ADA stands for The Americans with Disabilities Act, or a law that was put into practice by the United States Congress in 1990. President George H. W. Bush signed this act into law on July 26, 1990. It’s been a law for a little over two decades, although minor changes were made later and effective January 1, 2009. Basically The Americans with Disabilities Act provide guidelines for a product (in our case, doors and door hardware) to meet requirements and rules to make it safe and easy for people with disabilities. Not all door hardware is ADA compliant; although some hardware may fit every rule they may not have the stamp of ADA approval. Generally ADA compliant hardware is in the commercial hardware section, but there are more residential style brands that meet these requirements like some of Weslock’s Levers for example – you will see the ADA symbol marked on the pages of the hardware.
More and more building codes are specifically asking for ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant products. New laws are being incorporated into building codes to allow people with disabilities, such as people using wheel chairs, scooters, walkers or any other sort of disability that limits mobility, more access as well as travel buildings in a much safer way.
Door hardware such as door closers need to meet ADA requirements of strength and size. To be ADA compliant, an interior door can not open with an opening force of more than 5 pounds. Door Hardware handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operating devices on accessible doors should have a simple shape that is easy to grip with one single hand and it should not require tight grasping twisting of the wrist to operate. Levers must have a push type mechanism, U-shaped handles designs are acceptable. For sliding doors – when the sliding doors are opened fully, the hardware must be exposed and usable from both sides of the sliding door. Hardware for accessible doorways should be mounted no higher than 48 inches from the floor. Entrance doors should be connected by an accessible route to all spaces or elements within the building, and to accessible parking and passenger loading zones, public streets or sidewalks if available.
For more guidelines check here.