What is ADA Lighting?

Americans with Disabilities Act logoIn searching for light fixtures for your home or business, you may have noticed that some fixtures are labeled “ADA compliant.” What is ADA lighting?

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, requires public buildings to construct safe and accessible buildings for all disabled people. Created in 1990, it guarantees equal opportunity for the disabled, with the goal that people with disabilities have equal access to education, employment, public services, and transportation.

The ADA sets regulations that assert limits and standards that contractors must meet and comply with when installing light fixtures in public buildings. If a fixture is more than 80 inches above the floor, then it is automatically ADA compliant. There are no further restrictions on those ADA sconces. There are further requirements, however, for a wall sconce placed under 80 inches. To be considered ADA compliant, it cannot extend more than 4 inches away from the wall.

A contemporary ADA compliant wall sconce with a circle pattern

Our 7.5″ Floating Orb Contemporary Wall Sconce measures just 4″ deep, making it ADA compliant.

Under chapter 4.4, the ADA mandates that “any object that extends from the wall (such as a wall sconce) that is at between 27 and 80 inches (2’3″ and 6’8″) above the floor” is prohibited from protruding more than 4 inches out into the hallway, walkway or corridor. Naturally, this includes wall-mounted light fixtures.

What is the purpose of this rule? Wheelchair and scooter users are at risk when a room has wall sconces that are not ADA-compliant. If a light fixture is placed below 6’8″ in height and protrudes more than 4 inches away from the wall, wheelchair users can bump into them — at the risk of injury. People who use other assisting devices like crutches and walkers are at even more risk. Non-ADA compliant fixtures can trip these people, resulting in potential falls and injuries.

Ribbon-style cylinder sconce, ADA compliant

Because it does not extend more than 4 inches from the wall, this 5″ Contemporary Cylinder Ribbon Wall Sconce can be mounted between 27″ and 80″ from the ground.

Violations of the ADA-established regulations can result in serious injuries; enforcement of these regulations are very strict. As of 2010, if it is suspected that a public building has wall sconces (or any other light fixtures) that are not ADA-compliant, the Department of Justice may file a federal lawsuit against the building managers or the contractors; the compensation required for these violations (depending on injuries) can range up to $55,000 for a first offense and up to $110,000 for subsequent ones.

All wall sconces that are placed above 80 inches (6’8″) and below 27 inches (2’3″) in height are ADA compliant. All other wall sconces must hug the wall closely in order to ensure safety and comfort for all people — whether they are wheelchair users, in crutches, or not disabled at all.

At Fabby, many of the wall sconces we manufacture are less than 4″ deep, meaning you can mount these fixtures between 80 inches and 27 inches above the ground and they will be ADA compliant. You don’t have to sacrifice style and craftsmanship to comply with ADA regulations. Browse our ADA light category to see all our options.

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