Section-by-Section Analysis

This section of the preamble summarizes each of the provisions of the final rule and the comments received in response to the proposed rule. Where the provision in the final rule differs from that of the proposed rule, an explanation of the modification is provided. Building elements addressed by the proposed rule but not included in the final rule are discussed in a following section labeled Other Issues.

2 General. 2.1 Provisions for Adults and Children.

The final rule contains alternate specifications based on children's dimensions as exceptions to ADAAG technical requirement for drinking fountains, water closets, toilet stalls, lavatories, sinks, and fixed or built-in seating and tables. This is indicated in a revision to a general statement in ADAAG 2.1 that previously recognized only adult dimensions and anthropometrics. As revised in the final rule, this provision notes that ADAAG provides alternate specifications based on children's dimensions and anthropometrics for these elements.

4 Accessible Elements and Spaces: Scope and Technical Requirements. 4.2 Space Allowances and Reach Ranges 4.2.5 Forward Reach 4.2.6 Side Reach

The proposed rule specified maximum and minimum mounting heights for controls and operating mechanisms and storage elements designed for children's use. These heights were specified for three age ranges: 36 inches (high) and 20 inches (low) for ages 2 through 4, 40 inches (high) and 18 inches (low) for ages 5 through 8, and 44 inches (high) and 16 inches (low) for ages 9 through 12. Consistent with CAH recommendations, these ranges were the same for forward and side reaches. The proposed rule also addressed the height of storage elements and referenced the reach range requirements. The proposed reach ranges for children have been included in the final rule as advisory information in an appendix note to 4.2.5 (Forward Reach) and 4.2.6 (Side Reach). This information notes that these specifications are recommended for fixed building elements or controls designed for use primarily by children 12 and younger and that those designed for use by adults only need not be located within the recommended ranges. The reach ranges are consistent with the proposed rule except that the ages covered start at 3 years instead of 2 years. ADAAG 4.25 (Storage) and 4.27 (Controls and Operating Mechanisms) reference the reach range requirements in 4.2.5 and 4.2.6. Since the appendix information on children's's reach ranges is relevant to these sections as well, cross references to A4.2.5 & 4.2.6 (Reach) have been added to the appendix at A4.25 and A4.27.

Comment. The proposed rule asked whether the proposed reach ranges were appropriate for children ages 2 through 12 (Question 3) and also requested data on children's reaches over obstructions (Question 4). Specifications for obstructed reaches were not proposed due to insufficient information. Some commenters supported the proposed specifications while others opposed the approach as too complex and recommended that a single range be used for all ages covered. Parents of children with dwarfism recommended further study so that the needs of children of short stature are addressed. These commenters included the age and measured high reach of their child although how this reach was measured was not indicated. The average reach height by age group among these children was 33 inches for ages 2 through 4, 41 inches for ages 5 through 8, and 44 inches for ages 9 through 12. Some commenters advised that the rule should exempt elements intended for adult use only, such as fire extinguishers and alarms, electrical receptacles, phones and intercoms, and thermostats. A few comments noted that elements must be at least 54 inches from the floor to be considered out of children's reach (which is the maximum permitted by ADAAG for an adult side reach). Conversely, some comments recommended that certain elements such as telephones and elevator controls be covered by the children's rule. Few commenters provided information or anthropometric data on the appropriateness of the proposed specifications or on reaches over obstructions.

Response. The CAH study recommended a reach range of 20 inches (low) to 36 inches (high) for all children. However, the ergonomic data evaluated in this study did not conclusively justify limiting specifications for children older than 4 years to this range. Reach range specifications, including those for obstructed reaches, have not been included in the text of the rule due to a lack of sufficient data. The proposed specifications have been included in the final rule in the appendix as advisory (non-mandatory) information. This information will provide guidance where certain building elements, such as lockers, and controls are to be designed according to the dimensions of children ages 12 and younger.

