EU Cookie Law

This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

Assisted accessible toilets, bathrooms and washrooms

The provisions beyond Building Regulation Approved Document M explained

BS8300: 2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment

BS6465-4 Code of practice for the provision of public toilets

Building Bulletin 104 area guidelines for SEND and alternative provisionAccessible train station design code of practice

Department of Health: Health Building Note 00-02 Sanitary Spaces

On average, we visit the toilet eight times a day

  • One in six of the UK population – over 10million people – has a limiting illness that impinges on their ability to carry out daily life
  • Some 20million are affected by bladder and bowel continence
  • There are over 1.5million wheelchair users
  • Over 13million people are obese, which makes reaching parts of their body difficult, and which can lead to diabetes that in turn leads to increased urination

Research shows that potentially up to 14million* people cannot usea conventional (Document M) wheelchair-accessible toilet because theyneed more space, the support of up to two carers, a changing bench, and/orhoist. Provided in addition to a conventional wheelchair-accessible (DocumentM) toilet, these facilities are known as Changing Places. Where included as an ‘add-on’ to a unisex wheelchair assisted toilet, it is a Space to Change facility.

The continuing drive for an inclusive society has seen a raft of changes to‘good practice’ in making facilities accessible.

Equality Act

Under the Act, which replaces the Disability Discrimination Act, service providers are required to make reasonable changes – including to the built environment – where a disabled customer or potential customer would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage; previously, such changes were only required if it would have been impossible or unreasonably difficultfor the person to access or use the service. It extends classification of disability to include incontinence.


The Code of Practice affects any new build or refurbishment project ofa building to which numbers of the public have access – from hotels and tourist attractions to civic facilities.

Under BS8300:2018, multi-occupancy buildings (hotels, care homes, student accommodation etc) should provide up to 5% of bedrooms with a wheelchair accessible en-suite shower room, if en-suite facilities are available elsewhere in the building; a further 1% should have a fixed track hoist system, a further 5% maximum should have an en-suite for ambulant disabled people, with an overall total of 15% of bedrooms large enough to enable easy adaptation if required in the future.

Tourism for All is campaigning for proprietors to go beyond the basic legislative requirement – a Document M package and wheel-in shower – and realise how enhanced facilities, such as including a height-adjustable basin or a ‘wash and dry’ toilet, would enable them to maximise revenue potential from the disabled sector: a ‘wash and dry’ toilet incorporates integral douching and drying, eliminating the need for the user, or their carer, to manually cleanse,thus improving hygiene, dignity and privacy.

A well-designed accessible sanitary facility/bathroom takes into account a level access for smooth movement into the space, sufficient area within for the user and a wheelchair and/or carer, and a layout to enable transfer from a wheelchair to the toilet, by a hoist and/or positioning the toilet away from the wall (peninsular). A wetroom ensures all personal hygiene can be undertaken as easily as possible. Use of colour further assists people with visual impairment.

BS8300:2018 also includes Changing Places toilets, which should, as good practice, be installed in any building to which numbers of the public have access-libraries, tourist attractions, leisure centres, transport hubs, shopping centres etc.

Changing Places Typical Layout

Changing Places Typical Layout


BS6465-4 Code of Practice for Provision of Public Toilets came into force in 2010, and states “when considering innovative approaches to toilet provision,issues of…equality, accessibility, social inclusion and sustainability should be taken into account.” It extends the scope for disabled people, emphasizing that ‘with the increased mobility of disabled people and the growing number of older people, public toilet blocks should contain accessible provision….in heavy use areas, an additional Changing Places toilet should be provided’.

It also says existing toilets should not be closed just because they do not include facilities for disabled people, as by law (Equality Act 2010)‘reasonable adjustments’ must be carried out to make facilities accessible for disabled people, and extends classification of disability to include incontinence. Replacement of a conventional WC with a ‘wash and dry’ toilet is a cost-effective solution to ensuring ‘best value’ and meeting allrecommendations, as it meets the disability requirements and the added of Islamic hygiene practice.

