When you think of doors and locks, where does your mind go? For most people, it’s directly to securing entrances, exits, and valuable merchandise – rarely would you think about restrooms. Yet, failure to have the correct doors, locks, and hardware in your facility’s bathroom can cause major headaches ranging from customer complaints, to broken locks and partitions, to vandalism, to ADA and life safety fines. To drive my point home, let’s review some little-known facts about restroom doors and locks and the corresponding restroom solutions.
ADA compliance of restroom stalls doesn’t stop at the size of the area, its accessibility, or the required grab bars – it extends to the locking hardware as well. Handicap restroom stalls must have ADA compliant stall locks. Yes – such a thing does exist, and differentiating between compliant versus non-compliant locks can be a bit tricky.
Look at these locks for example. They look very similar, but while the lock on top is ADA compliant, the bottom is not. If you don’t want to wade through the sea of stall locks on your own, we recommend working with a knowledgeable vendor. Jacknob has a host of available ADA compliant options to choose from.
Single occupancy restroom locks take a beating – especially in restaurant facilities. The locking hardware needs to be able to withstand the heavy usage. This restroom solution is a simple one – use a Grade 1 or high quality Grade 2 lever set to secure your restroom.
Check out the lifecycle chart my co-worker Kaitlyn made on the life of a heavy-duty lever versus a light-duty lever. As you can see – while you may save money up-front by installing a low quality Grade 2 or Grade 3 lever set, you will pay for it in the long run with service calls and replacement parts.
There are instances where facilities need to be able to restrict access to their restrooms. We have heard countless stories of vandalism, drug use, and vagrancy in public restrooms – particularly in urban areas. There are a few restroom solutions available in today’s market. Kaitlyn wrote an in-depth article that covers the various restroom access control locks and the pros and cons of each.
The important thing to remember with these locks is that there is no restroom solution that is fully ADA and life safety compliant. You will need to weigh this against the problems you are experiencing to determine if a restroom access control lock is right for your organization.
Many of the partitions in today’s market are made of particle board core laminate or baked enamel and they tend to scratch or chip easily, which means they look cheap and reflect poorly on your brand image. To avoid these issues, we recommend specifying partitions of an alternative material. Textured stainless steel, phenolic color thru, and HDPE plastic are three great options, with HDPE plastic being the best. These partitions are environmentally safe, sanitary, never need painting, and won’t easily dent or chip. They’re water resistant, unaffected by high humidity or corrosive environments, and cannot delaminate. In other words, they will hold up to the run-of-the-mill abuse that partitions receive such as vandalism, cleaning, and general wear and tear.
Some jurisdictions require ADA compliant baby changing stations that have an assisted lift feature built-in to the station. Koala makes the KB208 station that has a concealed pneumatic cylinder and hinge that provide controlled slow opening and closing of the bed. When installed properly, it (along with a host of other Koala baby changers) meets the ADA requirements for maximum reach as well as Braille operating instructions.
Are you struggling restroom solutions for issues we didn’t cover? Feel free to let us know in the comments and we’ll get some answers for you!