The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to ensure equal access in all areas of life for people with disabilities. While you may not immediately think of showers as an item needing civil rights legislation, think again. Many standard showers designed for homes or settings such as gyms, schools, hospitals and the like are simply not accessible for people with impaired mobility or those who use wheelchairs. An ADA compliant shower is one that has been designed to have a low threshold (or no threshold) making it easy to step or roll in.
Shower Requirements for ADA Compliant Bathrooms
It’s important to understand the difference between an ADA compliant shower and an accessible shower. These two items are similar but not identical. A shower may be accessible to an individual with a disability without being in compliance with ADA standards. If you are purchasing a shower for your home, you don’t necessarily have to meet ADA standards. As long as the person using the shower can enter and shower safely and easily, the shower is accessible.
If you are outfitting a public facility, you do need to meet ADA standards, which are as follows:
How Do You Choose the Right ADA Compliant Shower?
Although you may not see ADA compliant shower stalls on display at your local home improvement center, you can find a wide variety easily by searching home improvement center websites, plumbing websites (e.g. Kohler’s), Amazon and others. You may want to start with a simple Google search for “ADA compliant shower” and go from there. This sort of search will enable you to compare dimensions, materials, installation requirements, costs and more.