Accessible showers are required in bathing facilities. Some of those showers require that seat be provided. Many times It is not clear where they are require and whether or not they are supposed to be permanent or provided on an as needed basis. This newsletter will explain when they are required and properties they must possess.
Shower Seat: Scoping
There are two types of showers: Transfer showers and roll in showers. Transfer showers are one’s people with mobility impairment will “transfer” onto. Roll in showers are the ones that a person in a wheelchair will roll their wheelchair into.
ADA Section 608.4 requires permanent shower seats in transfer showers.
a) These must be either folding or not folding seat.
b) The only exception is at residential dwelling units required to comply with ADA (not Fair Housing). Reinforcement in the wall for the future installation shall be provided instead.
Roll in showers are not required to provide a shower seat per section 608.4. There are two exceptions where seats are required to be provided in roll in showers:
a) In social service establishments (i.e. homeless shelters) with more than 50 beds. (per DOJ’s Subpart D of 28 CFR Part 36)
b) And in transient lodging guest rooms with mobility features
1) If a seat is provided in a roll in shower, either by choice or because it is required as stated above, the seat must be permanent and folding. This allows a person to either use the shower as a transfer type with the seat, or as a true roll in shower without the seat in the way.
2) The same technical requirements must be provided as in a transfer shower with a seat (see next entry)
This photo shows a folding seat mounted in a roll in shower. The controls are located in the correct location, but there is a grab bar above it. A grab bar should not be provided where the seat is located.
This shower was intended as a roll in shower, but the seat provided is not “folding”, therefore a person in a wheelchair could not roll in and use it easily.
Shower seats: Technical
Sections 610.3 describes the types of seats allowed at showers. There can be a rectangular seat or an “L-shape” seat:
1) Where a seat is provided, the seat shall extend from the back wall to a point within 3″ of the compartment entry.
This seat did not extend from the back wall to 3″ of the entry
2) The top of the seat shall be 17″-19″ above the bathroom finish floor.
3)They can be rectangular meeting figure 610.3.1
This seat is 4″ away from the end wall rather than 1 1/2″ max
4) Or they can be “L-shape” meeting figure 610.3.2
5) The structural strength should be able to sustain 250 lbs of applied force on the seat, fastener, mounting device or support structure.
Roll in Showers
There are two types of roll in shower configurations allowed by the ADA. The shower seat location in these showers will dictate where the controls and grab bars will be located.
The Standard Roll in shower with seat:
The alternate shower with a seat
The photo above shows an alternate roll-in shower
Depending on where the seat is located, the controls must be located no farther than 27″ away from the seat
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