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California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-308 Reach Ranges

Code excerpt regarding technical requirements for reach ranges: general, forward reach, side reach, and suggested reach ranges for children.

11B-308 Reach ranges

11B-308.1 General. Reach ranges shall comply with Section 11B-308.

Advisory 11B-308.1 General. The following table provides guidance on reach ranges for children according to age where building elements such as coat hooks, lockers, or operable parts are designed for use primarily by children. These dimensions apply to either forward or side reaches. Accessible elements and operable parts designed for adult use or children over age 12 can be located outside these ranges but must be within the adult reach ranges required by Section 11B-308.

Children’s Reach Ranges
Forward or Side Reach Ages 3 and 4 Ages 5 through 8 Ages 9 through 12
High (maximum) 36 in (915 mm) 40 in (1015 mm) 44 in (1120 mm)
Low (minimum) 20 in (510 mm) 18 in (455 mm) 16 in (405 mm)

Note that the suggested dimensions for children’s use in this DOJ Advisory use “soft” metric conversions (rounded to the nearest 5 mm) rather than the “hard” metric conversions utilized by California amendment. See Section 11B-308.4 below for the actual amended/enforceable version of this Advisory table.

11B-308.1.1 Electrical switches. Controls and switches intended to be used by the occupant of a room or area to control lighting and receptacle outlets, appliances or cooling, heating and ventilating equipment, shall comply with Section 11B-308 except the low reach shall be measured to the bottom of the outlet box and the high reach shall be measured to the top of the outlet box.

11B-308.1.2 Electrical receptacle outlets. Electrical receptacle outlets on branch circuits of 30 amperes or less and communication system receptacles shall comply with Section 11B-308 except the low reach shall be measured to the bottom of the outlet box and the high reach shall be measured to the top of the outlet box.

11B-308.2 Forward reach.

11B-308.2.1 Unobstructed. Where a forward reach is unobstructed, the high forward reach shall be 48 inches (1219 mm) maximum and the low forward reach shall be 15 inches (381 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground.

Figure 11B-308.2.1 Unobstructed Forward Reach
Figure 11B-308.2.1 Unobstructed Forward Reach

11B-308.2.2 Obstructed high reach. Where a high forward reach is over an obstruction, the clear floor space shall extend beneath the element for a distance not less than the required reach depth over the obstruction. The high forward reach shall be 48 inches (1219 mm) maximum where the reach depth is 20 inches (508 mm) maximum. Where the reach depth exceeds 20 inches (508 mm), the high forward reach shall be 44 inches (1118 mm) maximum and the reach depth shall be 25 inches (635 mm) maximum.

Figure 11B-308.2.2 Obstructed High Forward Reach
Figure 11B-308.2.2 Obstructed High Forward Reach

11B-308.3 Side reach.

11B-308.3.1 Unobstructed. Where a clear floor or ground space allows a parallel approach to an element and the side reach is unobstructed, the high side reach shall be 48 inches (1219 mm) maximum and the low side reach shall be 15 inches (381 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground.

Exceptions:

  1. An obstruction shall be permitted between the clear floor or ground space and the element where the depth of the obstruction is 10 inches (254 mm) maximum.
  2. Operable parts of fuel dispensers shall be permitted to be 54 inches (1372 mm) maximum measured from the surface of the vehicular way where fuel dispensers are installed on existing curbs.
Figure 11B-308.3.1 Unobstructed Side Reach
Figure 11B-308.3.1 Unobstructed Side Reach

11B-308.3.2 Obstructed high reach. Where a clear floor or ground space allows a parallel approach to an element and the high side reach is over an obstruction, the height of the obstruction shall be 34 inches (864 mm) maximum and the depth of the obstruction shall be 24 inches (610 mm) maximum. The high side reach shall be 48 inches (1219 mm) maximum for a reach depth of 10 inches (254 mm) maximum. Where the reach depth exceeds 10 inches (254 mm), the high side reach shall be 46 inches (1168 mm) maximum for a reach depth of 24 inches (610 mm) maximum.

Exceptions:

  1. The top of washing machines and clothes dryers shall be permitted to be 36 inches (914 mm) maximum above the finish floor.
  2. Operable parts of fuel dispensers shall be permitted to be 54 inches (1372 mm) maximum measured from the surface of the vehicular way where fuel dispensers are installed on existing curbs.
Figure 11B-308.3.2 Obstructed High Side Reach
Figure 11B-308.3.2 Obstructed High Side Reach

Suggested reach ranges for children. Where building elements such as coat hooks, lockers, or operable parts are designed for use primarily by children, the suggested dimensions of Table 11B-308.4 shall be permitted. These dimensions apply to either forward or side reaches.

Table 11B-308.4 Suggested Dimensions for Children’s Use
Children’s Reach Ranges
Forward or Side Reach Ages 3 and 4 Ages 5 through 8 Ages 9 through 12
High (maximum) 36 in (914 mm) 40 in (1016 mm) 44 in (1118 mm)
Low (minimum) 20 in (508 mm) 18 in (457 mm) 16 in (406 mm)

Note that the suggested dimensions for children’s use as actually amended into the CBC are essentially the same as the DOJ Advisory (near the start of this section) but with “hard” metric conversions.