The 2010 Standards of Accessible Design Section 305.3 describes the clear floor area
for rooms, including storage rooms, as being a minimum of 30"x48". This is the amount
of space required by a wheelchair. In storage closets it is important to have not only the
minimum requirements, but if they are full entry closets, then the ability to turn around
and exit the closet will also be required. Many times, storage closets are designed narrow
and deep, which becomes problematic if the person in the wheelchair is able to fully enter
the space and not get back out.
Shallow vs. Full entry closets
There are two types of closets: one is a "shallow closet" space which is shallower than
the48" x 30" required by a wheelchair and therefore does not allow full entry. A closet
that isdeeper than 48" would allow full entry by a person in a wheelchair.
In storage facilities (i.e. closets) that allow full entry, a 5'-0" turning space is required so that once in they can turn around and get out without risk of getting stuck. What if
you don't have the five feet? Then you can make the deep closet act like shallow
closets. Here are some examples:
shelving to the back to make the space less than 48" and therefore does not allow
for full entry.
Inspector's Corner: Shallow Closet
The 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, states the requirements for storage in
section 811, but it refers you back to section 308 for reach ranges. If you have
a shallow closet, there needs to be a reach range per Figure 308.3.1 which shows
an unobstructed side approach. The only obstruction you can have 10" of depth
maximum. The rod or shelving would have to be no taller than 48" high
In this shallow closet used to hang smocks and personal belongings at a beauty salon ,
the doorway is not 30" therefore a side approach is required. But the rod is higher than
48" and the distance away from the doorway was more than 10". Therefore this was not
an acceptable storage closet.
A solution could be to add a second rod that is at 48" high and 10" away from the
opening of the storage closet.