4.8 Ramps. 4.9 Stairs.

The proposed rule required a second set of handrails at ramps and stairs that serve elements or spaces constructed according to children's dimensions. This requirement specified a mounting height of 20 to 28 inches measured from the ramp surface or stair nosing to the top of the gripping surface. These specifications were derived from the CAH study and were similar to several state requirements or recommendations. ADAAG requires a mounting height of 34 to 38 inches for handrails based on adult dimensions. A requirement for secondary handrails has not been included in the text of the final rule. However, advisory information on lower handrails has been added to the appendix at A4.8 and A4.9. This information recommends a secondary set of handrails at ramps or stairs in facilities that primarily serve children, such as elementary schools. A maximum handrail height of 28 inches is recommended. It is also recommended that the vertical clearance between handrails be at least 9 inches in order to reduce the risk of entrapment.

Comment. The vertical clear space between the handrails required by ADAAG and the proposed lower rail for children's use could range from 4½ to 16¾ inches. The proposed rule sought comment on whether this posed an entrapment hazard (Question 6) and whether a clearance of as a little as 4½ inches was sufficient for gripping the lower rail (Question 7). Most commenters stated that this requirement would pose an entrapment hazard. Several noted specifications in model codes that address openings such as those between vertical guardrails which require them to be spaced or to have a pattern that prevents passage of a 4 inch sphere (1994 UBC section 509.3, BOCA Section 1021.3 1996). Several comments indicated that certain guidelines, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission Handbook for Playground Safety, consider openings between 3½ inches and 9 inches to be a hazard. Some commenters recommended a height of 26 to 28 inches as safer and noted that a rail as low as 20 inches can become a climbing structure or produce a "ladder effect." One commenter cited research which suggests that children over age 7 can use handrails at adult heights. Comments were divided on the question of whether a 4½ inch vertical clearance between handrails will allow sufficient room for grasping the lower rail. Some considered the 4½ inch clearance sufficient while almost an equal number did not and recommended minimum clearances ranging from 6 to 9 inches.

Response. A requirement for lower handrails has not been included in the final rule. Additional guidance has been added to an appendix note at A4.8.5 (Handrails) which recommends a second set of handrails where children are the principal users in a building or facility. The final rule adds a recommendation for a maximum height of 28 inches for the lower handrail and a vertical clearance between handrails of at least 9 inches. A reference to this appendix note is provided for stairs at A4.9.5 (Handrails).

ADAAG 4.8 (Ramps) specifies that the ramp slope not exceed 1:12 and limits the rise of each run to 30 inches. The Board sponsored a research project conducted by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University to re-evaluate specifications for ramps. Completed in 1996, this study included subject testing with a test sample of more than 170 subjects. However, only a small portion (2.9%) of subjects were under age 16. The overall conclusion of this study was to retain without change existing ADAAG technical requirements for ramps, including those for slope and rise. The study noted that age seemed to have little bearing on the ability of subjects to use ramps.2

The CAH children's study and comments to the ANPRM considered the 1:12 maximum slope too steep for children and recommended slopes of 1:16 to 1:20 to take into account the differences in strength and stamina between children and adults. The CAH study also recommended a maximum length run of 20 feet for ramps in children's's facilities since children do not have as much strength as adults in negotiating longer ramps. For ramps with a maximum slope of 1:12, ADAAG requires a maximum length of 30 feet for each run.

Comment. The Board sought comment on whether a lower slope should be specified for ramps designed for children's use (Question 23) and whether ramps should be limited to a 20 foot length (Question 24). Commenters were divided on both questions. Comments supporting a lower slope varied in their recommendations between a 1:16 maximum, a 1:20 maximum, or a range in between. Some commenters opposed a lower slope and shorter length due to the space impact of shallower ramps and additional intermediate landings. A few commenters deferred to the Board's ramp study.

Response. Alternate specifications for ramps based on children's strength and stamina are not included in the final rule. Further study is considered necessary to determine whether alternative criteria are necessary for children with disabilities.

4.15 Drinking Fountains and Water Coolers.

This section of the rule modifies ADAAG 4.15 (Drinking Fountains and Water Coolers) by providing an exception for drinking fountains used primarily by children ages 12 and younger. ADAAG 4.15.5(1) requires that drinking fountains cantilevered from walls or posts provide knee clearance (27 inches minimum) and toe clearance (9 inches minimum) below the unit for a forward approach. Under the exception provided in the final rule, these clearances are not required at units designed for use primarily by children ages 12 and younger so long as space for a parallel approach is provided and the spout is no higher than 30 inches from the ground or floor surface. This differs from the proposed rule, which specified a maximum spout height of 30 inches but also required a minimum knee clearance of 24 inches and a minimum toe clearance of 12 inches.

