Knee Clearance for ADA Compliance
The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design provide specific criterial for knee clearance. But what is knee clearance and when does it apply to an element?
Standard 306.1 [Knee and Toe Clearance] General, states, “Where space beneath an element is included as part of clear floor or ground space or turning space, the space shall comply with [Standard] 306.” Standard 306 provides ADA guidelines for knee and toe clearance at an element. The diagram on the right is representative of knee and toe clearance at a frontal approach to an element. Knee Clearance measurements pertain to handicapped individuals in a wheel chair making a front approach to an element. So what this involves is the actual space for the knees of a handicapped individual to go when they roll up to the element, such as a sink or water fountain.
Standard 306.3 provides guidance specific to Knee Clearance. Standard 306.3.1, General, states, “Space under an element between 9 inches (230 mm) and 27 inches (685 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall be considered knee clearance and shall comply with [Standard] 306.3. Standard 306.3.2, Maximum Depth, states, “Knee clearance shall extend 25 inches (635 mm) maximum under an element at 9 inches (230 mm) above the finish floor or ground.” Standard 306.3.3, Minimum Required Depth, states, “Where knee clearance is required under an element as part of a clear floor space, the knee clearance shall be 11 inches (280 mm) deep minimum at 9 inches (230 mm) above the finish floor or ground, and 8 inches (205 mm) deep minimum at 27 inches (685 mm) above the finish floor or ground.” Standard 306.3.4, Clearance Reduction, states, “Between 9 inches (230 mm) and 27 inches (685 mm) above the finish floor or ground, the knee clearance shall be permitted to reduce at a rate of 1 inch (25 mm) in depth for each 6 inches (150 mm) in height. Standard 306.3.5, Width, states, “Knee clearance shall be 30 inches (760 mm) wide minimum.” See the diagram below for a representation of these standards.
The diagram below is an example of this standard in a practical application.
So for people using wheel chairs knee clearance is a big deal. The most common elements I see where knee clearance is compromised is at public dining tables and public toilet room sinks. Toe clearance is related to knee clearance and will be discussed in a later post. Thank you.