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California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-604 Water Closets and Toilet Compartments

Code excerpt regarding technical requirements for water closets and toilet compartments: location, clearances, seats, grab bars, flush controls, dispensers and disposal units, toilet compartments, and use by children.

11B-604 Water closets and toilet compartments

11B-604.1 General. Water closets and toilet compartments shall comply with Sections 11B-604.2 through 11B-604.8.

Exception: Water closets and toilet compartments for children s use shall be permitted to comply with Section 11B-604.9.

11B-604.2 Location. The water closet shall be positioned with a wall or partition to the rear and to one side. The centerline of the water closet shall be 17 inches (432 mm) minimum to 18 inches (457 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition, except that the water closet shall be 17 inches (432 mm) minimum and 19 inches (483 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition in the ambulatory accessible toilet compartment specified in Section 11B-604.8.2. Water closets shall be arranged for a left-hand or right-hand approach.

Figure 11B-604.2 Water Closet Location
Figure 11B-604.2 Water Closet Location

As illustrated in Figure 11B-604.2, the centerline measurement is applicable along the entire centerline of the water closet fixture, not a single point or small number of points. Therefore, it is insufficient to verify the centerline dimension only at the wall, spud or tank, front or back of bowl, or any other single location. The standard range of 17″ minimum to 18″ maximum allows the centerline of the water closet fixture to be skewed relative to the side wall, so the centerline dimension should be verified for at botht the front and the back of the fixture.

11B-604.3 Clearance. Clearances around water closets and in toilet compartments shall comply with Section 11B-604.3.

11B-604.3.1 Size. Clearance around a water closet shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) minimum measured perpendicular from the side wall and 56 inches (1422 mm) minimum measured perpendicular from the rear wall. A minimum 60 inches (1524 mm) wide and 48 inches (1219 mm) deep maneuvering space shall be provided in front of the water closet.

Exception: In residential dwelling units complying with Section 11B-233.3.1.1, maneuvering space in front of the water closet shall be a minimum 60 inches (1524 mm) wide and 36 inches (914 mm) deep.

Figure 11B-604.3.1 Size of Clearance at Water Closets
Figure 11B-604.3.1 Size of Clearance at Water Closets

11B-604.3.2 Overlap. The required clearance around the water closet shall be permitted to overlap the water closet, associated grab bars, dispensers, sanitary napkin disposal units, coat hooks, shelves, accessible routes, clear floor space and clearances required at other fixtures, and the turning space. No other fixtures or obstructions shall be located within the required water closet clearance.

Exception: In residential dwelling units, a lavatory complying with Section 11B-606 shall be permitted on the rear wall 18 inches (457 mm) minimum from the water closet centerline where the clearance at the water closet is 66 inches (1676 mm) minimum measured perpendicular from the rear wall.

Advisory 11B-604.3.2 Overlap. When the door to the toilet room is placed directly in front of the water closet, the water closet cannot overlap the required maneuvering clearance for the door inside the room.

Figure 11B-604.3.2 (Exception) Overlap of Water Closet Clearance in Residential Dwelling Units
Figure 11B-604.3.2 (Exception) Overlap of Water Closet Clearance in Residential Dwelling Units

11B-604.4 Seats. The seat height of a water closet above the finish floor shall be 17 inches (432 mm) minimum and 19 inches (483 mm) maximum measured to the top of the seat. Seats shall not be sprung to return to a lifted position. Seats shall be 2 inches (51 mm) high maximum.

Exceptions:

  1. Reserved.
  2. In residential dwelling units, the height of water closets shall be permitted to be 15 inches (381 mm) minimum and 19 inches (483mm) maximum above the finish floor measured to the top of the seat.
  3. A 3-inch (76 mm) high seat shall be permitted only in alterations where the existing fixture is less than 15 inches (381 mm) high.

11B-604.5 Grab bars. Grab bars for water closets shall comply with Section 11B-609. Grab bars shall be provided on the side wall closest to the water closet and on the rear wall. Where separate grab bars are required on adjacent walls at a common mounting height, an L-shaped grab bar meeting the dimensional requirements of Sections 11B-604.5.1 and 11B-604.5.2 shall be permitted.

