ADA Compliance for Accessible Showers and the False Cluster Factor – NATSO Allied Member Post

A common misconception about showers in truck stops is that at least half of them must be ADA compliant – similar to the standards for toilet rooms. Actually, that’s not true…ALL of them must be compliant!

The reason for the mix-up lies in the “cluster” factor. Section 213.2 of the ADA Standards states:

“Where toilet rooms are provided, each toilet room shall comply with 603. Where bathing rooms are provided, each bathing room shall comply with 603.”

Then there is a series of exceptions that apply to toilet room “clusters,” or groups of toilet rooms that “proximate” to one another. (A good rule of thumb here is that if you can stand in one spot and see all each toilet room, it’s a cluster.)

But it actually does not give this exception for bathing rooms. It’s easy to miss if you’re not reading closely, but though they are used together prior to this list of exceptions, “bathing rooms” are not included along with “toilet rooms” here.

Therefore, bathing rooms (which refer to both shower compartments and bathtub enclosures) are considered individual units, and each bathing room must be compliant.

Section 608 of the 2010 ADA Standards provides the specific guidelines for acceptable shower compartments. It is important to take into consideration the type of shower, as each category of accessible shower has its own set of codes.

According to the ADA Standards, standard roll-in type showers must have an area of 30 inches wide by 60 inches deep. The entry may be no less than 60 inches in length, with an adjoining 30 inch by 60 inch clearance space. If the shower contains a seat, the ADA requires that the grab bars be placed on the back wall neighboring the wall with the seat, maximum 27 inches away. If there is no seat in the shower, grab bars are to be placed on all three walls. The maximum height the shower spray unit, controls, and faucet may be located is 48 inches superior to the floor. Thresholds for roll-in showers may have a maximum height of ½ inch.

Figure 608.2.2 from the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Figure 608.2.2 from the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design









Alternate roll-in showers are required to be a minimum of 36 inches wide and 60 inches in depth. An entry of 36 inches in width needs to be at one end of the elongated sides. Grab bars should be installed on the back wall, which is the side farthest from the shower unit entry. There is to be no bar above any seat. Code for the shower spray unit, controls, and faucet is the same as a standard roll-in type shower.

Transfer type showers are to have a 36 inch wide entry, with a 36 inch by 36 inch area. A seat must be provided in transfer type showers. The grab bar should be placed along the control wall and to the halfway point of 18 inches along the back wall. The shower spray unit, controls and faucet must be placed on the wall opposite of the seat. The maximum height tolerated by the ADA for height of installation is 48 inches above the floor, while the minimum is 38 inches. Thresholds may be beveled, rounded or vertical with a maximum height of ½ inch.

Figure 608.2.1 from the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Figure 608.2.1 from the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design











If you have further questions about bathing room or toilet room requirements, submit a question to AskBrad and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!


Brad-Gaskins-3Brad Gaskins has 30 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 truck stop industry.

This post was originally created for the National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO). Read the original post at:



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