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ADA 2010 Standards

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227 and 904 Sales and Service

Check-Out Aisles and Sales and Service Counters. The 1991 Standards, at section 7.2, and the 2010 Standards, at section 904.4, contain technical requirements for sales and service counters. The 1991 Standards generally require sales and service counters to provide an accessible portion at least 36 inches long and no higher than 36 inches above the finish floor. The nondiscrimination requirements of the ADA regulations require the level of service provided at the accessible portion of any sales and service counter to be the same as the level of service provided at the inaccessible portions of the counter.

The 2010 Standards specify different lengths for the accessible portion of sales and service counters based on the type of approach provided. Where a forward approach is provided, the accessible portion of the counter must be at least 30 inches long and no higher than 36 inches, and knee and toe space must be provided under the counter. The requirement that knee and toe space be provided where only clear floor space for a forward approach to a sales and service counter is provided is not a new requirement. It is a clarification of the ongoing requirement that part of the sales and service counter be accessible. This requirement applies to the entire accessible part of sales and service counters and requires that the accessible clear floor or ground space adjacent to those counters be kept clear of merchandise, equipment, and other items so that the accessible part of the counter is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The accessible part of the counter must also be staffed and provide an equivalent level of service as that provided to all customers.

Where clear floor space for a parallel approach is provided, the accessible portion of the counter must be at least 36 inches long and no higher than 36 inches above the finish floor. A clear floor or ground space that is at least 48 inches long x 30 inches wide must be provided positioned for a parallel approach adjacent to the 36-inch minimum length of counter.

Section 904.4 of the 2010 Standards includes an exception for alterations to sales and service counters in existing facilities. It permits the accessible portion of the counter to be at least 24 inches long, where providing a longer accessible counter will result in a reduction in the number of existing counters at work stations or existing mailboxes, provided that the required clear floor or ground space is centered on the accessible length of the counter.

Section 904.4 of the 2010 Standards also clarifies that the accessible portion of the counter must extend the same depth as the sales or service counter top. Where the counter is a single-height counter, this requirement applies across the entire depth of the counter top. Where the counter is a split-height counter, this requirement applies only to the customer side of the counter top. The employee-side of the counter top may be higher or lower than the customer-side of the counter top.

Commenters recommended that the Department consider a regulatory alternative exempting small retailers from the new knee and toe clearance requirement and retaining existing wheelchair accessibility standards for sales and service counters. These commenters believed that the knee and toe clearance requirements will cause a reduction in the sales and inventory space at check-out aisles and other sales and service counters.

Both the 1991 and the 2010 Standards permit covered entities to determine whether they will provide a forward or a parallel approach to sales and service counters. So any facility that does not wish to provide the knee or toe clearance required for a front approach to such a counter may avoid that option. However, the Department believes that permitting a forward approach without requiring knee and toe clearance is not adequate to provide accessibility because the person using a wheelchair will be prevented from coming close enough to the counter to see the merchandise or to transact business with a degree of convenience that is comparable to that provided to other customers.

A parallel approach to sales and service counters also can provide the accessibility required by the 2010 Standards. Individuals using wheelchairs can approach sales and service counters from the side, and, assuming the necessary elements, features, or merchandise necessary to complete a business transaction are within the reach range requirements for a side approach, the needs of individuals with disabilities can be met effectively.

Section 227 of the 2010 Standards clarifies the requirements for food service lines. Queues and waiting lines serving counters or check-out aisles, including those for food service, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

227 Sales and Service

227.1 General. Where provided, check-out aisles, sales counters, service counters, food service lines, queues, and waiting lines shall comply with 227 and 904.

227.2 Check-Out Aisles. Where check-out aisles are provided, check-out aisles complying with 904.3 shall be provided in accordance with Table 227.2. Where check-out aisles serve different functions, check-out aisles complying with 904.3 shall be provided in accordance with Table 227.2 for each function. Where check-out aisles are dispersed throughout the building or facility, check-out aisles complying with 904.3 shall be dispersed.

EXCEPTION: Where the selling space is under 5000 square feet (465 m2) no more than one check-out aisle complying with 904.3 shall be required.
 

Table 227.2 Check-Out Aisles

Number of Check-Out Aisles of Each Function

Minimum Number of Check-Out Aisles of Each Function Required to Comply with 904.3

1 to 4

1

5 to 8

2

9 to 15

3

16 and over

3, plus 20 percent of additional aisles

227.2.1 Altered Check-Out Aisles. Where check-out aisles are altered, at least one of each check-out aisle serving each function shall comply with 904.3 until the number of check-out aisles complies with 227.2.

227.3 Counters. Where provided, at least one of each type of sales counter and service counter shall comply with 904.4. Where counters are dispersed throughout the building or facility, counters complying with 904.4 also shall be dispersed.

Advisory 227.3 Counters. Types of counters that provide different services in the same facility include, but are not limited to, order, pick-up, express, and returns. One continuous counter can be used to provide different types of service. For example, order and pick-up are different services. It would not be acceptable to provide access only to the part of the counter where orders are taken when orders are picked-up at a different location on the same counter. Both the order and pick-up section of the counter must be accessible.

227.4 Food Service Lines. Food service lines shall comply with 904.5. Where self-service shelves are provided, at least 50 percent, but no fewer than one, of each type provided shall comply with 308.

227.5 Queues and Waiting Lines. Queues and waiting lines servicing counters or check-out aisles required to comply with 904.3 or 904.4 shall comply with 403.