NKBA Guidelines and Access Standards

The National Kitchen & Bath Association has been providing information on the design of bath­rooms since Ellen Cheever’s book The Basics of Bathroom Design. . .and Beyond was published in 1989. The Bathroom Planning Guidelines, which first appeared in 1992, have always had a strong focus on safety and building code requirements. The Guidelines have been reviewed and updated periodically to include new information, such as universal design, and in 2003, an NKBA ad hoc committee developed the current Guidelines incorporated in this book. The Guidelines and Access Standards were reviewed in 2011 to assure they were consistent with current building codes and accessibility standards.

The 2003 update of the Guidelines incorporated a review of housing trends and an analysis of the International Residential Code (IRC). Space recommendations are based on documented ergonomic considerations, and code requirements are highlighted. The Guidelines incorporated into this book are consistent with the 2012 IRC. The IRC has been adopted by many states and localities, but design­ers should check the local building codes to make sure they are in compliance. The Bathroom Plan­ning Guidelines are intended to serve as a reference tool for practicing designers and an evaluation tool for bathroom designs. Designers taking the Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) aca­demic exam will be expected to know the Guidelines and designers taking the Certified Bathroom Design exam will be expected to apply the Guidelines to the designs they create for the exam.

NKBA has led the kitchen and bath industry in promoting universal design. Its 1996 Bathroom Planning Guidelines included recommendations that would make the bathroom universal and ac­cessible, many based on ANSI 117.1 guidelines. Many of the universal design points included in the 1996 Guidelines continue to be incorporated in the current Guidelines.

In this book, Access Standards have been included as planning information that will improve a client’s access to the bathroom. Because the International Building Code (IBC) references it, the 2009 Accessible and Useable Buildings and Facilities (ICC/ANSI 117.1) has been used as the basis for the Access Standards. As stated previously, designers should check local jurisdiction to ensure compliance. More information on accessibility standards are found in chapter 4 "Human Factors and Universal Design Foundations" and in chapter 8 "Accessibility in Practice."

An NKBA Access Standard follows each NKBA Bathroom Planning Guideline when appropriate. While these Access Standards and the ICC/ANSI 117.1 standards on which they are based provide a great starting point, designers should closely examine the needs of each individual client to assure that the bathroom is truly useable, not just meeting minimum requirements. The assessment forms presented in chapter 5, "Assessing Needs," should be used to gather information about the client’s anthropometric information (Form 1: Getting to Know Your Client), the activities they perform in the bathroom (Form 3: Checklist for Bathroom Activities), and their storage needs (Form 4: Bathroom Storage Inventory).