# 109 II-6.3300(2) III-7.3100 III-7.5155 III-7.

8600

December 6, 1993

James M. Gran Associate Counsel Maytag Corporation 403 West Fourth Street North Newton, Iowa 50208 Dear Mr. Gran: This letter is in response to the questions we discussed at our October 29, 1993, meeting in Washington, D.C. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation, and it is not binding on the Department. At that meeting, representatives from Maytag asked: (1) how to distinguish fixed from free-standing washing machines under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"); (2) whether washing machine drums are operating mechanisms subject to ADA reach range requirements; and (3) the number of accessible washing machines required in new construction under title III of the ADA and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards ("UFAS"). The ADA Standards for Accessible Design ("Standards") prescribe specific accessibility requirements for new construction and alteration of facilities covered by title III of the ADA. As our previous letter indicated, those requirements apply only to equipment that is fixed or built into the structure

of the building, not to machines that are free-standing. Some examples of fixed equipment are: machines that are bolted to floors or walls, machines connected to building plumbing systems with rigid pipe (rather than flexible tubing), and machines that require connection by professional installation. According to the Standards, fixed equipment must meet ADA requirements for controls and operating mechanisms. Section 4.27 of the Standards requires that "the highest operable part of controls, dispensers, receptacles and other operable equipment" meet reach range requirements specified in section 4.2 of the Standards. "Operable part" is defined in section 3.5 of the Standards as: A part of a piece of equipment or appliance used to insert or withdraw objects or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the equipment or appliance (for example, coin slot, pushbutton, handle). Operable parts of washing machines, which must meet ADA reach range requirements, are, for example, coin slots, machine on/off buttons, and cycle control buttons. The lids or doors into washing machine drums are also operable parts which must meet ADA reach range requirements, although the drums themselves, which do not fall squarely within the above definition of "operable part," should not be required to meet ADA reach ranges. Thus, a washing machine in which the bottom or back of the drum exceeds ADA reach range requirements does not appear to violate the Standards, as long as the lid, door, or other opening of the drum meets the reach range requirements. Front-loading machines may be preferable for persons who use wheelchairs, because, even if a person cannot reach the back of the drum, he or she can at least see whether any articles of clothing have lodged there and need to be retrieved by alternative means. Most top-loading machines, including those that meet ADA reach range requirements, do not allow a person in a wheelchair to see the bottom of the drum. The ADA Standards specify the number of accessible washing machines required in new construction and alteration of transient lodging in homeless shelters, halfway houses, transient group homes, and other social service establishments (see Standards 9.5.2), but the Standards provide no similar scoping requirement for washing machines in other places of public accommodation. If

the Standards provide no applicable scoping requirements, then a reasonable number, but at least one, in each common use laundry area, must be accessible. In determining what a reasonable number is, consideration should be given to the type of facility that will house the machines and the likely demand for accessible machines. As mentioned in our previous letter, the proposed ADA guidelines for residential units covered by title II specify that at least one washing machine in any accessible dwelling unit or in a common use laundry facility serving one or more accessible dwelling units must be front-loading, and must meet other requirements from the Standards for controls. In contrast, under UFAS, all washing machines provided within individual accessible dwelling units, or within common use laundry rooms that serve accessible dwelling units, must be front-loading. See proposed title II guidelines and preamble, 13.3.5, at pages 60663 and 60639, and UFAS 4.34.7, 4.34.7.2, both of which were sent with our previous letter. Please keep in mind the discussion in our previous letter describing the additional accessibility requirements that apply to the use of washing machines in places of public accommodation under sections 36.201 and 36.202 of the regulation promulgated under title III. I hope this information is helpful to your company. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section cc: The Honorable Charles E. Grassley