Card Reader/ Door Intercom Mounting Heights?

There seems to be fairly broad range of accepted mounting heights for door mounted devices like card readers and intercom stations.

A variety of codes define acceptable mounting heights, with the most widely accepted US source being ADA 1995. For example, intercom stations can be mounted as low as 27 inches and as high as 48 inches. That's quite a range!

Do you have a standard height you specify or install to? Where might your specified height vary? Why?

Our company standard is 59 inches (bottom of devices) from finished floor. This is for intercoms (video), touchpanels, music keypads, security keypads, access reades, e.t.c

Lighting keypads are installed at 47 inches.

It is a constant battle with customers, architects and interior designers that want everything much lower.

No codes here.

Hello, Harris:

Interesting, thanks for the answer. 59 Inches is pretty high! Does your company deviate from that standard for wheelchair access?

The image below is lifted from ADA standards on heights accessible from a seated position. 54 inches is the max height listed:


thanks, your answer is very interesting for me as well. 70% of the projects we do are luxury residences, so for us the most important thing is usability and convenience for the customer.

In the commercial projects I have to check what we do exactly but you are right wheelchair access is a big subject and very important. 54 inches isnt quite low though for non-wheelchair people? e.g security keypad? how can you read the LCD? or video intercom monitor? or engraving on lighting keypad? touchpanel is really low at 54 inches. I am not arguing or anything, there is no ideal solution on this and it can be a big problem. I think the problem arises from the fact that 54 inches was set based on simple lighting switches that just requires a tab so at 54 it is fine - the problem is that now you have other much more complicated devies like the ones I mentioned that require interaction and you have to read something on them and 54 inches is not ideal for this - it seems the standard has to be reviewed and account for this but is there an intermediate solution? When we are free and allowed to do what we want the heights I mentioned in my first post work really work.

Yes, and the question applies for more than just door access. For access controlled gates, this is a common solution for height problems:

The upper reader/intercom is for tall vehicles, like diesel tractors or trailer trucks, while the low reader is for automobiles and sedan type cars.

We specify that the card reader be at the same height as the knob or lever on the door that that it is controlling. This is typically 36" above the floor in the US, although it can sometimes be a little higher. Intercom stations are always specified to be at 48".

I know this is an old thread but thought this may be of value for others. The quote is pulled form

“…Reach Ranges. The 1991 Standards set the maximum height for side reach at 54 inches above the floor. The 2010 Standards, at section 308.3, lower that maximum height to 48 inches above the finish floor or ground...”


15" - 48" per

I go with 36" to center. Same as most door knobs/handles.

Department of Justice ADA Title III Regulation 28 CFR Part 36 (1991)

4.2.5* Forward Reach. If the clear floor space only allows forward approach to an object, the maximum high forward reach allowed shall be 48 in (1220 mm) (see Fig. 5 and Fig. 5(a)). The minimum low forward reach is 15 in (380 mm). If the high forward reach is over an obstruction, reach and clearances shall be as shown in Fig. 5(b).

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4.2.6* Side Reach. If the clear floor space allows parallel approach by a person in a wheelchair, the maximum high side reach allowed shall be 54 in (1370 mm) and the low side reach shall be no less than 9 in (230 mm) above the floor (Fig 6, Fig. 6(a) and Fig (b)). If the side reach is over an obstruction, the reach and clearances shall be as shown in Fig 6(c).

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(37) Side Reach

ABRA 6.19. ADAAG 205.1; 228.1-2; 308.3; 309.3.Compared to the current requirement, the revised side reach requirement will have a lower maximum (48" instead of the current 54") and higher minimum (15" instead of 9"). The requirement will apply to operable parts on accessible elements located on accessible routes, and to elements in accessible rooms and spaces. Elements and operable parts and controls that could be affected by the revised side reach requirements include: electrical outlets; thermostats; fire-alarm pull stations; card readers; keypads; coat hooks; window control hardware; paper towel dispensers and hand dryers in toilet rooms; ATMs; and at least one in each group of depositories, vending machines, change machines, and gas pumps (with a specified exception). (Elements may comply with either the side or forward reach requirement.)

Don't laugh but I have installed very large number of various equipment that have to be with in reach of all size people. Stopped using measuring tape decades ago.

I use my nipples.

we are metric here in Australia now but in the old days that is 4'6"from FFL. It goes for a reader to large FIP panels, open the door and do the first fix in the middle on the back wall of the panel.Never had a complaint.

Forgot, I am about 6 foot

Do you account for how much lower your nipples are sagging each year?

Cheap shot, but I am sure you expected/wanted that.

Perhaps I can use my body parts to measure other security equipment perimeters.

It became the the norm out of necessity. Back in the 70's I was given a van with a large number of drug cabinets that I had to install alarm and install.New legislation made all drug sales outlets to have drugs to be stored in a alarmed cabinet on a solid wall. All of the Pharmacies was out bush in Queensland Australia in small villages with few shops.Start 07:00 and finished around 19;00 or later, depending on the closing time of the Pharmacy.This was carried out over a very long period. I lost my my measure tape a few times and looked for something that I had with me at all times. It so happened that I put my finger in the middle of a installed cabinet once and parallel moved my hand over to my body to see where about it ended up, my nipples.Not a cheap shot, but factual. So is the story when I nearly caused a hearth attack for a pharmacist. Arriving late afternoon the staff showed me where to fit the cabinet. Nice solid concrete wall. Marked the wall and lined up the cabinet and used my Hilti gun to shot in the first pin.Did not realize the pharmacist was a sleep behind a screen next to me. Her scream fricked me out...

Noticed the photos with readers on the ground. A common problem with car park readers are damage caused by motor vehicles etc. Problem solved by using rear axle springs from motor vehicles. Welded on a steel plate.The one in the photos is about 10 years old, no repaint, no damage.Not recommended for very windy areas.

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Ingenious idea. I am totally looking forward to the debate this may initiate.