Based on ADA / Fair Housing Act and California Building Code. The architect must provide final specifications, direction, signoff, or approval. Inspection methods, interpretations or practices vary between municipalities. If there is a conflict between codes, the stricter applies. These codes generally apply to apartments, condos and timeshares but only to some rehabs (older units grandfathered), usually if they add space. Please note is a summary of our understanding and time tested practices, but our recommendations must be signed off by an authorized architect familiar with specific project requirements.
There are two levels of accessibility. Accessible means all units on 1st floor, accessible by elevator or by a same level parking structure. Both can be met by converting / adapting - in other words, a builder does not have to have handicap units with a lowered sink ready to go, they can adapt upon demand.
||Key Kitchen / Bath Requirements
"A" Fully Accessible (universal access)
In 5% of apartments of each type (1, 2, 3 bedroom)
60" turning radius, one shelf at 48", pulls as handles, 30" of lowered counter height, knee spaces
In all other apartments and all condos
60" radius on "U" shaped kitchens only, 30x48 clear spaces either direction, 40" pathways, knee spaces
Requirements for "B" Bathrooms
1. At least one bathroom in all "accessible" units must be "adaptable".
- Adaptable means cabinet can be converted upon demand by removing the floor and doors/fronts without the use of special tools or reconstruction (ie using common hand tools).
2. Adapted units must meet the following requirements for the cabinet and sink
- 30" unobstructed width clearance on the interior of the opening
- Total height, including countertop, not to exceed 34"
- Knee clearance at the front must be 29" and at 8" back must be 27".
- Sink center must be at least 18" from return wall (24" if parallel approach)
- 30" x 48" clear space centered on vanity required
- 18" or move from toilet center to vanity side
- Finish flooring installed under removable floor
- Hot plumbing must be insulated or shielded. No sharp edges allowed.
How to meet ADA codes with RSI vanities
1. Specify "VSH" series removable floor cabinet series that are 31.8" tall without countertop
2. VSH = Vanity Standard, Handicap, with 6" header. Removing doors and false front header leaves 31" of clear This method requires alteration at installation to make the header removable (cut dowels and install angle backets in back of header). Removing just doors leaves only 25.5" of clearance which will not meet codes.
3. VSFH = Vanity Standard, Full Door, Handicap, with 3" interior sink shield. Removing doors leaves 29" of clearance, no alteration required at installation. This product can only be specified on projects shipping after 10/1/08.
4. Specify 33" or wider sink cabinets with a 1.5+" filler to meet the 18" offset requirement
- If parallel approach is wanted, specify a 12+" drawer bank plus 33" or greater vanities
- You cannot use a 30" cabinet because of the offset requirement unless you make the whole cabinet removable between panel and still meet the offset with a filler.
Requirements "B" Kitchens
1. 30" x 48" centered clear space (both ways) in front of sinks, fixtures and all appliances, except ranges, which required parallel clearances.
2. 60" clear space radius on U shaped kitchens, 48" on other shapes, including U shaped with a sink centered at the end.
3. All sink base units must have removable floors with a finished surface below the removable pieces.
4. If the doors are removed on sink bases, clearance under the sink must be 27" or greater.
5. You must have 30" of unobstructed continuous (corners don't count) countertop access to allow re-positionable countertops or provide 2 each 15" minimum width breadboards.
6. 5% of accessible units must be prepped for a re-positionable sink and 30" of counter height at 28"-34" except if the counter is stone. If re-positioned, angled panel to hide plumbing usually required, and the newly exposed side anels have to match the front door finish., If countertop is stone, cultured stone or tile, the requirement is waived.
How to meet ADA codes with RSI kitchen cabinets
7. For sink bases, specify our Handicap sink bases, either the BSH series (falset header) or the BSFH series (full door). To convert these, clip off the doors and un-screw the bottom panel. This leaves 28.5" of clearance, more than the 27" required.
8. For re-positioning. Also specify the BSH series, but field modify by cutting the cabinet side panels at the bottom of the header and moving the back rail to the bottom portion of the cabinet. In addition, you need to mount the cabinet between 2 each AP2435 or two cabinets with hidden finished ends. To convert, remove the header and two sides and drop the countertop onto the remaining sides.
9. For 30" countertop. Make sure you have two 15:, 18" or 21" base cabinets with top drawers in the unit. Then specify matching workboard series AWB15, AWB18 or AWB21 which can sit on top of the drawers when opened, or in a slide out channel #AWBSC. Some builders required these in every unit; other builders require these to be delivered to property managers.
Additional Resources (Browser Search)
Americans with Disabilities Act, Appendix A Sections 4.16 to 4.26
California Building Code 2001 and Revised in 2007, Section 1133A and 1134A
For Reference Drawings, see
Fair Housing Act Requirement 7 Design Guidelines
North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design