If you have been designing commercial properties in California the past decade, you have likely included bottle filling stations at some point in your work. While we have seen bottle filling stations incorporated into designs for some time now, we finally have some clarification around the requirements for accessibility when it comes to bottle filling stations.
These requirements will be required for all new construction. In existing construction where they are installed outside of these parameters, retrofitting to meet compliance will be required as part of 20% of path of travel upgrades if other, more pertinent items are not being completed.
First and foremost in the 2021 Intervening Code Cycle Updates for the 2019 California Building Code is the definition of bottle filling stations.
Found in Chapter 2, Section 202 Definitions:
BOTTLE FILLING STATION. A fixture that is designed and intended for filling
personal use drinking water bottles or containers. Such fixtures can be separate
from or integral to a drinking fountain.
Next we look at scoping found in Division 2:
11B-211 Drinking fountains and bottle filling stations
11B-211.4 Bottle filling stations. Where bottle filling stations are provided they
shall comply with Section 11B-602.10.
Exception: In detention or correctional facilities, bottle filling stations only
serving holding or housing cells not required to comply with Section 11B-232
shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-211.4.
Bottle filling station requirements are then found in Division 6: Plumbing Elements and Facilities.
11B-602 Drinking fountains and bottle filling stations
11B-602.1 General. Drinking fountains shall comply with Sections 11B-307 and
11B-602.10 Bottle filling stations. Bottle filling stations shall comply with
Sections 11B-307 (*) and 11B-309 (**).
Exception: Where bottle filling stations are provided at a drinking fountain for
standing persons, the bottle filling station is not required to comply with this
section provided a bottle filling station is located at the drinking fountain
complying with Sections 11B-602.2 through 11B-602.6.
*11B-307 is requirements for protruding objects
**11B-309 is requirements for operable parts
The bottle filling station must meet the requirements for protruding objects and for operable parts. It also does not take the place of the drinking fountain provided for standing persons. A high and low fountain are still required.
If we were consulting on your next project, we would always recommend specifying a bottle filling station behind the low fountain, however some available products located behind the high fountain will meet requirements as well.
We looked closely at these dimensions provided on the product sheet for these Elkay bottle filling stations and the location behind the high fountain should still provide a bottle filling station with operable parts, within reach ranges (11B-309.3 Height- states that operable parts must be within reach ranges and comply with 11B-308). If installed properly either of these options would be compliant for a forward- high, obstructed reach.