Thats right NEVER allow a 36" grab bar in one of your restaurants ever again.
Let me explain; there's nothing inherently wrong with a 36" grab bar, and in fact, 36" grab bars are allowed by the ADA.
But I love Catch-22 solutions.
Solutions that help you comply with the requirements and leave no room for debate or lawsuits.
Take a look at this photo below:
You will see a 36" grab bar at the rear of the toilet, which is what the ADA requires,
The ADA also requires this grab bar to be installed a minimum of 12" from the sidewall (its not) and a minimum 24" past the toilet's centerline on the wide side (to the right of the toilet).
If your contractor, maintenance, or facility personnel does not install the 36" grab bar EXACTLY at 12" off the sidewall, it will rarely comply with the 24" requirement on the wide side.
So it has to be perfect, which never happens and typically gets installed between 10" - 11" off the sidewall.
This seemingly simple installation is then a barrier and violation of the ADA subject to a lawsuit.
Here is a rear grab bar ADA diagram:
Here is a side grab bar ADA diagram:
Notice that a 42" side grab bar is required, but the grab bar must also be installed 12" maximum from the rear wall AND a minimum 24" in front of the toilet.
Once again, the 42" side grab bar has to be installed EXACTLY to meet all of these requirements, AND the toilet has to be a maximum of 30" to the front from the rear wall.
Is your head spinning yet? This is asking a lot from the architects, contractors, and installers.
So here's the solution?
It's almost idiot proof!
It doesn't matter how far off the installer is; it's virtually impossible to install the grab bars incorrectly.
Even if they bury the grab bars next to the walls, they will still meet the ADA requirements and reduce your restaurant's exposure to an ADA related lawsuit.
I have been advocating for this for many years, trying to get contractors, architects, engineers, and suppliers to stop specifying or using 36" grab bars.
Instead, always use a 42" grab bar at the rear and a 48" grab bar at the side for all accessible toilets, and it will serve you well.
If you would like more information on this or the ADA restroom requirements for your restaurants, I have some great ADA details for you inside the QSR ADA Linked In Group. You can join and get them for free here
The number one thing you can do to reduce an ADA lawsuit in your restaurants is:
GET THE PARKING LOT RIGHT!
It's literally like ADA Lawsuit Repellent!
This one simple thing will reduce your exposure to an DA lawsuit by almost 50%!...45% percent to be accurate.
The vast majority of all ADA Lawsuits are related to inadequate or non-compliant accessible parking.
But what should you look for?
Well, take a look at this picture below:
You will notice a built-up curb ramp located in the loading and unloading access aisle or the cross-hatched area in the photo.
This is bad and is just screaming SUE ME!
This prevents access and is a significant barrier to those who deploy a ramp from their vehicles.
The fix for this is straightforward and cost-effective, considering the average ADA settlement is in the $15,000 range...each time.
In the photo below, you will see how our client corrected this and GOT THEIR PARKING LOT RIGHT!
Next time you are at one of your restaurants, take a look at the ADA parking stalls and look for this condition.
Once mitigated, along with a freshly painted van parking stall, updated signage, will reduce your exposure to an ADA Lawsuit by almost 50%!
Not to mention, make for a much more excellent brand experience for those with disabilities.
If you would like more information on this or the ADA Parking requirements for your restaurants, I have some great ADA details for you inside the QSR ADA Linked In Group. You can join and get them for free here