BLOG 9: WHO KNOWS ABOUT ADA?

This past week, there was gentleman who came into Mees with questions about the waterproof shower system we carry called Wedi, and what we knew about ADA codes. I had asked him what his project was and he informed me that he was remodeling an apartment bathroom to be ADA compliant. He said the tenants of the apartment needed to be able to navigate throughout the space in a wheelchair. He had shown me his quick sketch of the shower and I saw that he did not have enough space for a five foot turning radius for an accessible wheel chair which is crucial for his  client. His stand up shower was only three feet in deep and four feet wide and he had a toilet sticking out from the right wall that took up close to two feet. As the toilet was protruding into the walk space, his options for fixing the issue were to orient the toilet in a different direction and change the plumbing, knock out the opposing wall to make for more width in the shower, drop his shower pan so he did not need to build a  small ramp for the wheel chair, or potentially water proof the bathroom and make the entire bathroom as accessible so his client did not have to squeeze into a tight shower. My boss and I reviewed our Wedi shower pans with him and the shower drain options. We sell three by five, five by six and five by seven shower pans which you can cut down to fit your shower better. We also have on center drains and offset shower drains both in circular and linear options.

One of his concerns was whether or not he needed 1 x1 inch tiles or if he could use 2 x 2 inch. If he used the larger 2 x 2 size tiles, he was concerned there would not be as great of a pitch to the shower drain, which could cause water to build up and not drain out. If he used the smaller  1 x 1 shower tile, he thought he may not have to change out the shower pan or drop it lower. As he was not 100 percent certain on all ADA codes, he shared with me that he really enjoyed doing this kind of remodel work  (ADA remodel) as he felt he was giving back and doing good in some form of way, he really wanted to learn how to properly build an ADA compliant space.To my surprise, he said he had contacted a number of sources to try to learn more about the standards and requirements, having contacting contractors and even officials who are in part of the ADA legislation. However, he struggled to get any solid help or feedback. I had suggested he get in contact with a certified interior designer, particularly one who specializes in kitchen and bath who has knowledge and experience in ADA accessible spaces. He exclaimed that was the best suggestion he has had yet. Moreover, he did not even realize that a wheel chair needed at least a five foot turning radius. While  I am still a student and am no expert in this area of design, I felt like I was applying what I had learned in school at work and was able to help someone else in the design work field advance on a job.

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