Americans with Disabilities Act

by JRSBlogWriter June 6, 2014

Some questions have recently surfaced regarding the ADA and requirements for floor drain grates.

Gratings can pose a hazard by catching or entrapping the tips of crutches and walkers or the narrow wheels of a wheelchair. The spacing between grate openings and orientation of travel can reduce these risks.

The definition of an ADA compliant grate is shown on page 105, Section 3 (Paragraph 302.3) and Section 4.5.4 of 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Drains that are located in walking surfaces or along accessible routes must have grate openings no greater than 1/2" (13 mm) in one direction. If the grate openings are elongated, then the openings must be oriented so that the long dimension is perpendicular to the dominant direction of travel.

The size of the square hole grate openings is not addressed. Consequently, locating the long dimension of slotted grates perpendicular is the only specified requirement. A heel proof grate (a grate that has openings of 1/4" to 5/16") can be considered an ADA compliant grate as the size of the opening is less than one half inch. These requirements apply to gratings located in any
walking surface, including courtyards and plazas, not just those on accessible routes. Care must be exercised by the design engineer to actually indicate the direction of the grate and the installing contractor to install in the correct direction. Some of the round grates can be rotated to be perpendicular to the traffic flow but many cannot because of the positioning of the grate in the frame. Square slotted grates must be installed correctly the first time.

Many of these drains are available with a square hole grate pattern, which is an advantage since our competitors do not offer as many.

Attached you will find a list of Jay R. Smith® grates indicating hole opening size in grate. This list shows those that are in compliance with the ADA guidelines.

Hopefully, this will assist you in dealing with any questions presented by the ADA inspectors.

-Beth Willis, SSE



Recently, we received an inquiry regarding a fish scale interceptor. We have offered this unit for a while and supplied many times for a food store chain on the East Coast. It is still availabl.

It is 15" high and the body is 11- 7/8" square. The top assembly is 13-3/8" square and is intended for floor mount or semi-recessed installations only.

It is furnished in White Duco Coated fabricated steel with a stainless steel removable perforated bucket. The bucket will hold approximately five gallons of scales and other debris.

A clearance of a minimum of 15" must be allowed above the unit for bucket removal.

Download the original newsletter with grate drawings, ADA Compliance Charts and SQ-8-1164 Submittal here:Vol 4, Issue 4: Americans with Disabilities Act