New standards for accessible public washrooms
Many modern building codes have increased the number of accessibility requirements that need to be met for public washrooms. These new standards make our public places usable for a greater number of people.
Accessible washroom standards have been around for many years. Some of the common features include requirements for easy to operate doors and locks. In washroom designs that require powered door operators, integrated control systems have been designed to allow the door, electric lock and powered door operator to work together. When properly designed and implemented, an accessible washroom locking system is easy and intuitive to use for everyone.
When a person enters the washroom and allows the door to close fully, they can push a button labeled “Push to Lock” which will secure the door from the outside and disengage the outside door operator switch. To exit the washroom and reset the system, the user need only open the door mechanically, or by using the inside door operator switch.
Illuminated indicators inside and outside the washroom can be incorporated into the system design to alert the occupant and others that the door is locked and the washroom is occupied. This helps reduce attempts to open the door when the washroom is in use.
During an emergency, staff members can override the system by entering with a mechanical key.
Recent requirements may impact your accessible washroom solution
A more recent requirement in some areas include a “Call for Assistance” system that will allow a person inside the washroom to alert those outside that help is needed. System designers must pay close attention to the wording of the code(s) to avoid delays due to possible concerns of the inspector (AHJ).
The “Call for Assistance” system can be designed as an integral part of the washroom locking/power door system or it can be an additional and separate system that allows older installations to be brought in line with current code amendments.
You can get more details or order the K.M. Thomas Universal Accessible Washroom Electronic Locking System from our ordering site.
You can also get more details or purchase the K.M. Thomas Call for Assistance Kit on the same site.
Local codes often take precedence over the provincial or national building codes, so it’s important to be familiar with the building and accessibility codes that may affect a particular project.
For help with your next project please contact your local K.M. Thomas consultant.
John Kalnay, EHC K.M. Thomas Company Ltd.
Toll Free: 1-888-383-4105