Exceptions:

  1. Reserved.
  2. In residential dwelling units, grab bars shall not be required to be installed in toilet or bathrooms provided that reinforcement has been installed in walls and located so as to permit the installation of grab bars complying with Section 11B-604.5
  3. In detention or correction facilities, grab bars shall not be required to be installed in housing or holding cells that are specially designed without protrusions for purposes of suicide prevention.

Advisory 11B-604.5 Grab bars Exception 2. Reinforcement must be sufficient to permit the installation of rear and side wall grab bars that fully meet all accessibility requirements including, but not limited to, required length, installation height, and structural strength.

11B-604.5.1 Side wall. The side wall grab bar shall be 42 inches (1067 mm) long minimum, located 12 inches (305 mm) maximum from the rear wall and extending 54 inches (1372 mm) minimum from the rear wall with the front end positioned 24 inches (610 mm) minimum in front of the water closet.

Figure 11B-604.5.1 Side Wall Grab Bar at Water Closets
Figure 11B-604.5.1 Side Wall Grab Bar at Water Closets

It is not recommended to use a side grab bar that is only the minimum 42″ long. Such a grab bar provides zero horizontal installation tolerance: if the side nearest to the rear wall is installed less than 12″ maximum (which is allowed), then the end farthest from the rear wall will be less than 54″ (which does not comply). The opposite is also true: if the side farthest from the rear wall is installed more than 54″ (which is allowed), then the end nearest to the rear wall will be more than 12″ (which does not comply). In addition, the California amendment that requires the side grab bar to extend 24″ minimum beyond the front of the water closet means the depth of the water closet with a 42″ side grab bar is limited to 30″ from the rear wall, yet some floor-mounted water closet fixtures are known to exceed this depth and therefore cannot be used in a compliant accessible toilet facility. To avoid these conditions, and to provide for installation tolerance, the side grab bar is recommended to be 48″ long and to be installed 9″ from the rear wall.

11B-604.5.2 Rear wall. The rear wall grab bar shall be 36 inches (914 mm) long minimum and extend from the centerline of the water closet 12 inches (305 mm) minimum on one side and 24 inches (610 mm) minimum on the other side.

Exceptions:

  1. The rear grab bar shall be permitted to be 24 inches (610 mm) long minimum, centered on the water closet, where wall space does not permit a length of 36 inches (914 mm) minimum due to the location of a recessed fixture adjacent to the water closet.
  2. Where an administrative authority requires flush controls for flush valves to be located in a position that conflicts with the location of the rear grab bar, then the rear grab bar shall be permitted to be split or shifted to the open side of the toilet area.
Figure 11B-604.5.2 Rear Wall Grab Bar at Water Closets
Figure 11B-604.5.2 Rear Wall Grab Bar at Water Closets

It is not recommended to use a rear grab bar that is only 36″ long. Because the centerline of the water closet fixture may be skewed up to 1″, it is not reasonably feasible to install a 36″ long rear grab bar that is exactly 24″ minimum beyond the centerline on one side and exactly 12″ beyond the centerline on the other side. To accommodate a skewed fixture condition and provide installation tolerance, the rear grab bar is recommended to be 42″ long and to be installed 4 1/2″ from the side wall.

11B-604.6 Flush controls. Flush controls shall be hand operated or automatic. Hand operated flush controls shall comply with Section 11B-309 except they shall be located 44 inches (1118 mm) maximum above the floor. Flush controls shall be located on the open side of the water closet except in ambulatory accessible compartments complying with Section 11B-604.8.2.

Advisory 11B-604.6 Flush controls. If plumbing valves are located directly behind the toilet seat, flush valves and related plumbing can cause injury or imbalance when a person leans back against them. To prevent causing injury or imbalance, the plumbing can be located behind walls or to the side of the toilet; or if approved by the local authority having jurisdiction, provide a toilet seat lid.

11B-604.7 Dispensers and disposal units. Toilet paper dispensers and sanitary napkin disposal units shall comply with Section 11B-604.7. Combination accessory units are not permitted to encroach into the space required by Section 11B-609.3.

11B-604.7.1 Dispensers. Toilet paper dispensers shall comply with Section 11B-309.4 and shall be 7 inches (178 mm) minimum and 9 inches (229 mm) maximum in front of the water closet measured to the centerline of the dispenser. The outlet of the dispenser shall be below the grab bar, 19 inches (483 mm) minimum above the finish floor and shall not be located behind grab bars. Dispensers shall not be of a type that controls delivery or that does not allow continuous paper flow.