Comment. Comment was sought on whether products are currently available that meet the proposed specifications and, if not, information was requested on conflicting product or design specifications (Question 9). Several comments indicated that products meeting the proposed specifications are available but did not specify a type or model. Several other commenters, including a manufacturer of drinking fountains, stated that refrigerated units that meet the criteria are not available. The main conflict is the required knee and toe clearances which do not permit space for the refrigeration system below units mounted to provide a 30 inch spout height. Non-refrigerated units may meet these requirements if a remote chiller is used. According to the manufacturer, units with a refrigeration system located both above and below the top of the unit could be developed although the costs and volume potential for such units are not currently known.

Response. The final rule does not require knee and toe clearance below units mounted at children's heights (30 inch maximum spout height) so long as space for a parallel approach complying with 4.2.4 is provided. While a forward approach is preferred for easier access, this exception is provided due to remaining questions about the availability of complying products and the impact of possible design and product solutions that, in effect, may discourage provision of drinking fountains at children's heights.

4.16 Water Closets.

This section of the rule modifies ADAAG 4.16 (Water Closets) by providing an exception for water closets used primarily by children ages 12 and younger. Under this exception, compliance with 4.16.7 (Water Closets for Children), is permitted as an alternative to the specifications in sections 4.16.2 through 4.16.6. This subsection tracks 4.16 (Water Closets) in providing requirements for clear floor space, the height of water closets, grab bars, flush controls and dispensers and provides specifications from the proposed rule derived from the CAH study. Most of these provisions provide specifications as a range. An appendix note provides additional guidance on applying these specifications according to three age groups: 3 and 4, 5 though 8, and 9 through 12.

Comment. The proposed rule provided specifications for water closets in a chart according to three age groups: 2 through 4, 5 through 8, and 9 through 12. The Board sought information on alternate specifications that would singularly serve children ages 2 through 12 (Question 10). Comments did not recommend alternative specifications but did question the need to include requirements for children 2 to 4 years old since children of this age, including those without disabilities, may need adult assistance in using water closets. Several considered different specifications based on three age groups confusing and urged simplification of this section.

Response. In the final rule, the specifications for the three age groups have been combined into a single range for simplicity. An appendix note to 4.16.7 provides guidance in applying these specifications according to the three age groups. In addition, the youngest age range has been changed from "2 to 4 years" to "3 and 4 years." However, this appendix information is advisory so that the specifications for this table can be applied to water closets serving children younger than three years as appropriate.

4.16.7(1) Clear Floor Space.

Section 4.16.7(1) (Clear Floor Space) requires that water closets which are not located in stalls comply with Figure 28 except that the centerline of the water closet shall be 12 inches minimum to 18 inches maximum from the side wall or partition. ADAAG specifications based on adult dimensions in 4.16.2 require a centerline placement of 18 inches absolute. An appendix note to 4.16.7 recommends a centerline placement of 12 inches for children ages 3 and 4, 15 inches for children ages 5 through 8, and 15 to 18 inches for children ages 9 through 12. These specifications are the same as those in the proposed rule. Few comments addressed this requirement.

4.16.7(2) Height.

Section 4.16.7(2) (Height) specifies that the height of water closets be 11 to 17 inches measured to the top of the toilet seat and prohibits seats that are sprung to return to a lifted position. ADAAG 4.16.3 (Height) requires a height of 17 to 19 inches for water closets serving adults. The appendix recommends a seat height of 12 inches for ages 3 and 4, 12 to 15 inches for ages 5 through 8, and 15 to 17 inches for ages 9 through 12. These specifications are consistent with those of the proposed rule.

4.16.7(3) Grab Bars.

