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36 CFR Parts 1190 and 1191 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines - Preamble (Discussion of Comments and Changes)

Comment. The proposed rule required back support to be provided that extends vertically from a point no more than 2 inches above the bench to a height of at least 18 inches above the bench and that extends horizontally at least 42 inches (903.3). Commenters recommended clarification on the permitted horizontal distance of the back support from the rear edge of the seat. It was also recommended that the criteria for back support, which were included in the specifications for bench size, be relocated into a separate provision specific to back support.

Response. In the final rule, the specifications for back support have been clarified and relocated to a separate provision (903.4). The Board has added clarification that the back support may be located up to 2 ½ inches from the rear edge of the seat, measured horizontally. This specification is similar to one provided for shower seats (610.3). In addition, clarification has been added that the dimensions for back support are measured from the surface of the seat.

Comment. Commenters requested clarification as to whether walls can be used to provide back support where the seat is attached to walls. Most of these comments urged the Board to clearly allow the use of walls in providing back support. This would be consistent with an advisory note in the proposed rule which made reference to "dressing rooms where benches are fixed to the wall for back support" (Advisory 903.3).

Response. It was the Board’s intent in the proposed rule to allow the use of walls for back support where benches are attached to walls. In the final rule, the Board has added clarification to the text of the requirement stating that benches shall provide back support or shall be affixed to the wall (903.4).


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