The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does affect electrical work. Annex J of the NEC cites provisions from the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It includes 10 illustrations. This is a handy reference when you’re out in the field with your NEC, but don’t have the ADA standard with you and a question arises.

An important concept to understand is what the “circulation path” is. This term means an exterior or interior way of passage provided for pedestrian travel. It can be a walk, hallway, elevator, or any other kind of space in which people “circulate.”

Annex J covers these aspects of objects that protrude into the circulation path:

• Limits on how far objects can protrude into the circulation path.

• Objects mounted on posts or pylons, and the spaces required between them and the finished floor or ground.

• Vertical clearances between those objects and the finished floor or ground.

• Required clear width. Protruding objects can’t reduce the clear width required for accessible routes.

Annex J also covers distance requirements for forward reach and side reach.