Section 4.16.7(3) (Grab Bars) requires that grab bars be provided on the side and rear wall at toilets as shown in Figure 29 but requires a mounting height of 18 to 27 inches instead of 33 to 36 inches as is specified for adults. The rear grab bar is required to be at least 36 inches long. An appendix note recommends a grab bar height between 18 to 20 inches for ages 3 and 4, 20 to 25 inches for ages 5 though 8, and 25 to 27 inches for ages 9 through 12.

Comment. The heights specified for grab bars will conflict with most tank-type water closets. The proposed rule asked whether tank-type models are commonly used in facilities serving children and requested information on the cost difference between water closets with tanks and those without (Question 11). A majority of commenters indicated that water closets with tanks are rarely used in children's facilities because of maintenance and safety considerations. Some commenters noted that water closets with tanks are typically used where the water pressure is insufficient to use water closets with flush valves. A few noted that facility capacity, operation, and maintenance policies may be a factor in this determination as well. Of the few comments providing cost estimates, there was little consensus. Estimates included a 100 percent increase in the cost of water closets without tanks while another considered the cost to be about the same. One designer suggested a $300 to $400 cost increase, including installation, in the use of water closets without tanks. A few commenters indicated that complying products with tanks are available.

Response. A rear grab bar is essential for access to water closets. While there may be a cost increase in the use of complying models with tanks or models without tanks, such an impact will occur only in those limited instances where a standard tank-type model is preferred. The requirement for rear grab bars has been retained in the final rule.

Comment. The proposed rule asked whether the grab bar heights specified for children conflict with any building or plumbing code requirements for flush control location, size, or height (Question 12). Most comments indicated that a rear grab bar mounted at the proposed heights will conflict with industry standards for flush controls rather than building or plumbing codes. According to commenters, standard flush control design requires a clearance of approximately 14 to 17 inches above the top of the toilet seat (which includes approximately 3 inches for maintenance and replacement). Several comments recommended design solutions including concealing the flush valve unit in the wall or plumbing chase or splitting the rear grab bar.

Response. An exception is provided in the final rule that allows the rear grab bar to be split or to be shifted to the open side of the water closet where the flush control location required by administrative authorities conflicts with the grab bar. Since water closets designed for children may be located closer to the side wall (12 to 18 inches centerline), splitting the rear grab bar may not always be practicable. Consequently, this exception permits a shorter rear grab bar 24 inches long minimum on the open side of the toilet area at water closets with a centerline placement below 15 inches.

Comment. The proposed rule specified a 1 to 1¼ inch diameter for grab bars, which differs from the 1¼ to 1½ inch diameter ADAAG requires for adults in ADAAG 4.26 (Handrails, Grab Bars, and Tub and Shower Seats). With respect to handrails at ramps and stairs, the proposed rule asked whether this should be specified as an outer diameter since industry practice specifies pipe size by the inner diameter (Question 8). Under a 1¼ inch specification, this could lead to an outer diameter of 1? inches. Commenters supported an outer diameter specification of 1 to 1¼ inches but an equal number either preferred the 1¼ to 1½ inch range or suggested allowing a 1? inch outer diameter. One commenter noted that a 1½ inch diameter is better for children ages 5 through 12 but did not include any supporting data. The vast majority of comments stressed that the specification should address the outer diameter of handrails so that there is less ambiguity in the use of pipe.

Response. The proposed requirement for a 1 to 1¼ inch grab bar diameter has not been retained in the final rule. The requirement for grab bars in 4.16.7(3) references ADAAG 4.26, which specifies a 1¼ to 1 ½ inch diameter for grab bars and handrails. ADAAG Figure 39 indicates that this applies to the outer diameter; however standard pipe sizes designated by the industry as 1¼ inch to 1½ inch are acceptable. A requirement for handrails designed for children at ramps and stairs has not been included in the final rule.

Comment. Some building codes require grab bars to have textured surfaces. The proposed rule asked whether grab bars for children should be textured and, if so, which types of texturing are most effective (Question 13). Most comments supported such a requirement and recommended knurled or peened textures, standard brush finishes, and rubber covering. Several comments noted that some textures are hard to clean and may not meet sanitation requirements. One comment from a local disability group stated that further study was needed.

Response. Further information is needed on the appropriateness and effectiveness of various textures before requiring grab bars to be textured. A requirement for texturing is not included in the final rule.

