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Opinion: Reach range and clear floor space

Inquiry: 

99-06

Subject: 

Reach range and clear floor space

Code:

1341.0420, Subpart 4, Item A

Submitted By:

Building Codes and Standards Division

Approved By:

Thomas R. Joachim, State Building Official

Issue Date: 

July 26, 1999

Question:  

Is the clear floor space adjacent to an object required to be centered on the object when determining whether a forward or parallel approach is provided to the object?

Answer:

Section 1341.0420, Subpart 4, Item A states, "The minimum clear floor or ground space for wheelchairs may be positioned for forward or parallel approach to an object.  See Figures 4(b) and (c)." Figures 4(b) and (c) show a wheelchair user within the clear floor space accessing an object that is centered on the floor space. Therefore, whenever practicable, the floor space shall be centered on the object.

Division comments:

Chapter 1341 specifically states that the clear floor space shall be centered on the object for certain elements such as drinking fountains, telephones and lavatories. It is generally the intent of the code that this requirement apply to all elements, objects and operating mechanisms required to be accessible. However, there may be cases when centering the floor space on an object is not possible, such as the latching mechanism or pull handle on a door, or centering both the soap dispenser and towel dispenser at a lavatory. Although there are circumstances where it is not possible to center the floor space on the object, in the majority of cases it is possible and the floor space shall be centered on any object required to be accessible.

Approved by the Building Codes and Standards Interpretation Committee.

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