General Guidelines

by Marcela Abadi Rhoads, AIA RAS


The Americans with Disabilities Act design standards established guidelines to provide accessibility to commercial buildings and public accommodation facilities. The guidelines are general in nature, and even though they address most conditions, each facility is different. This chapter will address the general guidelines that affect the building types that you will find in the remainder of the book. Many of the figures shown in this book were taken directly from the 2010 ADA Standards. As such, their dimensions and nomenclature are shown exactly the way they are depicted in the Standards. The following figure shows the way the ADA delineates dimension and gives measurements.

Figure 104 Graphic Convention for Figures



A person with disabilities occupies a certain amount of space. The space is measured both in plan and in section. A person with different disabilities uses certain equipment for either mobility or wayfinding. A person in a wheelchair will require a certain amount of space, typically 30 inches x 48 inches of floor space (see Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1: ADA Figure 305.3. Clear Floor Space Required [for wheelchairs]. The space required for a wheelchair is a minimum of 30 inches × 48 inches, and when required, it should have a slope of no greater than 2% in all directions.

If there ...

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