Thursday, October 8, 2015

Heavy Door Closer Hardware is NOT Necessary

I am a person with a disability. I rely on a power wheelchair to get around. I also have a torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders. One will be operated on soon.

The shoulder issue opened my eyes to a huge barrier we have in this province. I can’t open most doors that don’t have power door openers installed on them.

The current AODA states that power door openers need only to be added to newly built buildings or in buildings undergoing extensive renovations. This will not accomplish the goal of making Ontario fully accessible by 2025. Besides, if people only rely on the AODA and not the impact of the Human Rights Code as well, people who install heavy door closing hardware are putting themselves at risk for some pretty hefty fines.

For this reason I decided to write this Blog. My eyes were opened one day when I took a trip to Montreal and found out the hotel room doors were super easy to open. They also closed quickly, but without enough force to hurt me or cause damage to my wheelchair. Here is an example of a spring loaded door hinge.



The tension can be adjusted with an allen key.


Picture of someone adjusting door hinge strength using an allen key


Some doors close so quickly and with enough force that I've had them knock my joystick right off the mount. It's not only expensive to fix, it's also dangerous.

In places where the hydraulic type of door closer hardware, such as the one depicted below, makes the door so heavy I can’t open it.  Even with adjustments I've rarely seen the door made light enough to independently open.

If I manage to push a door with this kind of door closer hardware open with my wheelchair to get in, the challenge then becomes I can’t get out. I’ve spent far too many times trapped in a washroom panicking because I can't open the door to get out.

This heavy door dilemma has led me to do some research. What I found was intriguing. This is not new news.

I found two government published Communiques, published in 1996, on this very topic. 

  1. A Communique, Questions and Answers - Door Closing Hardware for Residential Suite Doors that was written in 1996 regarding the Fire Code. It stated the door closing hinges had to be added to certain types of public buildings because, if an occupant ran out during a fire alarm and forgot to close the door, the fire would spread more quickly. 
  2. Another Communique, Self-Closing Hardware on Residential Suite Doors. It states that care must be taken to ensure that the doors are not too heavy for seniors, people with disabilities, or children to open them.

WHY ARE THE HEAVY DOOR CLOSERS STILL BEING USED?

My guess is, builders and building inspectors don't likely think about it. They don't likely have much exposure to people who are unable to open the heavy doors on their own. Hence the purpose of this Blog - to educate.

FACT: The spring loaded hinges are a lot cheaper to buy. Why not install them on doors that must, under fire code rules, close automatically when the occupant leaves?

Why not save money by not installing spring closers on the doors that are not required to have them by law? 

Knowledge of these Communiques must be spread far and wide. It will increase safety and accessibility for all Ontarians. Remember, the AODA is not the only law to abide by. Human Rights must be taken into consideration as well. 

Outside entry doors into a building will still require a power door opener, because a heavier hinge is needed to keep the door closed in the wind.

Comments?

Please read my other Blogs
Transportation: http://wheelchairdemon-transit.blogspot.com
Accessibility: http://wheelchairdemon.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Accessible Water Closets

Can you reach the grab bars and/or toilet paper? 


This link might help to educate: 
http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/english/2013/elaws_src_regs_r13368_e.htm


These are the exact specs quoted from the link above for Water Closets:

