ADA Guidelines for Knee and Toe Clearance Under Elements

The 2010 ADA Standard provides rules for knee and toe clearance under elements. They specify that the clear space should be 11 inches deep at nine inches above the finish floor and eight inches at twenty-seven feet above the finish floor. These guidelines should be followed to ensure that people with disabilities can move safely and easily in and out of a building. The graphic on the right shows the minimum required space at the frontal approach to an element. Note that the clear space can overlap the knee and toe spaces.

ada knee clearance

The ADA STANDARDS for accessible design also provide specific requirements for knee and toe clearance. The rules for knee and toe clearance are contained in standard 306, which states that the space below an element must be a minimum of 760 mm (300 mm). The minimum clearance must be two inches deeper than the depth of the space above the element. As long as the space is six inches or more higher than the finish floor, the space below the element is compliant with standard 306 and is not in the way of the user.

For safety reasons, the minimum height of knee and toe clearance should be thirty inches or more. The width of the space must be at least 30 inches. The width of the space must not be more than one inch wider than the height of the finish floor. If the clearance is wider than this, it must be at least nine inches wide. The height of the surface should not be more than thirty inches. The minimum space is required when people with disabilities use a wheelchair or a cane.

The minimum clearance under an integral ICT should be at least 760 mm (30 inches) wide. This is in addition to the space under the knee clearance. If this space is smaller than the width of the door frame or the width of the toe space, it will be considered as toe clearance. This space is part of the access space. It must be at least six inches (635 mm) wide. If it is larger than the ADA-required minimum clearance, it must meet a standard for accessibility.

ADA STANDARDS for accessible design stipulate the minimum requirements for knee and toe clearance. These standards are stricter than local and state codes and mandate that the space underneath an integral ICT must be at least thirty inches (30 inches). As the width of the space below an integral ICT is often very limited, it is crucial to ensure that the space under the ICT does not impede the freedom of movement of a person with a disability.

ADA knee clearance standards should be adhered to in buildings. Depending on the height of the built-in ICT, the clearance should be at least 760 mm. Generally, the space under a built-in ICT can be reduced up to seventy percent if it is built to meet ADA requirements. The height of the built-in ICT can increase the height of the room by up to three inches.

Knee Clearance at Counter and Bar

Counter space for business, whether at retail or office level requires adequate room to accommodate counter stools and other items, at least counter height to accommodate long items placed on the bar or counter top, and at least floor length to accommodate waiting customers. This is especially true when the counter space is at a greater height than the counter itself, in which case the height of the counter itself can determine the height of the bar or counter top. It is this concern for height that contributes to the debate as to whether a counter height is sufficient space for a counter and the related concern as to whether a height-limit signage should be placed above or below the counter itself. Height-limit signs should be on the same level as the counter and bar height to maintain clear reading from both counter and bar height and to avoid confusion between the counter and bar height-limit signage.

City Attorney observation, height-limit signs, are usually installed at the front of the counter and/or bar height-limit signs are installed at the same level as the counter and bar height-limit signage. City Attorney review of location, and applicable laws, within the city limits are necessary to determine whether height-limit signs should be located in an appropriate area and under the appropriate conditions. Height-limit signs should not be installed where there is an unreasonable concentration of people, potential customers or potential hazard to others.

ada knee clearance at counter

To assist in determining the location and condition of counter and bar height-limit signs, it would be useful to take a look at state and local laws that pertain to counter and bar clearance height. As a side note, it might be helpful to have an observer or volunteer to help you with this process during your height-limit sign placement consultation. The purpose of a counter and bar clearance height sign is to distinguish customers from potential hazards, to limit the height of the counter or bar and to limit the amount of foot traffic that could result in a dangerous situation. In essence, a height-limit sign is necessary to create awareness and safety at the point of sale.