4.16.7(4) Flush Controls.

Section 4.16.7(4) (Flush Controls) requires flush controls for water closets serving children to be hand operated or automatic and meet requirements for controls and operating mechanisms in ADAAG 4.27.4 (Operation). It also specifies that flush valves must be mounted on the wide side of the toilet no more than 36 inches above the floor. The proposed rule required that flush controls be located within the reach ranges proposed for three age groups: a maximum 36 inch height at water closets serving children ages 2 through 4, a 40 inch height at those serving children ages 5 through 8, and a 44 inch maximum height at those serving children ages 9 through 12.

Comment. The proposed rule asked whether these heights conflict with any plumbing codes, industry practices, or design practices (Question 14). Most commenters responding to this question noted that industry conventions for flush controls will conflict with the requirement for grab bars mounted 20 to 27 inches high on the wall behind the water closet. Conventional flush control design requires a clearance above the toilet seat of approximately 14 to 17 inches according to several comments.

Response. The final rule specifies a maximum height of 36 inches for flush controls at water closets serving children 12 and younger and does not recognize higher heights for older children within this age range. Since information from commenters indicates that this height will not conflict with plumbing or design and industry practices, this change has been made for easier access and simplicity. An exception to the requirement for rear grab bars has been provided to address conflicts between industry conventions for flush controls and rear grab bars. See 4.16.7(3) (Grab Bars) above.

4.16.7(5) Dispensers.

Section 4.16.7(5) (Dispensers) requires toilet paper dispensers to be 14 to 19 inches above the finished floor measured to the dispenser centerline and prohibits those that control delivery or that do not provide continuous paper flow. ADAAG 4.16.6 (Dispensers) requires a 19 inch minimum height at water closets designed for adults. The appendix recommends a dispenser height of 14 inches for ages 3 and 4, 14 to 17 inches for ages 5 through 8, and 17 to 19 inches for ages 9 through 12. Few comments addressed these specifications and no substantive changes have been made in the final rule.

4.17 Toilet Stalls.

This section of the rule modifies ADAAG 4.17 (Toilet Stalls) by providing an exception for toilet stalls used primarily by children ages 12 and younger. Under this exception, compliance with 4.17.7 (Toilet Stalls for Children) is permitted as an alternative to specifications in 4.17 based on adult dimensions. This subsection is modeled after 4.17.2 through 4.17.6 in providing requirements for water closets, stall size and arrangement, toe clearances, doors, and grab bars. The specifications it contains are derived from the CAH study and were included in the proposed rule. An appendix note to 4.17.7 references recommendations in A4.16.7 for water closets, grab bars, and dispensers based on three age groups: 3 and 4, 5 through 8, and 9 through 12.

4.17.7(1) Water Closets.

Section 4.17.7(1) (Water Closets) requires water closets to comply with 4.16.7 (Water Closets for Children).

4.17.7(2) Size and Arrangement.

Section 4.17.7(2) (Size and Arrangement) is consistent with ADAAG requirements for stalls based on adult dimensions in 4.17.3 (Size and Arrangement) except for water closet placement and minimum stall depth. In stalls designed for use primarily by children, the centerline of water closets is required to be 12 to 18 inches from the side wall or partition. This is consistent with the requirement for children's water closets not located in stalls at 4.16.7(1). It also requires a minimum depth for standard stalls of 59 inches, including where a wall-mounted water closet is provided. ADAAG specifications based on adult dimensions permit a 56 inch minimum stall depth where wall-mounted water closets are provided since additional toe clearance below the fixture is available. This 3 inch "credit" is not permitted for standard stalls designed for children because the lower mounting height of children's water closets provides less clearance. The CAH study indicated that children using wheelchairs need a higher clearance because their footrests are set higher from the floor than an adult's footrests. This requirement also applies to alternate toilet stalls required to be at least 69 inches deep.

Comment. The proposed rule asked for information on the cost impact of requiring a 59 inch minimum depth for accessible standard stalls serving children (Question 15). Several comments indicated that the cost impact is minimal.

Response. The stall depth requirements of the proposed rule have been retained in the final rule.

