″ minimum. It must allow 1.5″ minimum clearance above the bar without extending behind the grab bar.

The general rule with hand-held shower spray units is that they must always be in a lower position. This is because it places it within accessible reach for all users.

It is also important to note that while you can use fixed showerheads alongside hand-held showers, they can never replace the latter in medical facilities, long-term care facilities, transient lodgings, and dwelling units.

ADA Shower Faucets

The ADA regulations for ADA shower requirements are explicitly clear on making it easier for people with disabilities to access water from faucets in public and commercial spaces. All faucets, whether push-types, lever-operated, or electronically controlled mechanisms, must adhere to the set rules. In cases where a facility has a self-closing valve, the facets must remain open for a minimum of 10 seconds.

In most cases, the same facet requirements go hand in hand with sink requirements. So, it would help if you took note of both.

The first requirement states that the sink should not be in a high location that someone with any disability cannot reach. To be specific, a sink should not be more than 34″ above the floor and must have a 27″ high knee clearance area.

The sink should also be 25″ by 11″ deep and 30″ wide. Additionally, it should have clear floor space and insulated pipes beneath. And, someone should be able to use the sink with a single hand with a not-tight grip, pinch, or twist of the wrist.

The rule of thumb is that the faucets should be easy to operate with minimum effort and as pain-free as possible. The user must have to use more than pounds of pressure to operate a faucet.

The faucet and the soap dispenses must be within an adequate range and height. The limitation on the height is 48″ for all accessories. However, the lavatory fixtures may extend to 20″ deep.

There are five apparent tips that one needs to follow when looking for and installing ADA-compliant faucets. They include;

1. Twist and Turns

Regardless of their disabilities, users should be able to pull, twist, and turn the handles to trigger water flow with little force, mostly less than 5 lb. Anything beyond this may not be easy and may hinder the person’s ability to access water. 

2.  Ability to Use with One Hand

When selecting or installing a faucet, the second question to ask yourself is, can you operate it with minimal force but with one hand? An ADA compliant faucet should allow users to activate and deactivate water flow with one hand. It makes it easier for people with physical limitations to operate them.

3. Measurement

A faucet, if elevated too high, could be problematic. The ADA regulations dictate that a faucet doesn’t go higher than 48″ above the floor. Modern faucets have handles mounted on the base to help installers ensure that the installation complies with the height requirements.

4. Always Take Note of the Gaps

ADA also requires public and commercial facilities to have enough room beneath the faucets. The distance between the floor and the surface under the faucet should be 27″, enough for knee clearance.

5. Time

In automatic faucets or those with motion sensors, the water must be able to flow for about 10 seconds before going off. The best option when it comes to this is electronic metering faucets. They are hands-free but only effective if the water holds long enough to meet the 10-second demands by the ADA regulations.  

Final Notes on ADA Shower Requirements

People with disabilities have it rough when it comes to physical barriers, mostly in public places. So, the ADA is in place to reduce this and make their lives as easy as possible. If you own a commercial or public building with shower facilities, you must adhere to the set standards. Unfortunately, most people unknowingly violate or overlook these codes of conduct. We hope that after reading the ADA Shower requirements guide above, you now know what to do; you can also contact us for more information.