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New ADA Compliance Ranges Coming

It is highly likely that the maximum reach ranges for motor fuel dispensers will be modified. You must be prepared.
July 7, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. €" On July 26, the American Disabilities Act (ADA) will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its enactment. Credible rumors have been circulating that indicate the ADA will be changing the maximum reach ranges for motor fuel dispensers and for all other purposes. In 2008, NACS filed official comments regarding reach ranges with the U.S. Department of Justice.

While NACS does not know exactly what the new ADA compliance reach ranges will be, we strongly recommend that all members involved in new construction conform to the 48-inch reach range on all dispensers being installed. This reach range is measured from the pedestrian lane below the pump.

Although the ADA has not yet released new regulations or laws, NACS suggests following these recommendations to help retailers conform to potential requirements likely to be released within the next month:

  • If placing your pump on a 6-inch curb, your reach range is now 42 inches.
  • The access lane for the vehicle is normally sloped away from the pump for drainage purposes. The slope cannot exceed ¼-inch per foot (2 percent) but this is nevertheless going to affect the 48-inch total reach range when measured from the clear floor space where a wheelchair would be situated.
  • We strongly recommend taking into consideration the necessity of leveling pumps, finishing concrete, etc., and build in a 1- to 2-inch buffer for compliance. If planning to place a dispenser nozzle exactly at 48 inches, be careful when installing the dispenser because you may need to shim the dispenser to level it. This could make the just-installed dispenser a noncompliant dispenser. Moreover, any slope on the lane away from the pump also will mean it is noncompliant if it is set at exactly 48 inches from the floor directly adjacent to the pump.

NACS is keeping a close eye on any ADA reach changes and will advise retailers about the nature of any new regulations, including whether all dispensers must be compliant and if there are retrofit requirements.