Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Visual Inspiration: The tragedy of the poorly-planned toilet, Part 2

Poorly-designed toilet rooms make me sad. I'm sad because it's a waste of resources and building materials. I'm also sad because a poorly-designed toilet makes difficult for some of us the most basic and private of functions: going to the bathroom. Below is yet another example of an improperly-designed/built toilet room (photos taken at a gas station toilet room outside Estes Park, CO). Comments are below each photo.

Over and over, I see the same error: add some grab bars and the toilet room is now "accessible". There's nothing farther from the truth. Making a toilet room ADA compliant involves a series of space and fixture layouts and dimensions of various accessories in relation to each other and to the floor. The above shot shows some of these problems: the toilet paper dispenser is way too high above the grab bar, and the sink is located within the required clear space of the toilet. Also, the seat cover dispenser is way too high and it's above the toilet--both are no-no's. Further, the trashcan (albeit movable) is located within the toilet's clearspace. If you come in here in a wheelchair, pray you can roll up and hoist thyself onto the throne.

Here's the door from inside the toilet. The pull on the door is okay--it doesn't require grabbing, twisting, or pinching--but there's a metal box of some sort that seems to be in the way of the required 18" clear space on the pull side of the door. But what about that little locking mechanism above the pull handle? Well, it does require grasping, pinching, and twisting, which is not ADA compliant.

Mom is standing by the door to make another point about the door lock. Mom is 5'-4.5", so the door lock is maybe 8"-9" below Mom's head, making it about 56" above the floor. Unobstructed forward reach for someone in a wheelchair is 15"-48" above the floor, which means that not only is this door lock hard to operate if your hands are incapacitated in some way, but you'll have a tough row to hoe in your in a wheelchair and you pop in here for a quick dooky.


paul mitchell said...

The thing that bothers me so much about ADA is that it is so poorly thought out and ruins the opportunities to improve accessibility. Bad laws make for bad design.

ms. kitty said...

Even the loos at our local hospital and other medical facilities have gotten this wrong, at least in some of the toilets. It's astounding! Thanks for the explanation, Pixie!

Miss Kitty said...

ADA should be updated to include usability tests for toilet rooms. Whoever designs the toilet rooms should have to wheel themselves into a mockup of the room, and then see if they can use the bars in those funky positions to actually pull their own ass onto the terlet. I'm not even wheelchair-bound, and I can see from those pictures that there's NO WAY a person could get themselves out of a chair and onto the seat with just one easily-accessible grab bar. If the person in the chair could reach the one behind the terlet tank, then they wouldn't need a wheelchair, would they?

And the door handle? EPIC ADA FAIL.

clairesmum said...

even worse - a WC bound patient at the UROLOGY office practice discovered that there was NO toilet room that would even accomodate her and her husband so that he could lift/pivot her on and off the toilet! much less a large room with a high toilet and useful bars and room to bring in the WC and close the door. the office staff were peeved that she couldn't give them a urine specimen right away! and SHE was peeved when staff and MD refused to help her husband get her up onto the exam table - of course they didn't DO lifting, or have an adjustable exam table!
common sense FAIL.
thanks for letting me vent!