Wednesday June 25th, 2014     

What do we need to know about kitchen storage? Well first, we would be talking about kitchen storage located within mobility dwelling units for multi-family housing built, operated, or sponsored by a public agency, as well as in employee lunch rooms, transient lodging mobility guest rooms, and any other public or common space regulated by the ADA Standards where kitchens occur.

And basically, all we need to do is just provide 50% of all of the shelf space within reach range. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But think about it. Base cabinets generally have drawer space. Upper cabinets have the shelf space. And reach range is 15″ to 48″ maximum AFF for a parallel approach if it is located within 10″ of the front edge of the counter, otherwise it is 46″ maximum AFF. So if we have a 34″ height base cabinet and leave the typical 18″ space between base cabinet and wall cabinet, the bottom shelf of the wall cabinet would be a bit higher than 52″ which does not fall within the new compliant reach ranges.

Generally the counter itself is a work surface not a shelf space, but ADAS is quiet on this. And while it does not specifically state whether the calculation is based on linear feet of the front edge or area of the shelf surface itself, I think it would be safe to think in terms of equivalent shelf area. So how do you provide the required amount? There are several options to explore or a combination of them;

  • Pantries in or adjacent to the kitchen – but keep in mind reach depth
  • Pull-out shelving units in the base cabinet – but these need to be 15” minimum AFF
  • Installing the wall cabinets down to the counter top in some areas
  • And what might be considered equivalent are some new types of shelving mechanisms, which allow the shelves in a wall cabinet to descend from the bottom of the cabinets similar to an elevator or another type which swings down from the front cabinet door by a switch or a handle

With all of the above options do keep in mind the reach range requirements for side approach versus areas that have front approach. There are a couple of other requirements as well – being on an accessible route, clear floor space in front, and compliant hardware. But do remember, this also applies to employee lounges whether new or altered in addition to lodging, residential (public), and common space kitchens if the facility is under the ADA Standards.



Article Credit: Stepping Thru Accessibility | By: Janis Kent, CASp, Architect, AIA 

Contributor Credit: CASI's Staff provided this story; if you know of an article that is relevent to CASI, please share by sending an email to info@casinstitute.