4.17.7(3) Toe Clearances.

Section 4.17.7(3) (Toe Clearances) requires that in standard stalls, the front partition and at least one side partition be at least 12 inches above the floor to provide toe clearance. ADAAG requirements based on adult dimensions specify a minimum 9 inch toe clearance. The 12 inch specification is based on a recommendation from the CAH study which indicated that children's wheelchair footrests are generally higher than those of wheelchairs used by adults.

Comment. ADAAG requirements based on adult dimensions do not specify a toe clearance at stalls deeper than 60 inches. The proposed rule asked whether the 12 inch toe clearance should be required in children's stalls deeper than 60 inches (Question 16). Commenters were evenly split on this question. Several designers noted that partitions are typically mounted from 12 to 14 inches above the floor.

Response. In the final rule, a 12 inch toe clearance is required for stall partitions without respect to the compartment depth. This additional maneuvering room is necessary within the confined space of toilet stalls because children using wheelchairs may not be as skilled in maneuvering as adults.

Comment. The proposed rule also asked whether a 12 inch toe clearance compromises privacy at water closets serving children ages 2 through 4 which may have a seat height of 11 to 12 inches (Question 17). Several comments stated that this would compromise privacy while a similar number said that it would not, with some noting that the angle of visibility is a factor. Some comments felt that privacy should not be compromised while others noted that this was less of an issue among children ages 2 through 4.

Response. The final rule retains the 12 inch minimum toe clearance. Where privacy is a concern at stalls serving young children, a seat height slightly higher than that recommended in the appendix for children ages 3 or 4 (11 to 12 inches) can be used.

4.17.7(4) Doors.

Section 4.17.7(4) (Doors) requires that stall doors comply with ADAAG 4.17.5 (Doors), which references section 4.13 (Doors and Doorways) and specifies maneuvering clearances. It does not include different specifications based on children's dimensions and is consistent with the proposed rule.

4.17.7(5) Grab Bars.

Section 4.17.7(5) (Grab Bars) requires that grab bars meet the requirements of ADAAG 4.16.7 (Grab Bars) and Figure 30 (a) through (d) but specifies a mounting height of 18 to 27 inches above the finished floor measured to the grab bar centerline instead of the 33 to 36 inches specified for adults. In the appendix, a cross reference is provided to A.4.16.7, which recommends mounting heights within this range based on three age groups: 3 and 4, 5 though 8, and 9 through 12. These specifications are consistent with those of the proposed rule except that the requirement for a 1 to 1¼ inch grab bar diameter has not been included in the final rule as discussed above at 4.16.7(3) (Grab Bars). An exception is provided where the required location of flush controls for flush valves conflicts with the rear grab bar. This exception is discussed at 4.16.7(3) above.

4.19 Lavatories and Mirrors.

ADAAG 4.19 provides specifications for lavatories and mirrors that are based on adult dimensions. Section 4.19.2 (Height and Clearances) specifies a maximum rim or counter height of 34 inches, an apron clearance of at least 29 inches, a minimum knee clearance of 27 inches, and a minimum toe clearance of 9 inches. Section 4.19.3 (Clear Floor Space) requires that the clear floor space below the fixture be 17 to 19 inches deep. The final rule provides an exception (number 1) for lavatories used primarily by children ages 6 through 12. This exception permits an apron and knee clearance of 24 inches minimum provided that the rim or counter surface is no higher than 31 inches. Specifications in the proposed rule for the apron clearance (27 inches minimum), toe clearance (12 inches minimum), and the depth of usable clear floor space below the fixture (14 inches maximum) have not been retained in the final rule. The proposed maximum height for the rim or counter surface of 30 inches has been increased to 31 inches. The final rule includes another exception (number 2) under which lavatories used primarily by children ages 5 and younger need not provide these clearances if space for a parallel approach is provided.

Comment. A number of comments indicated that a rim or counter height below 30 inches better serves young children. Most recommended heights fell within a range of 20 to 24 inches for children ages 2 to 5. A few comments noted that in child care facilities, exposed pipes can pose an entrapment hazard and enclosed cabinets are used to prevent such hazards.

