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Trade Talk

5 tips to choose an ADA compliant bathroom faucet

Builders and contractors for public and commercial buildings understand how essential it is to comply with federal regulations. Implementing bathroom faucets that meet ADA requirements can help enhance facility safety, remove barriers for those with limited mobility and disabilities, and avoid injuries and fines for property owners.

Finding compliant fixtures is simpler than you might think. Discover ADA bathroom faucet requirements and five tips to know how to choose a faucet that meets standards.

What does ADA mean for plumbing?

Not everyone has the same ability to reach and activate a water source. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, outlines regulations to make it simpler for people with physical disabilities to reach faucets in commercial and public spaces.*

ADA plumbing includes accessible bathrooms, showers (when applicable) and hand-washing. So what makes a faucet ADA compliant? Unobstructed access, reachability, ease of operation and electronic controls are all factors to consider.

5 tips to find an ADA compliant faucet

Installing an ADA compliant bathroom faucet that is designed for people with a range of physical abilities helps ensure all building occupants can easily access water. Make sure your commercial bathroom meets ADA faucet requirements with these five tips.

1. The handle should turn easily.

If you don’t have to use much force to twist, turn or pull the handle to activate water flow, your faucet is in good shape. The ADA requires that a person must be able to turn on a water faucet without twisting or straining the wrist and using less than 5 lbs of force.

Over time, mineral deposits can build up, requiring more pressure to turn faucets on and off. Property managers should make sure that regular cleaning keeps the faucets turning easily, or alternatively they can learn about hands-free faucets.

2. The handle should turn with a single hand.

The ability to activate the water flow easily with only one hand makes it simpler for people with physical limitations to turn on the water, which goes a long way toward meeting ADA bathroom faucet standards. As with the tip above, the user should not have to grip or pinch the handle with force in order for water to flow.

Pro tip: Many manufacturers mark their faucets as ADA compliant. To see if your choice meets standards, simply look for an indication on the product or packaging. There is a wide range of touchless, lever, wrist blade and cross-handle faucet styles to choose from that could help you meet requirements.

3. Faucet should allow for knee clearance.

Keep floor space in mind when selecting your faucet. There must be a gap of 27" between the floor and the underside of the mounting surface to allow space for free movement. A faucet must be installed without obstructing this gap for a commercial building to comply with ADA standards. Make sure the one you choose can meet those requirements.

4. Operating parts must have enough space.

Check how high the faucet handle will be once installed. The operating parts of a water faucet cannot be higher than 48" from the ground if the area is free from obstructions and no lower than 15". Make sure the faucet handles won’t be elevated too high. Mounting bathroom faucet handles on the base can help ensure the installation meets the height requirement.

5. Water should flow for a set time.

If the bathroom faucet has an automatic shutoff, whether from a push button, a motion sensor or something else, the faucet must remain open for water to flow for at least 10 seconds. Electronic metering faucets are excellent for allowing easy access to water, but to be effective, they must satisfy the 10-second requirement outlined by ADA regulations.**

Save time meeting ADA faucet requirements

ADA bathroom faucets don’t just help your building comply with federal regulations, but they’re also easier for everyone to use. Occupants, guests and workers can quickly refresh and clean up, and with electronic options, property managers could even cut down on labor hours from their maintenance or cleaning crew.

As the largest wholesale plumbing supplier in North America, Ferguson has the residential and commercial faucets you need. Save time sorting through options that don’t meet requirements and find the right ADA bathroom faucet for your project now.

Need to update beyond the bathroom? Explore ADA compliant faucets for the kitchen and bar.

Partner with Ferguson for ADA bathroom faucets

To discuss bathroom fixtures that can help your space comply with ADA requirements, visit your local Ferguson. Our knowledgeable associates can share the latest trends as well as features and benefits of a wide variety of products.

*Per the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, U.S. Department of Justice, September 15, 2010

**As of September 1, 2015, the California Energy Commission passed regulations stating that lavatory faucets with a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute or higher can no longer be sold for use in the state of California.