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Sinks Mounted Higher Than The Allowable Height And Not Enough Knee/Toe Clearance Under The Sink

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Americans with Disabilities Act


Top 20 ADA Compliance Issues Seen in Truckstops and Travel Plazas is back! Join guest post contributor Brad GaskinsThe McIntosh Group every month for a new installment in his monthly column.

/// Guest post by contributor Brad GaskinsThe McIntosh Group

Like most standards for accessible design, this standard boils down to one question: How can we ensure that all individuals, including those with limited mobility, can use this facility for its intended purpose?

In public restrooms, many barriers to accessibility arise, and one of the most common issues we see when we are out in the field surveying is the sink.

A person in a wheelchair must have enough space to be able to use the sink, reach its controls and the soap dispenser, and not have the danger of getting their knees or toes clobbered by protruding pipes or other objects.

Unless in a private restroom accessed only through a private office, every toilet facility must adhere to this standard (although, in a lavatory with multiple sinks, only one sink has to comply.)

Like most accessibility barrier issues, its best to consider this prior to building your facility. Depending on the sink design, it requires some forethought on the mounting height.  If it is mounted too high (above 34 inches) then a person in a wheelchair may not be able to reach the sink controls, soaps, etc. However, if it is mounted too low, it may not allow enough space for knee and toe clearance. The general rule there is that there must be 9 inches of clear space from the ground for the toes, and up to at least 27 inches of clear space for the knees.

There is a narrow window that allows both issues to be met, but requires accuracy during the installation of the sink.

On existing sinks that do not comply, there is no quick easy fix.  It typically requires the relocation of the sink, and depending on the design of the sink, it may require complete removal and replacement. Either way, you’re going to have to make an appointment with your general contractor.


Figure 306.3 Knee Clearance, 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

For more detailed information, see Section 606, Lavatories and Sinks, in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.


/// Read more Top 20 ADA Compliance Issues Seen in Truckstops and Travel Plazas posts here

Photo Credit: The McIntosh Group

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.

{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Allied member Brad GaskinsThe McIntosh Group. The McIntosh Group is an architecture firm focused on providing accessibility solutions for clients nationwide. Learn more about The McIntosh Group.

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About the Author

Brad Gaskins, AIA, CASp

Brad Gaskins, AIA, CASp

Brad has more than 25 years experience in the practice of architecture and a comprehensive understanding of professional practice nationwide. Brad brings a unique and valuable perspective to The McIntosh Group’s practice and clients, with a specific expertise in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and national building codes.  Brad has gained recognition as an expert witness for clients with ADA compliance complaints. He represents NACS, The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, as a full voting member on the International Code Council (ICC), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117.1, Consensus Committee on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. His objective is to share, with the committee for their deliberations, the potential impact of the standards on the convenience store and truckstop industry. Brad has an undergraduate degree in engineering and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Oklahoma. He is currently serving as president of AIA Oklahoma. 

Got questions about ADA guidelines? Let Brad help, he’s the ADA Geek.


The “Ask Brad” website educates visitors on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The site offers the knowledge of an architect, Brad, who has a specific expertise in ADA compliance. Visitors to the site are encouraged to submit questions regarding the ADA. Brad will answer the questions and post them to the site for all to take advantage. In addition to the Q&A section, the site offers timely information through instructional videos, white papers, articles and resource links.


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