Response. Since the standard height of lavatories designed for children 5 years and younger will not accommodate the specified knee clearance (24 inches minimum), clearances for a forward approach are not required at them if space for a parallel approach complying with 4.2.4 is provided. Under this exception, space below lavatories can be enclosed.

Comment. The proposed rule asked whether products are currently available that meet the proposed specifications for lavatories and if not, what the conflicts are with product specifications or designs (Question 18). Most comments noted that complying products are available, including wall-hung and counter top products. Several commenters, including a major manufacturer of lavatories, indicated that a 30 inch maximum height for the rim or counter surface and the proposed 27 inch high apron clearance would permit a fixture thickness of only 3 inches which will not allow adequate structural strength to be built into prefabricated units. In addition, a 6 inch bowl depth and a 12 inch toe clearance leave only 12 inches for two supply pipes, one drain, and a stopper assembly. Information from manufacturers indicates that at least 7 inches is needed between the knee clearance and the rim or counter surface to accommodate lavatory bowls as currently designed.

Response. The proposed requirement for a 27 inch minimum apron clearance and a 12 inch minimum toe clearance have not been included in the final rule. According to the CAH study, a higher toe clearance better serves children (as is recognized for stall partitions in 4.17.7(3) above). However, the standard 9 inch minimum clearance will permit space needed for plumbing. To a certain extent, the height of toe clearance at lavatories is related to the depth of clear floor space below the fixture. Younger children will likely benefit the most from a higher toe clearance; however, their smaller stature may require less pull-up space below the fixture. The 14 inch maximum depth specified in the proposed rule has not been retained in the final rule. The 17 to 19 inch depth specified for this space in ADAAG for adults will maximize the clearance beyond the knee space at lavatories designed for children. The maximum height for the rim or counter surface has been increased from 30 to 31 inches in order to provide sufficient space for the bowl. Consistent with ADAAG specifications for adult lavatories, this will allow 7 inches instead for 6 inches measured from the knee clearance.

Comment. The CAH study recommended that faucets be located within 14 inches from the leading edge of lavatories so that they are within reach for children using wheelchairs. As noted in the proposed rule, the Texas State Building Code (section 2.1.1, Texas Accessibility Standards, April 1, 1994) requires a maximum 18 inch distance at lavatories serving children ages 4 through 11. The proposed rule requested comment on faucet locations no more than 14 inches from the lavatory leading edge and aside or in front of bowls and requested information on new technologies such as automatic sensors (Question 19). Most commenters supported the 14 inch maximum distance and a number advocated automatic sensor faucets. A few commenters supported location of faucets aside bowls. A lavatory manufacturer noted that there have been advancements in the technology used for automatic sensors and that they are easy to maintain, have very few internal moving parts, are less prone to vandalism, and have longer replacement cycles. A design firm noted that it currently specifies automatic sensors for children's lavatories. Several commenters considered the 14 inch maximum appropriate for children ages 2 through 4.

Response. Further information is needed on the appropriateness of requiring faucets to be located no more than 14 inches from the leading edge of lavatories designed for children ages 5 through 12. The specification in the Texas State Building Code suggests that while a 14 inch maximum distance will serve children ages 2 through 4, a greater distance may be acceptable for older children. Because alternative technologies such as automatic sensors are available, the location or distance of faucets has not been specified in the final rule. Additionally, ADAAG Figure 32 requires lavatories to have a horizontal depth of at least 17 inches; fixtures of this depth may permit rear-mounted faucets to be within reach for older children.

Comment. The proposed rule specified that the bottom edge of mirrors above lavatories be mounted no higher than 34 inches above the floor. ADAAG 4.19.6 specifies a 40 inch maximum height based on adult dimensions but recommends full length mirrors to accommodate the broadest range of people, including ambulatory persons, people using wheelchairs, and children. The CAH study recommended full length mirrors, which are commonly provided in elementary school toilet rooms, as mirrors above lavatories are too high for many children to use. The proposed rule sought comment on whether full length mirrors should be required in children's toilet rooms along with clear floor space in front of the mirror outside the swing of doors (Question 20). A majority of commenters supported a requirement for full length mirrors. One design firm indicated that many schools are against placement of mirrors above lavatories. Some opposed or were concerned about such a requirement unless specifications on a minimum mounting height or mirror composition were addressed to prevent breakage. Several recommendations for a minimum mounting height ranged from 6 to 18 inches. A few commenters considered slanted mirrors to work well. One comment urged that any requirement for full length mirrors include appropriate specifications such as size and mounting height and that developing these specifications may require study. Several commenters supported a requirement for clear floor space at mirrors that is outside the door swing.