Figure 11B-604.7.1 Dispenser Outlet Location
Figure 11B-604.7.1 Dispenser Outlet Location

11B-604.7.2 Disposal units. Sanitary napkin disposal units, if provided, shall comply with Section 11B-309.4 and shall be wall mounted and located on the sidewall between the rear wall of the toilet and the toilet paper dispenser, adjacent to the toilet paper dispenser. The disposal unit shall be located below the grab bar with the opening of the disposal unit 19 inches minimum (483 mm) above the finish floor.

Figure 11B-604.7.2 Disposal Outlet Location
Figure 11B-604.7.2 Disposal Outlet Location

11B-604.8 Toilet compartments. Wheelchair accessible toilet compartments shall meet the requirements of Sections 11B-604.8.1 and 11B-604.8.3. Compartments containing more than one plumbing fixture shall comply with Section 11B-603. Ambulatory accessible compartments shall comply with Sections 11B-604.8.2 and 11B-604.8.3.

11B-604.8.1 Wheelchair accessible compartments. Wheelchair accessible compartments shall comply with Section 11B-604.8.1.

11B-604.8.1.1 Size. Wheelchair accessible compartments shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) wide minimum measured perpendicular to the side wall, and 56 inches (1422 mm) deep minimum for wall hung water closets and 59 inches (1499 mm) deep minimum for floor mounted water closets measured perpendicular to the rear wall. Wheelchair accessible compartments shall additionally provide maneuvering space complying with Section 11B-604.8.1.1.1, 11B-604.8.1.1.2, or 11B-604.8.1.1.3, as applicable. Wheelchair accessible compartments for children s use shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) wide minimum measured perpendicular to the side wall, and 59 inches (1499 mm) deep minimum for wall hung and floor mounted water closets measured perpendicular to the rear wall.

Advisory 11B-604.8.1.1 Size. When baby changing tables are provided within a multiple accommodation toilet room Section 11B-226.4 prohibits the installation in wheelchair accessible compartments. When deployed the baby changing tables shall not obstruct the required width of the accessible route except as allowed by Section 11B-307.2. Chapter 11B regulates baby changing tables when provided however Government Code Sections 15805, 50535 and Health & Safety Code Section 118506 require baby diaper changing stations in certain facilities.

Advisory 11B-604.8.1.1 Size. The minimum space required in toilet compartments is provided so that a person using a wheelchair can maneuver into position at the water closet. This space cannot be obstructed by baby changing tables or other fixtures or conveniences, except as specified at Section 11B-604.3.2 (Overlap). If toilet compartments are to be used to house fixtures other than those associated with the water closet, they must be designed to exceed the minimum space requirements. Convenience fixtures such as baby changing tables must also be accessible to people with disabilities as well as to other users. Toilet compartments that are designed to meet, and not exceed, the minimum space requirements may not provide adequate space for maneuvering into position at a baby changing table.

11B-604.8.1.1.1 Maneuvering space with in-swinging door. In a wheelchair accessible compartment with an in-swinging door, a minimum 60 inches (1524 mm) wide by 36 inches (914 mm) deep maneuvering space shall be provided in front of the clearance required in Section 11B-604.8.1.1. See Figures 11B-604.8.1.1.2 (b) and 11B-604.8.1.1.3 (b).

11B-604.8.1.1.2 Maneuvering space with side-swinging door. In a wheelchair accessible compartment with a door located in the side wall or partition, either in-swinging or out-swinging, a minimum 60 inches (1524 mm) wide and 60 inches (1524 mm) deep maneuvering space shall be provided in front of the water closet. See Figure 11B-604.8.1.1.2.

Figure 11B-604.8.1.1.2 Maneuvering Space with Side-Opening Door
Figure 11B-604.8.1.1.2 Maneuvering Space with Side-Opening Door

11B-604.8.1.1.3 Maneuvering space with end-swinging door. In a wheelchair accessible compartment with a door located in the front wall or partition (facing the water closet), either in-swinging or out-swinging, a minimum 60 inches (1524 mm) wide and 48 inches (1219 mm) deep maneuvering space shall be provided in front of the water closet. See Figure 11B-604.8.1.1.3.

