Accessible Design in Public Housing: NYCHA Staff Training Program

Version 4.0 July 9, 2001

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Edward Steinfeld and Danise Levine, 2001
Additional information Common/Public Spaces
Toilet Rooms
Each toilet room must have at least
one accessible fixture of each type
Section 4.22.1

a. Where the centerline distance is no more than 1.5" larger than 18", a ledger strip can be used to block out the bar.

Toilet rooms must be located on an accessible route in the building.

Use other survey forms to determine whether or not these spaces have the necessary features.

- Ramps
- Doors and Gates
- Entrances
- Elevators
- Lobbies and Corridors
- Parking
Section 4.22.3

b. Use this design when the centerline distance is greater than19.5in.

c. A floor mounted bar can be used also but it is important to choose a bar with bracing.

Figure 1

Is there an unobstructed 60 inch diameter circle or T-shaped turning space in the toilet room ?

Section 4.22.2
Do any doors swing into a required clear floor space at an accessible fixture? (see Figure 1)

Clearances for Accessible Water Closets in Single User Toilet Rooms
Section 4.16.2;4.22.3
Standards for Children

Water closets not in stalls used
primarily by children ages 12 and
younger should have the centerline
of the water closet located 12 inches
minimum to 18 inches maximum from
the side wall or partition.

Figure 2

Is the centerline of the water closet 18 inches from a wall or partition?  

This bathroom would not comply because 
there is no latch side clearance to enter 
the bathroom.

Figure 3

Is there a clear floor space at the water closet that meets any of the following criteria: 

Min. width

Min. length

Front 48" 66"
Perpendicular 48" 56"
Side Transfer 60" 56"

Note: The last criteria are the most preferable.


Clearances for Accessible Toilet Stalls
Section 4.17.1

Bathroom after renovation

Two stalls are combined into one. 
This solution works well where there are
extra toilet stalls. The vestibule is removed
and the towel dispenser and waste basket 
are relocated.
Note that the towel dispenser
could be a protruting hazard if the garbage
can were not locted below it.


Figure 4 

Are the accessible toilet stalls on an accessible route from the door of the toilet room?

Section 4.17.3
Standards for Children

The size and arrangement should
comply with UFAS Figure 30(a) 
except that the centerline of the water
closet shall be between 12 inches and
18 inches from the side wall or partition
and the minimum depth for stalls with
wall mounted water closets shall be 59

The problems in this children's bathroom 
layout includes 1. lack of grab bars, 2. 
the door swinging in impedes access to the
lavatory and 3
. the clearances of the toilet are not sufficient for assisting a child.

The solutions in renovating the bathroom 
include changing the door to swing outward, 
add side and rear grab bar, and relocating the 
fixture to provide transfer space.

Figure 5
Note: It is a floor mounted toilet in Figure 5.

Figure 6 (UFAS Figure 30(a))

Does the size and arrangement of the accessible toilet stalls comply with the standard stall shown in UFAS Figure 30(a)?

(Arrangements may be mirrored. Alternate stalls are not permitted in new construction.)

Section 4.17.4
A 9 inch min. space under the 
partition provides toe clearance for
wheelchair users which increases

If the stall is less than 60 inches deep, does the front partition and at least one partition have toe clearances of at least 9 inches above the floor? (see Figure 5)

Section 4.17.5;4.13

Figure 7
Note: The door can open toward the inside in this stall because there is plenty of room inside it.

When the stall door is open 90 degrees, is there a clear opening of at least 32 inches?


Figure 8
Note: This alternate stall design can be 36" wide because it is longer than 66". However, this is not recommened. It should only be used where plumbing codes would eliminate the possibility of combining two stalls into one.

If the stall door opens out at the end of an aisle, is there at least 18 inches of maneuvering space at the latch side of the stall door?

Section 4.17.6

UFAS Figure  30(c)

UFAS Figure 30(d)
Exceptions: if administrative authorities
require flush controls for flush valves
to be located in a position that conflicts
with the location of the rear grab bar,
then that grab bar may be split. At
water closets with a centerline
placement less than 15 inches, a rear
grab bar 24 inches minimum on the
open side of the toilet area is permitted.

UFAS Figure 30(d)

Standards for Children

Grab bars shall comply with UFAS
except they should be mounted
18 inches minimum to 27 inches
maximum above the floor.


Figure 9
Note: When there is a lavatory next to the water closet and no side transfer space.

Figure 10

Are the grab bars placed as shown in UFAS Figure 30(c) and (d) to the left?

Section 4.16.6
Standards for Children

Toilet paper dispensers shall be
installed 14 inches minimum to 19
inches maximum above the floor
measured to the dispenser centerline.


Figure 11
Note: The garbage can obstructs access to both toilet and lavatory.

Is the toilet paper dispenser mounted as shown in the UFAS Figure 30(d) at the left?


