Handicap accessible bathroom designs are now a common feature in all public places such as malls, public buildings, office complex etc and most importantly they are now seen at many residences. These bathrooms are designed to aid people in wheelchair and people with other disabilities.
These handicap bathroom layout can be done in many ways. However the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines that can be accessed at www.access-board.gov give specific guidelines for handicap bathroom accessible dimension that deal with height of toilet, bathtub, faucets, sink, shower, movable space, handicap bathroom products etc. Manufactures of companies have adapted these rules while designing their products and you can choose to satisfy your aesthetics while keeping in mind its functions.
1. The door to the bathroom should be wide enough to allow wheelchair and people with walkers to enter without hindrance. The optimum width would be three feet; however a minimum of 32 inches width would suffice.
2. Pocket doors are permitted by ADA. Otherwise make sure that the door swings open outward. An inward opening door could get blocked if someone falls inside and you need to open the door.
3. The threshold of the bathroom should be level with the floor adjacent to the bathroom door for wheelchair to roll in easily. This will also prevent people on walkers from tripping over the threshold.
4. Inside the bathroom there should be clear circular floor area of 60 inches diameter for the wheelchair to enter and turn around.
5. The handicap bathroom accessible design should have a roll in shower with no barriers and the toilet should be at a minimum height of 17 inches with the seat on.
6. The hand washing sink counter or sink should be at chest level for a person seated on a wheelchair and the sink should have room for knees and feet under the sink.
7. All bathroom utility items should be stored in places where it is accessible by people on wheelchair.
8. All handles should be of lever type since those are easily operable and gives a good grip for elderly hands.
9. The faucets for the bathtub should be positioned at the entry side for disabled people to access with ease and should be of lever type. They should also have water temperature control to prevent people from getting scalded.
10. Flip down seat should be provided in the shower area and tub for people to sit while bathing.
11. A hand held shower head should be installed on a sliding bar for people of all heights and seated people to access it.
12. Well lit bathroom are always preferred. However, dim lights to be provided for night use.
13. Hand grab bars to be installed either horizontally or vertically according to convenience near the bathtub, in the shower stall and near the toilet.
14. Both shower enclosure and bathtub should be sturdy enough to withstand heavy impact.
15. Lastly door locks should be open-able from outside during emergency in a handicap bathroom accessible design.