Figure 11B-604.8.1.1.3 Maneuvering Space with End-Opening Door
Figure 11B-604.8.1.1.3 Maneuvering Space with End-Opening Door

11B-604.8.1.2 Doors. Toilet compartment doors, including door hardware, shall comply with Section 11B-404 except that if the approach is from the push side of the compartment door, clearance between the door side of the compartment and any obstruction shall be 48 inches (1219 mm) minimum measured perpendicular to the compartment door in its closed position. Doors shall be located in the front partition or in the side wall or partition farthest from the water closet. Where located in the front partition, the door opening shall be 4 inches (102 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition farthest from the water closet. Where located in the side wall or partition, the door opening shall be 4 inches (102 mm) maximum from the front partition. The door shall be self-closing. A door pull complying with Section 11B-404.2.7 shall be placed on both sides of the door near the latch. Doors shall not swing into the clear floor space or clearance required for any fixture. Doors may swing into that portion of maneuvering space which does not overlap the clearance required at a water closet.

Exception: When located at the side of a toilet compartment, the toilet compartment door opening shall provide a clear width of 34 inches (864 mm) minimum.

Advisory 11B-604.8.1.2 Doors. This item describes requirements pertaining to the accessible water closet compartment door and the route to the door.
The door is required to have a latch which is flip-over style, sliding or which otherwise does not require the user to grasp or twist. This is to facilitate latching the door by people with limited hand or finger dexterity.
The last part of this item addresses the required maneuvering space at the compartment door. This space is required to comply with requirements for door maneuvering space in Section 11B-404.2.4, except the space in front of the door shall be no less than 48 inches deep, measured perpendicular to the closed door. Where Figure 11B-404.2.4.1 (f) and (j), specifically allow a 44″ minimum maneuvering space perpendicular to doors in general in the closed position, a minimum of 48″ must be provided in order to comply with Section 11B-604.8.1.2.
Note that in Figure 11B-404.2.4.1 (c) the front approach requires 12 inches of strike-side clearance on the push side where a door has both a latch and a closer. However, the US Department of Justice has indicated that a self-closing compartment door with a gravity hinge is not considered to be a door with a closer; hence the 12-inch clearance would not be required in this type of design.

Figure 11B-604.8.1.2 Wheelchair Accessible Toilet Compartment Doors
Figure 11B-604.8.1.2 Wheelchair Accessible Toilet Compartment Doors

11B-604.8.1.3 Approach. Compartments shall be arranged for left-hand or right-hand approach to the water closet.

Where more than one multi-user toilet facility is provided for each sex, or where multiple single-user toilet rooms are provided, it is recommended to alternate layouts so that persons who do not have full use of one side of their body have access to at least one toilet facility that accommodates their abilities.

11B-604.8.1.4 Toe clearance. At least one side partition shall provide a toe clearance of 9 inches (229 mm) minimum above the finish floor and 6 inches (152 mm) deep minimum beyond the compartment-side face of the partition, exclusive of partition support members. Partition components at toe clearances shall be smooth without sharp edges or abrasive surfaces. Compartments for children’s use shall provide a toe clearance of 12 inches (305 mm) minimum above the finish floor.

Exception: Toe clearance at the side partition is not required in a compartment greater than 66 inches (1676 mm) wide.

Figure 11B-604.8.1.4 Wheelchair Accessible Toilet Compartment Toe Clearance
Figure 11B-604.8.1.4 Wheelchair Accessible Toilet Compartment Toe Clearance

11B-604.8.1.5 Grab bars. Grab bars shall comply with Section 11B-609. A side-wall grab bar complying with Section 11B-604.5.1 shall be provided and shall be located on the wall closest to the water closet. In addition, a rear-wall grab bar complying with Section 11B-604.5.2 shall be provided. Where separate grab bars are required on adjacent walls at a common mounting height, an L-shaped grab bar meeting the dimensional requirements of Sections 11B-604.5.1 and 11B-604.5.2 shall be permitted.

11B-604.8.2 Ambulatory accessible compartments. Ambulatory accessible compartments shall comply with Section 11B-604.8.2.

11B-604.8.2.1 Size. Ambulatory accessible compartments shall have a depth of 60 inches (1524 mm) minimum and a width of 35 inches (889 mm) minimum and 37 inches (940 mm) maximum.

