Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

Commercial Bathroom Remodeling Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 15:01 PM

     Commercial bathroom remodeling Austin is supremely different than any fine bathroom upgrade involving a residential setting.  You have to consider the needs of the general public and not simply the needs of a certain set of employees involved at working at a business.   There are many guidelines and sets of rules to be considered.   Compliance with these regulations will be acheived by first hiring an experienced commercial building contractor.  Be aware that a true residential contractor normally does not possess the knowledge of the contractor operating within the commercial world of construction.  He simply does not use nor is he confident with all the commercial rules.   Meeting and understanding the ADA accessibility regulations as they pertain to all commercial buildings requires a certain skillset and experience.  A commercial contractor will possess the knowledge of the building's structure and composition along with the experienced ways of altering the construction to bring it into compliance.

     A completely serviceable special needs bathroom must contain an ADA accessible vanity.   The vanity must be one with a clear underneath scald protected area having an unobstructed roll under capability for wheelchairs.   A five foot turning radius allowing the wheelchair to maneuver an approach must also be associated with the ADA vanity.  The area of travel will then be enhanced by an unobstructed clear accessible barrier free route dedicated to reaching the vanity. 

     Whether the job concerns ADA remodeling or new construction, commercial or residential, the end result will always be the same in aiding those who no longer or have never had the choice of a means of locomotion.  Sometimes folks need a little help beyond the rest of us to be self sufficient and hold on to their dignity.  That's when the clear accessible route comes into play.  This designated route wil make it possible for those with special needs to enter through the front door and travel into any room of the structure without barriers like the bathroom. 

Fine Cabinetry

    There are basically two styles of ADA vanities that comply with an unobstructed roll under area below the sink.  This capability has everything to do with both the water supply lines and the main waste line connecting the sink.  There must be provisions made to protect the user from being scalded when coming into contact with any one of the plumbing pipes serving the sink.  These connecting pipes may become heated merely by the water passing through them creating the problem.  The open type model should always receive both waste and supply insulating jackets applied directly to the pipes providing protection for the wheelchair user.  The closed model concealing the pipes will be equipted with a removable face or face board covering the pipes.  This pipe concealing panel must be installed at the correct angle.  This allows for the needed unobstructed legroom required for the  user.  The vanity can extend beyond the sink but the area containing the sink is required to have this roll under capability.   This section of the vanity must not be any taller than 34 inches above the finished floor with sufficient lower clearance.  Clear unobstructed reach distances around the countertop area must be observed.  Any motion controlled sensors integrated into the various dispensing devices and/or plumbing fixtures throughout the restroom present a true hands free benefit to all the restroom users.  If these aren't in the budget then at least wrist handles used for controlling the faucet can be incorporated into the design of the vanity.  Furthermore, automatic flush valves should be used on all toilets and urinals that provide for hands free use.

       Regardless of whether there are special needs people working within a commercial building or not, we are required by law to make all the common areas ADA accessible.  Homes provide a different situation because the alterations are put in place for specific full time occupants.  The barrier free accessible route put in place must be observed as a means of life safety and function.  You just never know when a personal life changing situation can appear requiring help for those with special needs.  If one does occur we do have the means to offer aid and safety to those who have become afflicted in some unfortunate way and to help preserve their personal dignity and independence.


A Typical Commercial Bathroom Layout Representing Better Accessibility


Commercial bathroom remodeling for increased accessibility and ADA compliance in Austin, Texas


Increase Your Accessibility

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Commercial Bathroom Accessibility Modifications

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Feb 09, 2011 @ 17:02 PM

     All commercial bathroom accessibility modifications in Austin, Texas should always provide for total accessibility. Never take for granted your great fortune of having free and total mobility because your situation could change in an instant.  In effect plan for your unthinkable changing future no one could have fathomed.  This consideration should always take precedent when compiling your list of specifications not only to satisfy the legal ADA parameters but as a means of providing equal comfort for all patrons.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     There are numerous published federal, state, and local guidelines but your local municipality is the dominant entity to satisfy.  Federal regulations are a good starting point but these have been revised from state to state.  However all enforcement begins with the accessible route and ends at the bathroom in question.

Bathroom Upgrades

     Commercial construction professionals considering any fine bathroom upgrades should begin with the entry door.  Is the width substantial  for a wheelchair to enter and if so  does the closer make the door too hard to open for the impaired?  Once inside is there  adequate floor space for a 5' turning radius?   A typical one toilet  and one ADA compatible sink basic restroom measures 7 feet by 7 feet.  New commercial cabinetry at the vanity should be built to provide the proper top height and have roll under capability protecting against scalds from the plumbing pipes.  Other pertinent questions to consider include; is the urinal in a men's or unisex facility the correct height and is there room for access meeting all ADA guidelines?  Does the partition layout provide for at least one handicap stall with adequate room and entry and does it contain a comfort height toilet?  Do you have the correct grab bar configuration for the stall in question?

     Once these criteria are met you must now consider any dispensers for paper towels, soap, and toilet paper or any other fixed amenities.  Are they located at the proper height and is there a reach factor not taken into account?  Do you have blade handles to control the faucet at the vanity? 

     Compliant ADA accessible bathroom upgrades or remodels are no longer considered to be over the top or a needless expense.  You never know when you yourself might need help with your own bathroom needs following a temporary or permanent life changing situation.

An Accessible ADA Vanity With Roll Under Capability

ADA bathroom cabinets in Austin, Texas

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