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Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

404 Doors, Doorways, and Gates

Automatic Door Break Out Openings. The 1991 Standards do not contain any technical requirement for automatic door break out openings. The 2010 Standards at sections 404.1, 404.3, 404.3.1, and 404.3.6 require automatic doors that are part of a means of egress and that do not have standby power to have a 32-inch minimum clear break out opening when operated in emergency mode. The minimum clear opening width for automatic doors is measured with all leaves in the open position. Automatic bi-parting doors or pairs of swinging doors that provide a 32-inch minimum clear break out opening in emergency mode when both leaves are opened manually meet the technical requirement. Section 404.3.6 of the 2010 Standards includes an exception that exempts automatic doors from the technical requirement for break out openings when accessible manual swinging doors serve the same means of egress.

Maneuvering Clearance or Standby Power for Automatic Doors. Section 4.13.6 of the 1991 Standards does not require maneuvering clearance at automatic doors. Section 404.3.2 of the 2010 Standards requires automatic doors that serve as an accessible means of egress to either provide maneuvering clearance or to have standby power to operate the door in emergencies. This provision has limited application and will affect, among others, in-swinging automatic doors that serve small spaces.

Commenters urged the Department to reconsider provisions that would require maneuvering clearance or standby power for automatic doors. They assert that these requirements would impose unreasonable financial and administrative burdens on all covered entities, particularly smaller entities. The Department declines to change these provisions because they are fundamental life-safety issues. The requirement applies only to doors that are part of a means of egress that must be accessible in an emergency. If an emergency-related power failure prevents the operation of the automatic door, a person with a disability could be trapped unless there is either adequate maneuvering room to open the door manually or a back-up power source.

Thresholds at Doorways. The 1991 Standards, at section 4.13.8, require the height of thresholds at doorways not to exceed ½ inch and thresholds at exterior sliding doors not to exceed ¾ inch. Sections 404.1 and 404.2.5 of the 2010 Standards require the height of thresholds at all doorways that are part of an accessible route not to exceed ½ inch. The 1991 Standards and the 2010 Standards require raised thresholds that exceed ¼ inch in height to be beveled on each side with a slope not steeper than 1:2. The 2010 Standards include an exception that exempts existing and altered thresholds that do not exceed ¾ inch in height and are beveled on each side from the requirement.


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