Children's toilet room in NYCHA building.
Does the toilet paper dispenser obstruct use of the grab bar and allow continuous paper delivery? (see Figure 11)

Accessible Water Closets
Section 4.16.3
Standards for Children

The height of water closets shall be
11 inches minimum to 17 inches
maximum measured to the top of the
toilet seat.


Figure 12

Is the top of the toilet seat between 17 and 19 inches from the floor? 

Is the seat a type that does not automatically spring back to an open position?

Standards for Children

Controls for flush valves shall be
mounted on the wide side of the toilet
area no more than 36 inches above
the floor.
The flush controls must be mounted on the side of the water closet area, no higher than 44 inches above the floor, and operable without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist.

Flushes on tank type water closets will always meet this rule.
Grab Bars
Section 4.16.4
Standards for Children

Grab bars for water closets not located
in stalls shall have grab bars mounted
18 inches minimum to 27 inches
maximum above the floor measured to
the grab bar centerline.

UFAS Figure 30(c)

Figure 13

Is there a rear grab bar mounted as shown in UFAS Figure 30(c) at the left?


UFAS Figure 30(d)

Figure 14

Is there a side bar mounted as shown in the  UFAS Figure 30(d) to the left?

Section 4.16.4;4.26;4.17.6
diameter.jpg (11135 bytes)
Figure 15

Is the diameter of the grab bar between 1-1/4 inch and 1-1/2 inch?

Is the space between the grab bar and the wall 1-1/2 inches? (see Figure 15)

Other additional issues
Grab bars must be secured so that they do not rotate within their fittings
The grab bar and the wall adjacent to it must be free of any sharp or abrasive elements.
Accessible Urinals
Section 4.18.3

Figure 16 

Is the urinal on an accessible route?


Figure 17

Is there a clear floor space 30 by 48 inches which allows a forward approach to the urinal?


Wall mounted urinal with elongated rim.

Figure 18

If urinal shields are provided is there a minimum of 29 inches between the two panels?

Do the shields project out beyond the front edge of the urinal?


Wall mounted urinal without elongated rim.

Section 4.18.2
If the urinal is a wall hung, does it have an elongated rim no more than 17 inches to the floor? (see Figure 18)

Section 4.18.4;4.27.4
Are the flush controls automatic or operable with one hand without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist? (see Figure 18)

Are the controls mounted no more than 44 inches above the floor? (see Figure 18)

Section 4.22.6
At least one lavatory must be accessible.
Section 4.19.2

UFAS Figure 31

Figure 19

Is the lavatory rim or counter surface no higher than 34 inches above the finished floor?

Standards for Children

Lavatories used primarily by children
ages 6 through 12 shall be permitted
to have an apron clearance and a knee
clearance 24 inches high minimum
provided that the rim or counter surface
is no higher than 31 inches.

Is there a clearance of at least 29 inches from the floor to the bottom of the apron? (see Figure 19)


Children's lavatory in NYCHA building.
Note: paper dispenser is out of reach. Perhaps the idea is to keep the kids from playing with the dispenser.
Do the toe and knee clearances comply with UFAS Figure 31 to the left? (see Figure 19)

Section 4.19.3

Figure 20

Is there a clear floor space at least 30 by 48 inches in front of the lavatory allowing a forward approach?


Figure 21

Is not more than 19 inches of this clear floor space measured underneath the lavatory?

Figure 22
Does the clear floor space adjoin or overlap an accessible route?

Section 4.19.4

This is an example of a sink with a built 
in shroud that protects wheelchair users 
from scalding and sharp, abrasive 

Figure 23

Are hot water pipes and drain pipes insulated or otherwise

Is the area below the lavatory free of sharp or abrasive surfaces? (see Figure 23)

Section 4.19.5; 4.27.4

Single lever handle faucet

Lever handle faucet

Figure 24

Can the faucet be operated with one hand without tight
grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist?

If the valve is self closing, does it remain open for at least 10 seconds?

Section 4.22.6; 4.19.6

Tilted mirrors provide a better view for 
wheelchair users but they must be tall 
enough for a standing person to use as 

Standards for Children

Mirrors provided above lavatories
designed for children should be
mounted with the bottom edge of the
reflecting surface no higher than 34
inches above the floor or at the lowest
mounting height permitted by fixtures. 

Figure 25 

Does at least one mirror have a bottom edge of the
reflecting surface no higher than 40 inches from the floor?

Section 4.22.7

Figure 26

Is at least one of each dispenser type on an
accessible route?

Section 4.22.7; 4.27
Is there a 30 x 48 inch clear space which allows either a forward or a parallel approach to the dispensers? (see Figure 26)

Section 4.22.7; 4.27

Figure 27

If a forward approach is provided, is the highest operable
part no higher than 48 inches? 

If a side approach is provided, is the highest operable part no higher than 54 inches? (see Figure 27)


Figure 28
Can the dispenser be operated with one hand without any tight grasping,
pinching, or twisting of the wrist?

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