‘Kitchens & Storage’ Category
Closet space, whether common shared storage for employees, or within mobility feature guest rooms in hotels, student housing, or public dwelling units, needs to be accessible under the ADA.
When remodeling a kitchen, what are some issues you might consider? We generally think of the appliances and locations, and then the countertop material and color. But there are additional items to consider if this is your forever home or if this is the one and only kitchen remodel you are thinking to do. So what are some issues to consider so the kitchen is useful as you age along with your house?
Sinks have many differing requirements depending upon how they are being used including types of approach, cabinetry below or not, and even the number required to be accessible. Following is a summary of different sink types and their uses that will hopefully shed some light on the issue and requirements for each.
One of the things that we may not pay too much attention to is counters – whether kitchens, kitchenettes, service, or work surfaces. Depending on the set up, we have either a side/parallel approach, or if we have knee/toe clearance below we can have a front approach. And certain portions actually require a front approach.
For some reason, storage requirements appear to be confusing for most people – either accessible storage is forgotten completely or adequate accessible storage is not provided. And there also are some ambiguous portions in the ADA which really do need to be better defined. Like most other things in Access, the requirements for storage depends on its use. In order for storage to be considered accessible, it needs to be within reach range, whether side or forward reach, and from a level clear floor space that is along an accessible route. If it has any operable parts then they are required to have 5 lbs maximum operating force and are operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The issue though, is the scoping – how much do we need? Below is a summary of different types of storage and their respective requirements.
So what do we need to know about access for kitchen storage? Since we are talking about ADA it would pertain to kitchens that are new or altered in employee lounges/break rooms, and new or altered kitchenettes or kitchens in transient lodging whether in the guest room or in a common space. It would also apply to kitchens in multi-family residences that are owned, built, or operated on behalf of a public agency both in the common space and in the mobility feature dwelling units.
A question comes up – just how far reaching is the ADA? Most of us understand it affects buildings. A number of us understand it affects our operating policies, such as allowing a service animal into all buildings including restaurants. A more enlightened group understands it even affects access to our websites. But what about the lowly appliance we all use – the refrigerator? Does that need to be accessible and if so just what is accessible for a refrigerator?