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ADAAG Manual

Note: This document, portion of document or referenced document was published prior to the 2010 ADA Standards, and all or part of this information may only apply to Safe Harbored elements.

Controls and Operating Mechanisms [4.27]

Scoping [4.1.3(13)]

ADAAG covers elements that are fixed or built-in, including those bolted to floors or walls. Compliance is recommended for freestanding equipment, such as vending machines. Controls and operating mechanisms intended for use only by employees for job-related tasks are not required to comply (although compliance will help accommodate employees). The following life safety elements illustrate the coverage of this section:

element compliance
alarm pull stations required as fixed element for common use by building occupants
fire extinguisher cabinets required for the fixed portion (cabinet); recommended for the non-fixed portion (extinguisher) where possible
alarm command stations not required since they are used only by employees or trained emergency personnel

Clear Floor Space [4.27.2]

Clear floor space for a forward or side approach is required at controls, dispensers, receptacles, and other operable equipment as specified in 4.2; those recessed within niches or alcoves may require additional maneuvering space depending on the recess depth (see page 17). Recommendation:Operable parts approximately centered on the clear floor space are generally easier to reach.

Height [4.27.3]

The operable portions of controls and operating mechanisms must be within established reach ranges for either a forward or side reach as required in 4.2.5 and 4.2.6 (see pages 18 and 19). Note the reduced maximum height for reaches over obstructions beyond certain depths. This is important where controls and switches are mounted on walls above counters. The maximum reach height pertains to the highest operable portion of controls and operating mechanisms and includes coin slots or credit card slots.

Diagram showing required and preferred height requirements at vending machines and controls

Electrical outlets must be at least 15 inches high. Connections for equipment not intended for regular use by building occupants, such as receptacles for wall-mounted clocks and refrigerators, are not required to comply.

Operation [4.27.4]

Controls and operating mechanisms must:

  • be automatic or operable with one hand

  • operate without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist

  • require no more than 5 lb force to activate

Mechanisms that can be operated with a closed fist will generally satisfy these criteria.