Response. Specifications for mirror size and height have not been included in the final rule due to insufficient information on what these specifications should be. A recommendation for clear floor space 30 by 48 inches for a forward approach at mirrors that is outside the swing of doors has been added to the appendix note to 4.19.6 which addresses full length mirrors. The appendix also recommends that mirrors located above lavatories designed for children be mounted either at a maximum height of 34 inches (measured from the floor to the bottom edge of the reflecting surface) or at the lowest mounting height permitted by fixtures and related elements.

4.24 Sinks.

ADAAG provides technical requirements for sinks based on adult dimensions in 4.24 (Sinks) but does not apply them or indicate which sinks must meet this criteria. The CAH study provided recommendations for sinks designed for children. Like those for lavatories, these recommendations included a maximum rim or counter height of 30 inches and a knee clearance at least 24 inches high. The final rule provides an exception (number 1) for sinks designed for use primarily by children ages 6 through 12. This exception, located at 4.24.3 (Knee Clearance), permits a knee clearance of 24 inches instead of 27 inches provided that the rim or counter height is no higher than 31 inches. These specifications are consistent with those provided for lavatories serving children in 4.19.2. The final rule includes another exception (number 2) under which lavatories used primarily by children ages 5 and younger need not provide these clearances if space for a parallel approach is provided.

Comment. The proposed rule noted that standard mounting heights for sinks serving young children may be 24 to 26 inches high according to some state requirements for educational facilities and asked whether product or design solutions are available that meet both the CAH recommendations and specifications appropriate for standing children (Question 27). Several comments indicated that products are available that meet the CAH recommendations but they did not indicate whether they would also serve young children who do not use wheelchairs.

Response. Since the standard height of sinks designed for children 5 years and younger will not accommodate the specified knee clearance (24 inches minimum), clearances for a forward approach are not required at them if space for a parallel approach complying with 4.2.4 is provided.

4.32 Fixed or Built-in Seating and Tables.

ADAAG 4.1.3(18) requires that at least 5 percent of fixed seating and tables comply with 4.32 (Fixed or Built-in Seating and Tables). This section of the rule modifies ADAAG 4.32 by providing an exception for fixed or built-in seating and tables used primarily by children ages 12 and younger. Under this exception, compliance with 4.32.5 (Children's Fixed or Built-in Seating and Tables) is permitted as an alternative to the specifications in sections 4.32.2 through 4.32.4. Section 4.32.5 provides requirements for seating, knee clearance, and table or counter height. An exception to 4.32.5 is provided in the final rule for tables or counters used primarily by children ages 5 and younger. Under this exception compliance with the requirements of 4.32.5 is not required if wheelchair space parallel to tables and counters is provided.

4.32.5(1) Seating.

This provision requires that wheelchair space be provided at fixed tables or counters and that this clear floor space not overlap knee space by more than 19 inches. This provision is consistent with 4.32.2 (Seating).

4.32.5(2) Knee Clearances.

This provision requires that where wheelchair seating space is provided at tables or counters, knee space at least 24 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep be provided. This requirement differs from 4.32.3 (Knee Clearances), which specifies a minimum knee clearance of 27 inches.

4.32.5(3) Height of Tables or Counters.

This section requires that the tops of accessible tables and counters be 26 to 30 inches above the finish floor or ground. This is different from 4.32.4 (Height of Tables or Counters) which specifies a table or counter top height of 28 to 34 inches.

Comment. Several comments advised that lower heights within a range of 16 to 20 inches are often preferred or specified for children 2 to 4 years old.

Response. The exception provided in 4.32.5 for tables and counters used primarily by children ages 5 and younger permits lower surface heights where clear floor space complying with 4.2.4 parallel to the table or counter is provided.