Home & Garden Architecture

Requirements for Doorways

    Size (ref 1; centre column, section 4.13.5)

    • The width of the doorway, called the clear width in the guidelines and standards, must be a minimum of 32 inches and a maximum of 48 inches. To measure this, open the door to 90 degrees and measure the distance from the edge of the door to the part of the opposite frame where the door stops. The clear height of the doorway, measured from the floor or ground up to the inside of the top frame, must be a minimum of 80 inches.

    Approach (ref 1; centre column; section 4.5.2)

    • If the floor or ground around the doorway is not at the same level as the threshold at the bottom of the doorway, the builder must make changes. For differences of less than 1/4 inch, nothing needs to be done. For level differences of between 1/4 and 1/2 inch, the ground must have a beveled slope. If the change in levels is greater than 1/2 inch, a ramp must be installed. One exception to this is for sliding doors. The lower sliding tracks for sliding doors must not be higher than 3/4 inch for outside doors and 1/2 inch for other doors. However, the threshold of 3/4 inch must be beveled.

    Maneuvering Clearances

    • The ground around the doorway in the maneuvering zone needs to be level and clear. The maneuvering clearance when approaching a door on the side that you pull from is 60 inches, and from the push side it's 48 inches.


    • Revolving doorways cannot be the only means of entry or exit on an accessible route; the builder must provide an accessible doorway next to it. An exception to a doorway's clearance width guidelines applies to doors through which people do not pass, such as those of a shallow closet. These doors can have a 20-inch minimum clearance width.

    DOJ 2010 Guidelines

    • In 2010, the Department of Justice issued new standards for accessible design based on the ADA 2004 guidelines. Although these guidelines are on effect at time of publication, they are not mandatory until 2012, when any construction that starts after March 15, 2012 must use them. For current construction starts, the builder can choose to use the existing 1991 guidelines or to use the new 2010 ones.

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