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New Code Provision for Gender-Neutral Restrooms

By ANGLE Staff posted 06-29-2016 12:03 PM


A recent Architectural Record article ("Architects Propose Design Solutions for Equitable Restrooms") highlighted some of the challenges that architects face when designing gender-neutral bathrooms .Stephen Cassell, AIA, a principal of the firm Architecture Research Office (ARO), noted that ARO’s gender-neutral restroom design for Congregation Beit Simchat Torah required a special review by the New York City Department of Buildings because it deviated from the 2014 NYC Construction Codes. According to Mr. Cassell, ARO’s request for a variance ultimately was approved by the city inspector but the process was time consuming.

Good news: the 2018 International Building and Plumbing Codes include new code provisions for gender-neutral restrooms that were first proposed by the AIA. You can view the approved new language here (search for “P40-15” or scroll to page 51/257 for the original proposal and page 52/257 for its modification by Public Comment 2).

States and local jurisdictions can adopt the 2018 IBC (when it is published by the International Code Council in spring 2017) or they can adopt the new code provision if they are currently updating their state or local building codes. Doing so would expedite the review and permitting process for this type of bathroom design.

David S. Collins, FAIA – AIA Codes and Standards Committee Member

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Image 1 credit: U.S. Department of Transportation and the American Institute of Graphic Arts 

Image 2 credit: Elizabeth Felicella/Esto (courtesy of Architectural Record)

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