How to identify ADA/Universal Design Windows

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.
First, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) only applies to commercial buildings.  ADA does not apply to residential building.  The ADA guidelines were based on the average male measurements, reach etc.  The men measured for these guidelines were soldiers from World War II, so basically the ADA guidelines were based on twenty-something males from days gone by.


When designing a residential home the best way to decide on the appropriate windows that will be accessible is to go to a place that sells windows and try out a few.  For more information on how to decide on an accessible window for your home click here.

If you are a contractor trying to figure out which windows are ADA compliant, good luck.  Here is what I have found in my research.

First, what are the ADA guidelines for windows?

There aren't many guidelines for windows per se, the guidelines for window hardware are as follow:

A4.12.2 Window Hardware. Windows requiring pushing, pulling, or lifting to open (for example, double-hung, sliding, or casement and awning units without cranks) should require no more than 5 lbf (22.2 N) to open or close. Locks, cranks, and other window hardware should comply with 4.27.  (Can't find any specific recommendations under 4.27.)


So how do you know if a window is compliant with ADA standards?

After extensive research involving the internet and phone calls to multiple window manufacturers to find out how the manufacturers document windows for ADA compliance I found, they don't.  That is to say the answer I most frequently received was that they don't advertise ADA compliance so they don't have any documentation.

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