3.8.3.8.  Water Closet Stalls
(1)  Every barrier-free water closet stall in a washroom described in Sentence 3.8.2.3.(3) or (4) shall,
(a) have a clear turning space at least 1 500 mm in diameter,
(b) be equipped with a door that shall,
(i) be capable of being latched from the inside with a mechanism that is operable using a closed fist,
(ii) when the door is in an open position, have a clear opening of at least 860 mm,
(iii) swing outward, unless 820 mm by 1 440 mm clear floor area is provided within the stall to permit the door to be closed without interfering with the wheelchair,
(iv) be provided with spring-type or gravity hinges so that the door closes automatically,
(v) be provided with a door pull on both sides of the door, near the latch side of the door, located at a height not less than 900 mm and not more than 1 100 mm above the finished floor,
(vi) be aligned with a clear transfer space required by Subclause (2)(a)(ii) or Clause (2)(b), and
(vii) be capable of having the latch required by Subclause (i) released from the outside in case of an emergency,
(c) be equipped with a water closet conforming to Article 3.8.3.9. that is located in accordance with Clause (2)(a) or (b),
(d) Reserved
(e) be equipped with a coat hook mounted not more than 1 200 mm above the finished floor on a side wall and projecting not more than 50 mm from the wall,
(f) have a clearance of at least 1 700 mm between the outside of the stall face and the face of an in-swinging washroom door and 1 400 mm between the outside of the stall face and any wall-mounted fixture or other obstruction, and
(g) where a toilet paper dispenser is provided, provide a dispenser that is,
(i) wall mounted,
(ii) located below the grab bar,
(iii) in line with or not more than 300 mm in front of the seat, and
(iv) not less than 600 mm above the finished floor.
(2)  A water closet described in Clause (1)(c) shall be,
(a) located so that,
(i) the centre line of the water closet is not less than 460 mm and not more than 480 mm from one side wall, and
(ii) a clear transfer space at least 900 mm wide and 1 500 mm deep is provided on the other side of the water closet, or
(b) located so that a clear transfer space at least 900 mm wide and 1 500 mm deep is provided on each side of the water closet.
(3)  Where a water closet is located in accordance with Clause (2)(a),
(a) a grab bar conforming to Sentences (5) and (7) shall be provided on the side wall referred to in Subclause (2)(a)(i),
(b) a fold-down grab bar may be provided and, if one is provided, it shall conform to Sentence (8) and be provided on the side of the water closet opposite the grab bar described in Clause (a), and
(c) a grab bar conforming to Sentences (6) and (7) shall be provided on the wall behind the water closet.
(4)  Where a water closet is located in accordance with Clause (2)(b),
(a) a fold-down grab bar conforming to Sentence (8) shall be provided on each side of the water closet, and
(b) a grab bar conforming to Sentences (6) and (7) shall be provided on the wall behind the water closet.
(5)  A grab bar described in Clause (3)(a) shall,
(a) be continuous L-shaped with 760 mm long horizontal and vertical components, and
(b) be wall mounted with the horizontal component 750 mm above the finished floor and the vertical component 150 mm in front of the water closet.
(6)  A grab bar described in Clause (3)(c) or (4)(b) shall,
(a) be at least 600 mm in length, and
(b) be wall mounted horizontally from 840 mm to 920 mm above the finished floor and, where the water closet has a water tank, be wall mounted 150 mm above the tank.
(7)  A grab bar described in Clause (3)(a) or (c) or (4)(b) shall,
(a) be installed to resist a load of at least 1.3 kN applied vertically or horizontally,
(b) be not less than 35 mm and not more than 40 mm in diameter,
(c) have a clearance of 50 mm from the wall, and
(d) have a slip-resistant surface.
(8)  A fold-down grab bar described in Clause (3)(b) or (4)(a) shall,
(a) be mounted on the wall behind the water closet,
(i) with the horizontal component 750 mm above the finished floor, and
(ii) not less than 390 mm and not more than 410 mm from the centre line of the water closet,
(b) not require a force of more than 22.2 N to pull it down,
(c) be at least 760 mm in length,
(d) be installed to resist a load of at least 1.3 kN applied vertically or horizontally,
(e) be not less than 35 mm and not more than 40 mm in diameter, and
(f) have a slip-resistant surface.
(9)  A fold-down grab bar installed in accordance with Sentence (8) is permitted to encroach into,
(a) the clear turning space described in Clause (1)(a), or
(b) a clear transfer space described in Subclause (2)(a)(ii) or Clause (2)(b).
(10)  Where an ambulatory water closet stall is required by Sentence 3.8.2.3.(6), it shall,
(a) be at least 1 500 mm in depth and be not less than 890 mm and not more than 940 mm in width,
(b) be equipped with a door that shall,
(i) be capable of being latched from the inside with a mechanism that is operable using a closed fist,
(ii) when the door is in an open position, have a clear opening of at least 810 mm,
(iii) swing outward, unless the minimum dimensions in Clause (a) are not located within the door swing,
(iv) be provided with spring-type or gravity hinges so that the door closes automatically,
(v) be provided with a door pull on both sides of the door, near the latch side of the door, located at a height not less than 900 mm and not more than 1 000 mm above the finished floor, and
(vi) be capable of having the latch required by Subclause (i) released from the outside in the case of an emergency,
(c) be equipped with a water closet conforming to Article 3.8.3.9. and located so that its centre line is centred between the partition walls,
(d) be equipped on each side of the water closet with grab bars conforming to Clause (3)(a), and
(e) be equipped with a coat hook conforming to Clause (1)(e).
3.8.3.9.  Water Closets
(1)  A water closet described in Clause 3.8.3.8.(1)(c) or (10)(c) or 3.8.3.12.(1)(d) shall,
(a) be equipped with a seat located at not less than 430 mm and not more than 485 mm above the finished floor,
(b) be equipped with hand-operated flushing controls that are easily accessible to a wheelchair user or be automatically operable,
(c) be equipped with a back support where there is no seat lid or tank, and
(d) not have a spring-activated seat.
(2)  Hand-operated flushing controls required by Clause (1)(b) shall be operable using a closed fist and with a force of not more than 22.2 N.

Please:
  1. Use this information to improve the accessibility of your premises.
  2. Help by spreading the word.
With your help we can make Ontario accessible for all. Thank you.