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 In Multi-Family Housing, Lessons Learned

by Lisa Pilorz
Senior Access Planner

Often doors and gates that are part of an accessible route through outdoor areas do not provide required maneuvering clearances.   Further complicating matters, when there is an intercom or key fob installed, the required adjacent clear floor space may not be provided.

Areas most vulnerable to this problematic condition include:

  • Pool gates
  • Dog park gates
  • Side doors leading into the building
  • Building entrances from outdoor courtyards/amenity areas

Door Maneuvering Clearance

Doors and gates require a minimum 18” maneuvering clearance on the latch pull side of the door.  Code graphics typically show a 60”x 60” ‘box’ to identify the required maneuvering clearance area.

When walkways are 60” wide, it may seem like the 60” ‘box’ will be provided and meet accessibility requirements.  However, the door is typically not framed all the way to one side and therefore the minimum 18” is not provided.

floor plan showing door swing and 18" clearance on pull sideoverlay showing 60" x 60" box at entrance








Clear Floor Space Requirements

accessible spacing for intercomIf the entrance to the building requires the use of key fob or intercom, the controls require an adjacent level and clear floor space (minimum 30” x 48” dimensions).   Sometimes the concrete/brick walkway does not extend far enough to the side to accommodate the required clear floor space at the controls.  Providing the required clear floor space enhances access for everyone.

These non-conforming conditions are frequently identified, and changed, during plan reviews before the start of construction. Failing that, early construction site visits, ahead of the installation of the final hardscape materials, provide another method of reducing these costly construction errors.