ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that ADA-compliant locks will be easy to open by anyone, including people with disabilities. The Act was established in 1990. All the new buildings and adapted older architecture should be modified to be accessible for wheelchair users and people with disabilities such as visual or hearing impairment. The Act was passed to ensure that people with disabilities can access all public buildings and that employers guarantee that the place of work is accessible to all employees, including the ones with disabilities.
What Is an ADA Compliant Lock?
ADA regulations require that all door levers and locks on commercial buildings like schools, cinemas, and restaurants need to be manufactured in such a way as to make it possible for easy access to all their patrons, including people with disabilities. Visually, the ADA compliant lock should look the same or very close to those that are non-compliant.
There are three non-negotiable features a lock needs to have to be classified as an ADA compliant lock.
- You need to be able to operate the lock with only one hand.
- You should not need to tightly grasp, pinch or twist your wrist to open the lock.
- It should take less than five pounds of force to activate the operable parts of the lock.
Door levers (door handles) must be designed so people with disabilities can easily operate them. Therefore, when choosing door locks, you must confirm that the lever size and the handle’s projection from the door will be accessible to all.
Most of the locks with lever-operated mechanisms, push-type mechanisms, and U-shaped handles are acceptable. Also, locks that can be operated with a closed fist or gripped loosely can be fitted. If the handle and lock you choose require a coordinated movement of hand and fingers to open, it may require too much dexterity for a disabled person to operate; therefore, such lock designs should be avoided.
What Does ADA Compliance Require?
To be ADA compliant, the design of the doors, locks, and door handles should comprise all the above features. Additionally, the mounted operable lock parts need to be between 34 inches and a maximum of 48 inches above the floor level.
Be cautious when fitting devices such as keypads to operate the lock mechanism because these devices require coordinated finger and hand movements. However, the ADA code does not state that this type of lock is not allowed.
The door should open easily and take less than five pounds of continuous force to open it fully, excluding the force necessary to open the lock or retract the bolt.
To sum up, ADA made it compulsory for builders and architects to pay attention to the locks and how they design their buildings’ entrance doors. Ensuring public buildings are accessible to people with disabilities provides a better quality of life for those struggling with normal daily activities.
Categorised in: ADA Compliance
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