Where to Mount Electrical Outlets for Wheelchair/Walker Accessibility?

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.
Utilizing principals of universal design for placement of electrical outlets results in easily accessible and very convenient placement of the electrical outlets.  Utilizing an electrical outlet that is mounted for accessibility and ease of use (basic universal design principal) is always MUCH easier and convenient for everyone.

Before recommending the vertical height for universal design, I attempted to find guidelines for the recommended vertical heights for electrical outlets.  I wasn't able to find minimum vertical height from finished floor requirements for mounting electrical receptacles in either the 2009 Michigan Residential Building Code or the ADA regulations.  Most houses built today have the electrical outlets mounted an average of 12" height above the finished floor. 
The future electrical receptacle



The 2009 Michigan Residential Building Code does state:

E3091.2.1 Spacing.  "Receptacles shall be installed so that no point measured horizontally along the floor line in any wall space is more than 6 feet from a receptacle outlet."  Which basically means there must be an electrical outlet every 12 feet.

The Humanscale tools recommend parameters for designing for function.  The Humanscale charts are based extensive human engineering data compiled and organized by Henry Dreyfuss Associates, including the most up-to-date research of anthropologists, psychologists, human engineers, scientists and medical experts.

According to the Humanscale Charts:
  • Electrical outlets should be mounted 30"-36" on center above the finished floor.
  • Wall light switches should be mounted 36"-42" on center above the finished floor.

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