Building Bulletin 104

Research by the Bog Standard campaign reveals that almost half of the schools surveyed have no disabled toilets despite one in five pupils in mainstream education being special needs.

The Department for Education Building Bulletin 104 area guidelines for SEND and alternative provision states accessible personal care facilities must be provided at convenient intervals round the school, and that toilet and changing facilities in mainstream schools should include fittings including a peninsular toilet, height-adjustable basin and height-adjustable changing table.

It further outlines requirements for hygiene rooms – a convenient solution to meeting the needs of pupils in wheelchairs. Such areas should have space for at least the student and one or two adult support workers, a hoist, accessible WC, mobile height-adjustable changing bed for showering and/ or changing, a hoist, an accessible shower (if the changing bench does not include one) and a washbasin.

(Please refer to our assisted accessible toilet facilities in educationalestablishments white paper for further guidance).

Design Standards for Accessible Railway Stations

The latest Code of Practice came into force in March 2015. It pulls together all current guidance on the provision and location of wheelchair accessible toilets, particularly cross-referring to BS8300, and includes:

  • That disabled people should be able to find and use suitable toilet accommodation no less easily than non-disabled people, toilets must be designed so they can be used independently
  • Where there is only one accessible WC it should be of unisex design suitable for wheelchair users and ambulant disabled people
  • As well as being accessible to people in wheelchairs, it must be easy to use by other people including those who cannot bend, with limited strength, impaired balance, impaired vision and those who make involuntary movements
  • Where new toilets are being built, toilets for disabled people must beprovided
  • A Changing Places toilet should be provided in all large railway stations(category A), and should be in addition to, not instead of, the provision ofunisex accessible WCs

(Please refer to our transport hubs white paper for further guidance).

Department of Health: Health Building Note
00-02 Sanitary Spaces 2016/ Welsh Health Building Note 00-02
(Scotland refers to DoH Note)

The Health Building Note gives ‘best practice’ guidelines for healthcare buildings. It recommends assisted WC facilities. Its latest edition now includes Changing Places and advises:

Changing Places toilets should provide:

  • Wheelchair access to the changing table, toilet and hand-rinse basin;
  • Transfer from a wheelchair to the toilet or changing table;
  • Use of the toilet;
  • Use of a hoist;
  • Changing older children/adults with continence problems;
  • Disposal of soiled nappies/continence pads;
  • Hand rinsing;
  • Personal washing.

Further, where provided, they should be in public areas for ease of access to everyone who needs to use them, with comprehensive guidance on the design and equipment.

(Please refer to our healthcare white paper for further guidance).

*Potential users of a wheelchair-accessible toilet with space, bench and hoist include:

  • 1.5million wheelchair users
  • 6.5million people who have either bladder or bowel incontinence
  • 1.5million people with a learning disability
  • 1.2million people living with stroke
  • 62,000 amputees
  • 30,000 people with cerebral palsy
  • 500,000 people with acquired brain injuries
  • 100,000 people with multiple sclerosis
  • 70,000 people with muscular dystrophies
  • 5,000 people with motor neurone disease
  • 8,000 people with spina bifida
  • 40,000 people with spinal injuries
  • 120,000 people with a stoma
  • 3.8million adults morbidly obese
  • 0.8million disabled children
  • 8.7million people with osteoarthritis
  • 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis

The Closomat solution

Closomat is the UK’s biggest manufacturer and supplier of disabled toileting solutions. Its range of equipment, from grab rails to ‘wash and dry’ toilets,hoists and toilet lifters enable specifiers to meet all their needs from one source which has the ‘behind the scenes’ expertise to advise, design, supply, install and maintain accessible toilet and washroom facilities beyond Document M. The offering extends across domestic and all ‘away from home’toilet scenarios, including Changing Places, Hygiene Rooms and Space to Change toilets.

Download our White Paper