We are designing a cashwrap for a jewelry store and are looking at the height. Is a check writing surface required? If so… would it need to be 36″ wide @ 34″ high. If it is not required, can the cash register sit on top of the 36″ counter leaving 18″ clear on the side with a complete front to back 36″ height?

— Garron M.

ANSWER: The ADA standards requirements for an accessible sales counter such as the one you describe is as follows:

Side approach. 

Maximum: 36″ high. (34″ in California)

Minimum: 36″ wide when other non-accessible counters are provided that are 36″ wide or more. If other counters are less than 36″ wide, then the accessible counter must be as wide as the widest counter provided.

A separate check writing surface is not required, as it is part of the counter.

Width and depth only apply to the public or customer side of the counter.  The employee side of the counter is exempt under Title III.

Depending on what the public and employee side of the counter is designed to it is possible that a 36″ high counter front to back with 18″ clear to the side of the cash register to be compliant. The key is that the public portion of the counter must be as wide as all other counters, or 36″ min wide.  If the 18″ wide is on the employee portion of the counter then the 18″ width has no requirements.

– BradBrad Gaskins