Get a Grip On Grab Bars for Water Closets
Grab bars enable an individual to maintain balance, reduce fatigue while standing, rising, or maneuvering, or in some cases grabbing onto in case of a slip or fall. Caregivers can also use a grab bar to assist with patient transfer.
The words “grab bar” are used multiple times in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, September 15, 2010 Plumbing Element and Facilities. Grab bars for toilets (water closets) are referenced in Plumbing Elements and Facilities Section 609.
For Toilets (Water Closets)
Specifications for Grab Bars are in 609 for toilet and bathing facilities and in the cross section 609.2.1 circular cross sections and the 609.2.2 non-circular cross section, 609.3 Spacing, 609.4 Position of Grab Bars, 609.5 Surface Hazards, 609.6 Fittings, 609.7 Installation and 609.8 Structural Strength and in sections 604.5 Grab Bars for water closets and 604.1.5 (Sidewall) Grab Bars, 604.5.2 Rear Wall, 604.9 Water Closets and Toilet Compartments for Children’s Use.
Advisory notes pertaining to grab bars are provided for informational purposes only and may not be mandatory. The notes have been added or revised based on comments or revisions to text. Advisory notes try to clarify the meaning of a requirement or provide recommendations for good practice.
- Advisory 104.1.1 Construction and Manufacturing Tolerance. The requirement states a specified range, such as in Section 609.4 where grab bars must be installed between 33” and 36” above the floor. The range provides an adequate tolerance and therefore no tolerance outside of the range at either end point is permitted.
- Advisory 604.5 Grab Bars Exception 2. Reinforcement must be sufficient to permit the installation of rear and side wall grab bars that fully meet all accessibility requirements including, but not limited to, required length, installation height, and structural strength.
- Advisory 604.9 Water Closets and Toilet Compartments for Children’s Use. The requirements in 604.9 are to be followed where the exception for children’s water closets in 604.1 is used. The table provides additional guidance in applying the specifications for water closets for children according to the age group served and reflects the differences in the size, stature, and reach ranges of children ages 3 through 12. The specifications chosen should correspond to the age of the primary user group. The specifications of one age group should be applied consistently in the installation of a water closet and related elements.
Grab Bar Mounting
The standard mounting dimensions for circular and non-circular grab bars are 2” max. and should not rotate in their fittings and have a structural strength of 250 lbs. horizontally and vertically. The water closet grab bars should be installed 33” minimum and 36” maximum in a horizontal position above finished floor except for a child’s use ages 3 to 12, 18” minimum and 27” maximum in section 604.9. The side wall grab bar is 42” minimum and the rear wall grab bar is 36” minimum.
Most manufacturers of commercial restroom grab bars (including for ADA) have different configurations, mountings and finishes so it is the designer’s choice. The requirements have to deal with slip resistance, height and length from the floor and the mounting dimensions. There were close to 300 projects with Grab Bars listed for ADA restrooms, and only a few had specific manufacturers. The remainder are open for bidding.
Although there are many manufacturers of grab bars for ADA restrooms, here are a few to consider.
Bobrick. Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc. Bobrick is a recognized name in well-designed, value-oriented restroom accessories and toilet partitions. Some of the world’s more renowned companies and institutions rely on Bobrick solutions to reinforce their brands, reduce long term operating costs, and position their organizations for the future. You will find a variety of grab bars when you search for “grab bars” on their website.
Brey-Krause. Brey-Krause manufactures a comprehensive line of quality commercial and industrial washroom accessories. Their products are used in new and existing commercial, industrial, and HUD facilities. A wide variety of styles, colors, materials, and finishes ensure appropriate application in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, office buildings, factories, airports, restaurants, prisons, hotels, health clubs, locker rooms and public restrooms. All products are manufactured in compliance with American Disabilities Act- (ADA) and ANSI requirements. Search for a series of ADA compliant grab bars on their website.
Moen. The #1 faucet brand in North America, Moen offers a diverse selection of thoughtfully designed kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, accessories, bath safety products, garbage disposals and kitchen sinks for residential and commercial applications, each delivering the best possible combination of meaningful innovation, useful features, and lasting value. Moen commercial products incorporate smart design with advanced technology. To view the selection of grab bars visit their website.
Bradley Corporation. Bradley is one of the most complete and advanced manufacturers of commercial washrooms, and comprehensive solutions for emergency, safety, and industrial applications. Now in the fifth generation of the Mullet family their continued commitment includes treating customers and employees like family. You will find 32 ADA compliant soap dispensers on their site including the new Verge ADA soap dispenser line. To view the selection of ADA grab bars visit their website.