Provide 30”x48” clear floor space in front of sink to allow forward approach.  Clear floor space to extend max. of 19” underneath the sink.  Sink to be max. of 6-1/2” deep & mounted max. 34” above finish floor.  Provide knee clearance 27” high, 30” wide and 19” deep under sink.  Hot water and drain pipes to be insulated.
CBC 1115B.4.3.2  2010 ADA 606cbc_fig_11b-1d

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39 Responses to Sinks

  1. Tuan says:

    One thing that doesn’t make sense to me is why is the toe clearance max 6″ ? Shouldn’t that be a Minimum rather than a Maximum? Suppose their is a 8″ toe clearance, what is the drawback of that?

    • Tucker says:

      The 6″ max is the maximum distance the required clear floor space may extend under an object, additional clear floor space may be provided beyond this requirement.

    • Tom says:

      The 6″ Max is to prevent injury to the ankle by the plumbing shield. (Foot rest of the wheel chair makes contact with the wall before ankle makes contact with the plumbing shield.)

      Toe clearances in excess of 6″ are not compliant.

  2. nicole says:

    does that mean the countertop, using an undermount sink, finishes at 34″, or just the top of the undermount has to finish at 34′?

    • Tucker says:

      Both the countertop and the sink rim may not be greater than 34″ AFF. If using an undermount sink, the countertop may be installed 34″ AFF. If using a self-rimming sink, the countertop must be installed less than 34″ AFF….I suggest specifying 33.75″ AFF.

  3. Tucker says:

    The 6″ max is the maximum distance the required clear floor space may extend under an object, additional clear floor space may be provided beyond this requirement.

  4. kimberly says:

    For a commercial bathroom, does the center of the sink have to be at least 18 inches from the wall or does it matter?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:


      • jonathan says:

        i’ve checked with the national ada and there is no requirement for distance from wall to center of lavatory. Is this a California code?

        • jonathan says:

          follow up question, if the center is an inch off, is it possible to mount the faucet off center to reach that 18″ goal?

          • Dwight Ashdown says:

            Pls. see my response to your previous question.

          • Dwight Ashdown says:

            It’s two different codes that address the location of the sink & the required clear space f/ accessibility.
            One code requires centerline of the sink to be 18″ from wall. Another code stipulates the 30″ clear space centered on the sink.

        • Dwight Ashdown says:

          Thanks for your note. I went back and checked – and it appears that with the new code, the 18″ requirement has gone away. The new requirement, in both the CBC 11B-305.5 and ADA 305.5, is derived from the clearance required for a wheelchair space which is the mid point of a 30″ wide wheelchair space. The 18″ to centerline of fixture has been in the CBC for years & I’m surprised to see that it’s now 15″. Personally, I think it would be good practice to keep the lavatory at 18″ if you can, but you’ve got flexibility to make if less than that, if you need to.

          • Bailey says:

            Is it the 30″ dimension of clear space (of the 30″ x 48″) that would be in front of sink to allow for a forward approach that makes it okay for the centerline of the sink to be 15 inches from the side wall?
            I’m not seeing in the code that it has been revised to 15 inches from the 18 inches. Is this a brand new revision/correction?
            Thanks for your help.

  5. Damian says:

    Are doors allowed at the sink? I see commercial break rooms specifying access panels at the base cabinet of sinks and some jurisdictions here in CA allow it so long as we provide 36″ wide cabinet where the base is affixed to the door and 30″ clear space when the doors are open. Is there written code or interpretation regarding these doors?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I presume that you are referring to employee break room sinks. ‘ve always understood that doors under the sink would be allowed – provided they are removable – in the event an employee becomes disabled, and the space under the sink / counter needs to be modified.
      Although the concept of doors w/ base attached makes a certain amount of sense, I’m concerned about the code requirement that doors not intrude into the required clear space for any fixture (CBC 1115B.3.1.2 & ADA 603.2.3). Doors w/ attached base would appear to be a problem.

  6. andrew says:

    Thank you for the great website and insight. The part I am unclear about in the diagram above is the purpose of the 29″ dimension shown. It seems that the dash line is referring to the 27″ clearance, so what is the purpose of the 29″? If it is the lip, how deep does it have to go before transitioning into the 27″ clearance?

    I have been looking all over the internet to try to find a wall mount sink that complies to the 29″ edge and it is almost impossible to find anything at a reasonable price for my client.

    Thank you

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The 29″ dimension is the required clearance at the front edge of the sink – which reduces to 27″ at least 8″ back from the front edge of the sink. If you are looking for an ADA / CBC compliant sink, you might try an American Standard, Lucerne sink.

      • andrew says:

        Dwight, Thanks for your quick response. I guess I was confused because when you click to enlarge the image, it shows the 27″ going all the way. I assume that is the ADA version as opposed to the CBC version?

        • andrew says:

          Sorry, one more question. If the 8″ min knee clearance to the drain pipe is provided and the sink is more than 17″ deep why does the 6″ max dimension matter? This can be any size technically as long as other clearances are observed. Am I mistaken?

          • Dwight Ashdown says:

            They are just saying that the toe space shouldn’t be deeper than 6″. They don’t want to see a 20″ deep toe space.
            The way to look at it is to provide 8″ min. space at the front & 6″ max at the back, & then a diagonal line connecting the 2 points & you should be good to go.

