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Changing Places

  Considerations and specification of ‘Changing Places’ assisted accessible toilets

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013

BS8300: 2018Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment

Equality Act 2010

14.5million people in the UK are disabled – 15% of the population.

Over 90% of them suffer from a physical or mental disability that affects mobility, continence and/or physical co-ordination – issues that impair their ability to undertake basic personal hygiene without the help of a carer.

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
  • 13,000 people with acquired brain injuries
  • 8,500 people with multiple sclerosis
  • 100,000 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 obese0.8million disabled children
  • 8.7million people with osteoarthritis
  • 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis

Statistics show the UK’s registered disabled population has a combined annual spending power of between £80-£249billion (Dept of Work & Pensions). Figures released by VisitEngland show overnight trips made by, or accompanied by, someone with a health impairment or condition account for £2billion per annum. Disabled people account on average for 20% of a business’ customers.

They also reveal that 83% of disabled people ‘walked away’ from inaccessible or unwelcoming businesses, or made a conscious decision NOT to visit somewhere if they believed there were not suitable, clean toilet facilities for them.

The concept of a Changing Places toilet was born out of the need to accommodate people who need the help of at least one carer, to enable them to go ‘out and about’ locally or further afield. Current ‘disabled’(Document M type) toilets are often unsuitable, being too small, or not having appropriate equipment.

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013

Toilet accommodation needs to be suitable, not only for disabled people,but for all people who use the building.

Some disabled people need to use a toilet more frequently than other users.The time needed to reach a wheelchair-accessible toilet should therefore be kept to a minimum when considering the location of unisex toilet accommodation.

In large building developments, separate facilities for baby changing and an enlarged unisex toilet incorporating an adult changing table are desirable– a Hygiene Room or ‘Changing Places’ toilet (see below, BS8300:2018).

BS8300:2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment.

The Standard sets down good practice for accessible building design in premises to which the public have access. It advises that disabled people should be able to find and use suitable toilet accommodation no less easily than non-disabled people. The time taken to reach a toilet is an essential element to be taken into account in its siting.

The Standard further recommends that any larger building where the public have access in numbers or where visitors might be expected to spend longer periods of time, should have a Changing Places facility.

The 2018 version has extended the remit of venues to which this applies specifically, to now also include large commercial retail premises. The list also includes educational, civic and public buildings, large hotels, tourist attractions, sport and leisure venues, shopping and town centres, transport hubs,motorway services, healthcare facilities, cultural centres.

A Changing Places toilet aims to meet the needs of people who need a carer to assist, and provides as a minimum:

  • The right equipment i.e. a height-adjustable adult sized changing bench,height-adjustable wash basin, shower and shower seat, and track or mobile hoist system
  • Enough space, to enable manoeuvring for the disabled person and up to two carers, for a centrally located (peninsular) toilet with room either side for carers, and a screen or curtain to allow some privacy
  • A safe and clean environment, ie wide tear-off paper to cover the bench,a large waste bin and a non-slip floor.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 replaces the Disability Discrimination Act. Under it,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 difficult for the person to access or use the service.

The Equality Act 2010 requires that service providers must think ahead and take steps to address barriers that impede disabled people. You should not wait until a disabled person experiences difficulties using a service.1

1Government Equalities Office Equality Act 2010 Disabilities Quick Start Guide

Those changes should comply with the legal and ‘good practice’ guidelines outlined above.

Changing Places specification

As a minimum, under British Standards (BS8300:2018) a Changing Places toilet should be 12m2, with a ceiling height of at least 2.4m, and include:

  • Peninsular WCWash basin, preferably height-adjustable
  • Changing bench, adult sized, height-adjustable
  • Wide tear-off paper roll for the bench
  • Tracking hoist
  • Privacy screen
  • Waste bin
  • Non-slip floor
  • Shower/floor drain (managed settings only)

Changing Places Typical Layout

In addition to the specialist equipment, standard accessible toilet features such as an emergency alarm and grab rails must be provided.

The British Standard notes that replacement of a conventional WC with a wash& dry toilet can benefit users’ dignity and independence.

The Closomat Solution

Established over 55 years ago, Closomat is the UK’s largest and longest established specialist supplier of disabled toileting equipment.

Closomat has a proven and established track record in the provision and maintenance of Changing Places toilets, and is now the UK’s premier choice for a Changing Places facility.

It is unique in offering – in-house – full design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the full ambit of standard, and complimentary, equipment for a Changing Places toilet (or Hygiene Room).The company is the leading supplier and installer of Changing Places installations, including:

  • Wembley Stadium
  • National Exhibition Centre
  • Cadbury World
  • Marwell Wildlife
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • YMCA
  • IKEA
  • Trafford Centre
  • Bullring
  • Wetherspoons (Velvet Coaster, Blackpool)
  • Alton Towers
  • Morrisons
  • Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens
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