11B-604.8.2.2 Doors. Toilet compartment doors, including door hardware, shall comply with Section 11B-404, except that if the approach is to the latch side of the compartment door, clearance between the door side of the compartment and any obstruction shall be 44 inches (1118 mm) minimum. The door shall be self-closing. A door pull complying with Section 11B-404.2.7 shall be placed on both sides of the door near the latch. Toilet compartment doors shall not swing into the minimum required compartment area.

11B-604.8.2.3 Grab bars. Grab bars shall comply with Section 11B-609. A side-wall grab bar complying with Section 11B-604.5.1 shall be provided on both sides of the compartment.

Figure 11B-604.8.2 Ambulatory Accessible Toilet Compartment
Figure 11B-604.8.2 Ambulatory Accessible Toilet Compartment

11B-604.8.3 Coat hooks and shelves. Coat hooks shall be located within one of the reach ranges specified in Section 11B-308. Shelves shall be located 40 inches (1016 mm) minimum and 48 inches (1219 mm) maximum above the finish floor.

11B-604.9 Water closets and toilet compartments for children’s use. Water closets and toilet compartments for children’s use shall comply with Section 11B-604.9. When the exception in Section 11B-604.1 is used, the suggested dimensions of Table 11B-604.9 for a single age group shall be applied consistently to the installation of a water closet and all associated components.

Advisory 11B-604.9 Water closets and toilet compartments for children’s use. The requirements in Section 11B-604.9 are to be followed where the exception for children’s water closets in Section 11B-604.1 is used. Table 11B-604.9 provides additional guidance in applying the specifications for water closets for children according to the age group served and reflects the differences in the size, stature, and reach ranges of children ages 3 through 12. The specifications chosen should correspond to the age of the primary user group. The specifications of one age group should be applied consistently in the installation of a water closet and related elements.

Table 11B-604.9 Suggested Dimensions for Children’s Use
Suggested Dimensions for Water Closets Serving Children Ages 3 through 12
  Ages 3 and 4 Ages 5 through 8 Ages 9 through 12
Water Closet Centerline 12 inches
(305 mm)
12 to 15 inches
(305 to 381 mm)
15 to 18 inches
(381 to 457 mm)
Toilet Seat Height 11 to 12 inches
(279 to 305 mm)
12 to 15 inches
(305 to 381 mm)
15 to 17 inches
(381 to 432 mm)
Grab Bar Height 18 to 20 inches
(457 to 508 mm)
20 to 25 inches
(508 to 635 mm)
25 to 27 inches
(635 to 686 mm)
Dispenser Height 14 inches
(356 mm)
14 to 17 inches
(356 to 432 mm)
17 to 19 inches
(432 to 483 mm)

11B-604.9.1 Location. The water closet shall be located with a wall or partition to the rear and to one side. The centerline of the water closet shall be 12 inches (305 mm) minimum and 18 inches (457 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition, except that the water closet shall be 17 inches (432 mm) minimum and 19 inches (483 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition in the ambulatory accessible toilet compartment specified in Section 11B-604.8.2. Compartments shall be arranged for left-hand or right-hand approach to the water closet.

11B-604.9.2 Clearance. Clearance around a water closet shall comply with Section 11B-604.3.

11B-604.9.3 Height. The height of water closets shall be 11 inches (279 mm) minimum and 17 inches (432 mm) maximum measured to the top of the seat. Seats shall not be sprung to return to a lifted position.

11B-604.9.4 Grab bars. Grab bars for water closets shall comply with Section 11B-604.5.

11B-604.9.5 Flush controls. Flush controls shall be hand operated or automatic. Hand operated flush controls shall comply with Sections 11B-309.2 and 11B-309.4 and shall be installed 36 inches (914 mm) maximum above the finish floor. Flush controls shall be located on the open side of the water closet except in ambulatory accessible compartments complying with Section 11B-604.8.2.

11B-604.9.6 Dispensers. Toilet paper dispensers shall comply with Section 11B-309.4 and shall be 7 inches (178 mm) minimum and 9 inches (229 mm) maximum in front of the water closet measured to the centerline of the dispenser. The outlet of the dispenser shall be 14 inches (356 mm) minimum and 19 inches (483 mm) maximum above the finish floor. There shall be a clearance of 1 1/2 inches (38 mm) minimum below the grab bar. Dispensers shall not be of a type that controls delivery or that does not allow continuous paper flow.

11B-604.9.7 Toilet compartments. Toilet compartments shall comply with Section 11B-604.8.