Highlights of the Major Changes to the 2009 Edition of ICC ANSI A117.1 Commercial Facilities


With more and more jurisdictions adopting the 2009 edition of the ICC ANSI A117.1 standard, we thought we would take a moment to point out some of the major differences between the 2003 edition of ICC ANSI A117.1 and the 2009 edition. As you probably know, many jurisdictions nationwide reference ANSI A117.1 for technical requirements related to accessibility features that are scoped in the applicable building code. Most (but not all) jurisdictions that reference ANSI A117.1 also scope accessibility requirements in the International Building Code. If your jurisdiction is enforcing the 2009 edition of A117.1 – there are some differences that you should be aware of and if your jurisdiction will be adopting the 2009 edition in the future, this article should serve to help prepare you for some of these forthcoming changes.

Given the amount of changes to the standard, this article will focus on those major changes that will primarily impact commercial facilities. The next edition of our newsletter will focus on the major changes impacting Residential Facilities (i.e. Accessible, Type A, Type B and Type C dwelling units). The following is not an exhaustive list of all the changes to the standard, but we have attempted to point out some of the major differences.

While too lengthy to cover in this article, note that the 2009 A117.1 standard also addresses courtrooms and recreational facilities (in the new Chapter 11) that harmonize with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 308.3.2
Obstructed High Side Reach

An Exception has been added that permits the height of washing machines and clothes dryers to be 36 inches maximum above the floor – as opposed to applying the 34 inch maximum height for an obstruction.

*EXCEPTION: At washing machines and clothes dryers, the height of the obstruction shall be permitted to be 36 inches (915 mm) maximum above the floor.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 406.3.2
Sides of Curb Ramps

This section does not require the painting of curbs adjacent to curb ramps, but note that if they are painted, the surface must extend along the flared portion of the curb.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 404.2.3
Maneuvering Clearances at Doors/Obstructions

This change prohibits the use of knee and toe clearances when determining the clear maneuvering space required at a door. It should help to ensure that door hardware access is not impeded and users don’t have to reach over an obstruction to operate the hardware.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 603.5
Diaper Changing Tables

Diaper changing tables were not specifically addressed in earlier editions of A117.1, but now, when they are provided, they will require accessible operable parts, clear floor space for a forward approach and the changing table will have to meet the requirements for an accessible work surface.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 604.7
Revised location for toilet paper dispenser

The location of the toilet paper dispenser must be measured from the rear wall as opposed to from the front of the water closet seat. The new provisions also modify the height and location of the dispenser depending on whether it is above or below the grab bar.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 604.9.3
Doors for Wheelchair Accessible Compartments

The location of compartment doors is now regulated in a new Table allowing additional design options if the compartment is larger than the minimum requirements for the size of the compartment.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 – 609
Grab Bar Clearance and Height

The exception below has been added to address the allowance of recessed dispensers to project ¼ inch maximum into the clearance above/below the grab bar.
New Exception 609.3:
2. Recessed dispensers projecting from the wall ¼ inch (6.4 mm) maximum measured from the face of the dispenser and complying with Section 604.7 shall be permitted within the 12-inch (305 mm) space above and the 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) spaces below and at the ends of the grab bar.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 606.2
Clear Floor space at sinks/lavatories

Where a parallel approach is permitted at lavatories and sinks (i.e. wet bars, kitchenettes, sinks used by children 5 and younger), the parallel clear floor space must be centered on the fixture.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 608.2
Roll In Showers and Alternate Roll In Showers

Roll In showers now require a seat that can be folding or non-folding. Alternate Roll In Shower seats must have a folding seat.
**Because seats are now required in roll in showers there have been changes to the grab bar requirements and controls in roll in showers as well.**

-ICC ANSI A117.1 804.5
Kitchens and Kitchenette Storage in Common Use Spaces

The requirement for at least 50% of shelf space in cabinets to comply with Section 905 has been deleted. This change is reflective of the difficulty in complying with the standard – especially within upper cabinets over counters.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 903
Benches in locker rooms, fitting rooms and dressing rooms

The clear floor space provided at the bench is no longer required to be placed at the end of the bench – allowing a parallel approach to the front of the bench.

-ICC ANSI A117.1 805.10
Track Crossings

Where a pedestrian circulation path crosses tracks, a detectable warning must be provided

Additional Changes/Additions Found by Chapter:

Chapter 4: There have been some modifications to Limited Use Limited Application Elevators (LULA’s) including the location and size of LULA doors and the inside dimensions of LULA Cars. Platform Lifts with doors on adjacent sides and the maneuvering and functioning within these lifts is also addressed, as are doors/gates on private residential elevators.

Chapter 7: There have been several modifications in Chapter 7 related to signs including scoping for the types of signs required to be accessible, additional requirements for Variable Message Signs and modifications related to Visual Characters and requirements for telephone entry systems.

Chapter 8 (Assembly Areas): New provisions and modifications have been included specific to Assembly Areas that address Wheelchair Space Locations and Dispersion.

Chapter 11: New Chapter with Recreational Facility technical requirements for pools, playgrounds, boating facilities, golf and miniature golf courses, amusement rides, exercise equipment & machines, fishing piers and platforms and shooting facilities.

Should you have any questions regarding the information above, feel free to contact Jennifer Perry, Compliance Specialist at jperry@accessibility-services.com.