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Accessible Showers

The shower is one of the most important places in the bathroom, but we do not often think about it until we need to use it. For people with limited mobility, showering in a poorly equipped bathroom can be a challenging, arduous task. Designing showers in accordance with the guidelines listed in the 2010 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design makes using and navigating the shower much easier for people of all abilities. There are a number of requirements summarized in ADA Standard 608 that must be followed in order to make showers ADA-compliant. These include:

  • Width: The ADA makes an advisory stating that showers that are 60” wide and have no curb may make the shower more usable and easier to access.
  • Transfer Type Shower Compartments Size/Clearances: Transfer type shower compartments should be 36” by 36” clear at dimensions measured at center points of opposite sides. Compartments should have a 36” wide minimum entry on the face of the shower compartment. The compartment must provide clearance of 36” wide by 48” long minimum measured from the control wall.
  • Standard Roll-In Type Shower Compartments: Standard roll-in type shower compartments should be 30” wide minimum by 60” deep minimum clear inside dimensions measured at center points of opposite sides. Compartments should have a 60” wide minimum entry at the face of the shower compartment.
    • Clearance: A 30” wide minimum by 60” long minimum clearance should be provided adjacent to the open face of the shower compartment. EXCEPTION: Lavatories complying with 606 shall be permitted one 30” wide minimum side of the clearance provided that it is not on the side of the clearance adjacent to the controls or the shower seat, when seat is provided.
  • Alternate Roll-In Type Shower Compartments: Alternate roll-in type shower compartments should be 36” wide by 60” deep minimum, measured at center points at opposite sides. The shower compartment should provide a 36” wide minimum entry at one end of the long side of the compartment.
  • Thresholds. Thresholds in roll-in type shower compartments should be ½” high maximum. In transfer type shower compartments, thresholds ½” high maximum should be vertical, beveled or rounded. EXCEPTION: In existing buildings where a ½” high threshold would interfere with the structural reinforcement of the floor slab, ADA guidelines permit a 2” high maximum threshold for transfer type shower compartments.
  • Shower Enclosures: Shower enclosures should not obstruct the shower spray units, faucets, controls, or prevent the transfer from a wheelchair onto the shower seat.

Often when specifying showers for ADA restrooms, the wording is general such as “provide ADA compliant shower enclosure.” Surprisingly, ADA showers are most often specified under two divisions: Plumbing and Specialties. Sometimes the specifications state a specific manufacturer or manufacturer list. At this writing, there were 920 projects within the Plumbing Division and 647 projects within the Specialty Division that specified ADA showers for this year in ConstructConnect. Although many contain a specific manufacturer(s), the there is room for product manufacturers to become a basis of design or position their shower system as THE ones for ADA restrooms.

Manufacturers

Bestbath. Bestbath became a world-leading manufacturer of bathing products by focusing on being first in product quality and first in creating products for people of all abilities. See Bestbath’s full selection of ADA showers and related products such as the Single Piece Code Compliant 60” x 72” x 34” Shower/Tub Combo on their website.

Freedom Showers. Freedom Showers is committed to helping customers make informed choices on accessible home products and providing solutions that give people the ability to live independently. See Freedom Showers’ website for their full selection of ADA-compliant showers, including the 40” by 39” Freedom ADA Transfer Shower on their website.

Warm Rain. Warm Rain has been recognized as making the strongest tub/showers and showers that are handcrafted by skilled American workers, including many ADA-compliant showers. See Warm Rain’s full selection, including the WR-3939 ADA Compliant Shower on their website.

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