Why do we need ADA and ANSI accessible bathware?

As some professionals in our industry may know, complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is required by federal law when it comes to their construction projects. Schools, hospitals, institutions, and even prisons are all required to abide by this law, which means you, as the professional, need to know “the why”.

Established as law in 1990 (ironically the same year this blog author was born), this civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This new law also created a need for the ADA/ANSI shower and bath units, which are also called “accessible” units. Created as a tool to assist those with disabilities in their daily cleaning rituals, shower and bath units following ADA/ANSI codes can include seats, grab bars, and other hardware to assist individuals as needed.

We at Preferred Sales, the manufacturer’s representative for Aquatic in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia know ordering product to meet specifications for ADA- or ANSI-compliant facilities can be confusing. With that said, our expert team offers the training and information needed to ensure you select proper bathware products to comply with regulations.

Luckily, Aquatic offers the broadest range of ADA-compliant product in the market. For this reason, architects, engineers, and contractors have turned to their products for years. Their manufacturing process is unmatched in the industry, and their offering of contractor-friendly products save on install time at the job.  

What makes an accessible bath or shower unit ADA-compliant?  

This is a common question we receive when working with engineers and contractors whenever building plans or codes state “Units must follow ADA compliance”.

ADA units are accessible showers designed for both residential and commercial applications to comfortably accommodate individuals with disabilities. These units can range in size and color and be completely customizable to meet individual preference.

Fully equipped ADA units will offer several must-have features. First, they will have some type of fold-up seat. Second, there will be a set of grab bars mounted horizontally along the back wall and the side wall opposite the seat. Third, a pressure-balanced mixing valve must be installed to both control water flow and balance water temperature at safe levels. Finally, a handheld showerhead with a slide bar for increased range in motion will be a requirement on most units.

Because there are so many options when it comes to accessible product, Aquatic offers detailed submittals for every order and job to ensure the end user gets the exact product they require in their facility.

There are several options when it comes to Aquatic accessible product

Aquatic manufactures several products to meet the various needs of ADA and ANSI installs. 

  • Transfer showers are the smallest of the options available in ADA product, typically only being 36” wide. Individuals in wheelchairs “transfer” themselves from their wheelchair to the seat in the shower. Grab bars mounted on the back and side wall opposite of the seat are there to assist in this process.
  • Roll-in showers are larger units, usually 60” wide, to fit an entire wheelchair for access to those who cannot be moved from the chair. These units are often purchased with a seat as well as grab bars. However, in some cases, an additional grab bar in place of the seat can be used and the unit will still fall under the ADA guidelines.
  • There are also shower and tub-shower options ranging from 36” to 60”-wide and anywhere in between. Low-threshold showers available in widths 42” to 48” allow for more movement and application. Tub-shower units are designed for individuals who still prefer a bathtub as an option. Both still require a seat and grab bars, pressure-balancing valve, and handheld shower to be installed to meet compliance. 

We recommend when choosing a unit to have everything factory installed to ensure codes are met and avoid damages when installing on site. Other options such as curtain rods, shower curtains, and soap dishes can also be added to the unit per individual preference.

Give our team a call if you need help selecting the right model for your upcoming job.