2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

We have received numerous requests for clarification due to an editorial change concerning the maximum allowable force to operate door hardware when the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design became effective in March of 2012.

Prior to the 2010 edition the ADA standards required door hardware to have “a shape that is easy to grasp, and does not require tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate.” The wording does not reference any other section nor does it mention a force limitation. A paragraph relative to door opening force, which is different than operational force, stated that interior, non-fire-rated doors must have a maximum opening force of 5 pounds, but clarified the statement by stating, “These forces do not apply to the force required to retract latch bolts or disengage other devices that may hold the door in a closed position.”

Section 404.2.7 on door hardware reads: “Door and Gate Hardware. Handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operable parts on doors and gates shall comply with 309.4. Operable parts of such hardware shall be 34 inches (865 mm) minimum and 48 inches (120 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground. Where sliding doors are in the fully open position, operating hardware shall be exposed and usable from both sides.”

By referencing paragraph 309.4 a limit for the operational force was established: 309.4 “Operation. Operable parts shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2N) maximum.”

After much discussion throughout the industry, this change has been challenged as being unsafe and steps have been taken by the industry to correct this oversight in the A117.1 Code.

The below excerpt is from the Third Public Review of the ICC A117.1 – 2015 Edition Development and is shown as approved with no revisions by the A117.1 Committee.

4-23-12 PCI    404.2.6 Revise as follows:
404.2.6  Door Hardware. Handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operable parts on accessible doors shall have a shape that is easy to grasp with one hand and does not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate. The operational force to retract latches or disengage devices that hold the door in a closed position shall be as follows:

1.  Hardware operation by a forward, pushing or pulling motion: 15 pounds (66.7 N) maximum 

2.  Hardware operation by a rotational motion: 28 pounds (315 N cm) maximum

Operable parts of such hardware shall be 34 inches (865 mm) minimum and 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum above the floor. Where sliding doors are in the fully open position, operating hardware shall be exposed and usable from both sides.

EXCEPTION: Locks used for security purposes and not used for normal operation are permitted in any location.

The Builders Hardware Manufactures Association (BHMA) has attended the A117.1 committee meetings and has indicated that the new A117.1 Code is expected to be out by the end of 2016.  Past experience has shown that the DOJ defers to the ANSI/ICC A117.1, and in turn, the California Building Code will incorporate the same content.

We hope this assists in clarifying this confusing issue and the steps taken to remedy the situation.  We will keep you posted on when the updated ICC A117.1 Code is published.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your local sales representative or Hager Companies.