        • Dwight Ashdown says:

          Looks like a broken link – or actually a link to an older drawing that wasn’t entirely correct. The drawing shown on the web pg. – before you click on it (w/ the 29″ at the front – tapering to 27″ – 8″ back from the edge) is actually correct.
          We’ll update the link dwg.

  7. Jeanne says:

    I’m wondering – I am taking a portion of space in an existing hair salon which already has two bathrooms that were ADA compliant in 2004. Because I am moving in and doing some renovations, I am assuming that I will have to make one of the two bathrooms ADA compliant? The larger bathroom is 86″ wide 86″ and the wall to the centerline of the toilet is only 16″ from the wall. I am assuming I will have to move the toilet so that it is 18″ from the wall? (Please correct me if I am wrong!) Also, if the distance from that same wall to the edge of the sink has to be 60″ and the center line of the sink to the wall on the opposite side has to be 18″, this leaves me with only a 16″ wide sink to work with, and nothing exists. Is this correct that the distance of the CL sink has to be at least 18″ to the adjacent wall or has it changed to 17″-18″ ? I purchased your book, ADA4CA but I am not sure if the code has been changed since then. It seems as though it changes so often that I am not sure if what I am reading is ever current. I appreciate your assistance in advance. Thanks!

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Everything you said sounds correct. I’m impressed with your familiarity with the code.
      Re: what you’ll be required to change, is dependent on how much you are spending on construction renovations. There is a construction threshold, which is currently $150,244.00. If your construction cost is more than that, you are required to make your space fully accessible. If your construction cost is less than $150,244.00, you are required to spend an additional 20% of the construction cost on ADA corrections. If your construction cost is $100,000.00, then you would be required to spend another $20,000.00 on ADA corrections. Typically those corrections start at the parking lot (if there is one) and move through the front door and then through use of the space, and if necessary into the restrooms.

      If you are making changes to the restroom, the toilet should be 17″ – 18″ from the side wall. You are correct that the edge of the sink should be 60″ from the same side wall & should be centered 18″ from the opposite wall.

      I hope that helps.

  8. Stacie says:

    Just a quick question about kitchen cabinets in accessible units, does a base cabinet need to have a toe kick of 9″ high below the cabinet doors?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The 9″ toe space you are referring to is for elements such as drinking fountains where there is a forward approach, and a wheelchair user, essentially rolls under the element. Kitchen cabinets are typically side approach elements & there is no accessibility requirement for toe spaces on side approach elements.

  9. Kristina says:

    If we wanted to do a wall mounted faucet, how far about the finished floor does it have to be installed to meet ADA codes?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Is this a hose bib? I don’t believe there is a requirement for hose bibs, other than the requirements for “Controls and Switches”, which says, “no lower than 15″, no higher than 48”.

  10. Evelyn says:

    2 part question:
    1) Is there a minimum distance required between the center of the sinks when you have multiple basins?
    2) Can vessel sinks be made ADA compliant as long as the top of them is at 34″?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      An accessible sink should be centered within a 30″ clear space – but also centered 18″ min. from an adjacent side wall. I suppose that a vessel sink could be accessible, of the top of the sink is at 34″, but there are numerous clearance requirements under the sink & it’s difficult to imagine how that would actually occur.

  11. laura lievano says:

    If I have three pantries in an office space, do they all have to be accessible?
    This is a fairly small office. It’s an alteration to a 16,000 SF in San Francisco. We are based in NY. We are not very familiar with the California guidelines and can’t seem to find the answer.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      It’s difficult to say, without seeing the specifics of the space or knowing the nature of your business – but from what you’ve described it appears that if one of the pantries (which I presume means kitchenette) is accessible, then you should be ok – again presuming that all of your staff can access that particular pantry.

  12. Troy Moore says:

    Santa Ana in need of help…here is my situation, city making me put back ADA bathroom that was installed 2007….problem I have is the sink requirement, must be 60″ clear space on left side where toilet is, and 18″ clear center line of sink on right where wall is…problem is, that leaves me with a 12″ wide sink…these are nearly impossible to find, the closet thing I can get is a 12″ x 17″ stainless steel wall hung, the problem I have is that I only have 7″ clearance from the drain pipe to front of sink…what shall I do? will they let me have a variance on this due to space constraints and no available sink that meets ALL ada requirements..thank you in advance. Troy

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Would it be possible to move the sink over to the right wall – so the sink is essentially facing the toilet? It can be a bit of a challenge dealing w/ the drain – but moving it onto the right wall can address the ADA clearance issues.

  13. Lindsey VanPelt says:

    Is there a maximum for the sink to be located from the front edge of the countertop? I keep seeing a minimum of 2″ however, I have yet to see a maximum.

    Thank you!

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      There are 2 possible code references – CBC 11B-306, which essentially limits counter depth to 25″, and CBC 11B-308.2.2, which also limits counter depth to 25″ – so as long as you can put the sink in a 25″ counter, you should be good to go.

  14. Jason Sorensen says:

    We have a smaller bathroom add the sink is spaced too close to the toilet, but it is right at 18″ off the opposite wall from the toilet. What are the ada requirements for replacing that sink with a corner sink? Is this possible?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      It depends on when the building / space was renovated & what the space is used for. As far as I’m aware, there’s no provision in the ADA of the CBC for a corner sink.

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