Locker Installation Guide (ADA Compliant)

The Purpose Of This Guide. There are certain requirements that must be met when installing our lockers for public use. The Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) was passed to improve the accessibility of public utilities, including mail lockers and storage, for disabled citizens. This guide will help designers, architects, and contractors select the appropriate locker types for their particular setups while ensuring that the correct number of units are compliant with the ADA. Also included are guidelines for maximum and minimum reach heights for users. Following this guide will ensure easy access for all users.

General Notes

  • “AFF” is an abbreviation for “Above Finished Floor” and refers to the distance from the top of the floor.
  • For the purposes of this article, “AFF” refers to the height of a locker’s shelf from the finished floor.
  • Lockers can be customized to comply with the ADA and to fit the needs of your users.
  • At least one locker, or five percent of all lockers in a setup, must meet ADA

Locker Types and Their Requirements. There are three types of lockers with ADA requirements to consider.

Single-tier lockers. To keep a single tier locker ADA compliant:

  • The top shelf must be moved down to 48 inches AFF or above ground level.
  • The same 48″ requirement applies to coat hooks.
  • The lowest shelf should be 15 inches or higher AFF, and the locker handle should be recessed.
  • Extra shelves can be added if needed.
  • Recessed handles are needed for metal and designer wood lockers.

Double-tier lockers. These lockers have two compartments, one on top of the other.

  • Only the bottom compartment can meet ADA
  • The bottom compartment’s lower shelf must be at least 15 inches AFF and all locker handles must be recessed (unless you are installing solid oak executive lockers.)

Triple-tier lockers. Three compartments are included.

  • All must have recessed handles (with the exception of solid oak executive lockers.)
  • The top shelf of the middle locker must be brought to 48 inches AFF.
  • The bottom locker must have its lower shelf at 15 inches AFF.
  • Only the middle and bottom lockers can be used for ADA
  • Additional shelves can be ordered and added.

Other Locker Guidelines. The Americans with Disabilities Act also provides installation guidelines for the following:

  • Locks should be no higher than 48 inches AFF.
  • Locks should be easy to open with a single hand. (Padlock hasps are a suggested type.)
  • Locks and door handles should not rely on excessive pinching or twisting to operate.
  • Door handles should be easy to use with a single hand.

Space and Reach Requirements For Wheelchair Users. When installing lockers, reach height and floor space must be considered. These requirements can be found in the 2010 ADA Standards For Accessible Design, Section 308.2.1. In addition to locker requirements, the ADA also has guidelines for the amount of clear floor space needed for wheelchair users as well as benches required for locker and fitting rooms.

Space Requirements. For lockers and their accompanying benches, the amount of clear floor space available to wheelchair users must meet the following specifications.

            Lockers And Surrounding Space.  

  • For lockers, there must be at least 30 inches of clear floor space in front of each ADA-compliant locker. There must also be at least 48 inches of clear floor width in front of the same lockers.
  • ADA-compliant lockers must be at least 24 inches away from a wall or other obstruction.
  • The area around a locker should allow include a 60 inch diameter to allow wheelchair turning.
  • There should be 10 inches allowed for a locker door to swing outward.

            Benches And Surrounding Space.

  • For benches, there must be at least 48 inches of clear floor space in front of the bench and 30 inches of clear width. This will allow a wheelchair to approach the bench and turn.
  • Benches also require a 30-inch-wide clear floor space that is 48 inches long at the short end to allow a parallel wheelchair approach.

Reach Requirements

Requirements for forward reach include:

  • Where the wheelchair user’s reach is not obstructed and there is enough floor space for a front approach, the highest shelf of the locker must be no more than 48 inches AFF (Above Finished Floor) or ground.
  • The lowest locker shelf must be no lower than 15 inches AFF or the ground.

            Requirements for side reach include:

  • For a wheelchair user, these requirements apply when there is enough clear floor or ground space to allow a parallel approach to the locker.
  • When the above is true, the forward reach and shelf height must be no higher than 48 inches from floor or ground height. A shelf can be added to meet this requirement.
  • In addition, the lowest shelf of the locker should be no lower than 15 inches AFF or off of the ground surface. A shelf can be added to raise the bottom of the locker to this height.

Requirements For Accessible Benches. Benches are required in fitting, dressing, and locker rooms and must not be obstructed, unless the bench is placed in a steam room or sauna with easily removable seats. They must also meet the space requirements above.

            Dimensional requirements for benches include:

  • The bench seat must be between 17 and 19 inches AFF.
  • The same seat must be at least 20 inches and no more than 24 inches deep.
  • The bench seat must be at least 48 inches long.
  • The bench’s support back must be at least 42 inches wide and 18 inches high, with no more than a 2 inch gap between the back support and the seat. This is unnecessary if the bench is against a wall.
  • The bench must be able to withstand a pressure of 250 pounds at the seat, support structure, mounting device and fastener.
  • If placed in a sauna or steam room, the bench’s material must be resistant to slippage and cannot allow water to accumulate.