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Multi-Occupancy Buildings White Paper

Provision of Assisted Accessible Toilet Facilities/Changing Places in Multi-Occupancy Buildings

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013

BS8300: 2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment

Equality Act 2010

On average, we visit the toilet eight times a day

  • One in five of the UK population – almost 12million people –has a limiting illness that impinges on their ability to carry out daily life
  • The number of disabled students in the UK has risen by 56% in less thana decade
  • Some 20million people are affected by bladder and bowel continence
  • Over 13million people are obese, which makes reaching parts of theirbody difficult, and which can lead to diabetes that in turn leads toincreased urination
  • There are over 1.5million wheelchair users
  • More than 400,000 people now live in care homes; it is estimated 40%of those residents have continence issues
  • Parties that include a disabled person spend £14billion per annum ontourism and travel. They tend to stay longer, and spend more, thanfully-able parties.

A survey by an online community for families with special needs found that100% of respondents suffered from back pain from having to lift someone they cared for without appropriate equipment eg a hoist.

Building Regulations Approved Document M (buildings other than dwellings) 2013

Public/communal areas:

In principle suitable sanitary accommodation should be available to everybody, including wheelchair users, ambulant disabled people, people ofeither sex with babies or people encumbered with luggage.

Sanitary accommodation needs to address issues for people with visual or hearing impairments, people with learning difficulties, people with limited dexterity and people whose lack of tactile sensitivity can cause them to be injured by touching hot surfaces.

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

For wheelchair users in particular, a self-contained unisex toilet with a corner WC is always the preferred option.

Wheelchair-accessible unisex toilets should always be provided in addition to any separate sex accessible facilities.

Unisex Toilet Tech Diagram


Even if space for only one toilet in a building, it should be of wheelchair accessible unisex type. Wheelchair users should be able to approach, transferto and use the sanitary facilities. Wheelchair users should also not have to travel more than 40m to reach a suitable toilet. 

In large building complexes, there should be one wheelchair-accessible unisex toilet capable of including an adult changing bench.

There should also be an enlarged WC cubicle for people who need extra space, and considerations should be given to installing a fold-downchanging table.

Any wheelchair-accessible washroom should have at least one lower washbasin (740mm or less high), one urinal no higher than 380mm and grabrails. The WC should be able to accept a variable height toilet seat riser.

If shower facilities include a WC, ideally a choice of left and right transfer layouts should be provided; if just one is provided, it should be right-hand transfer.

The Document cross-references BS8300 for further guidance.

Under Document M, it is ‘desirable’ to include a Changing Places toilet in addition to a conventional wheelchair-accessible WC, in any building where numbers of the public have access or spend periods of time. See section on BS8300 below for further guidance.


Unisex Accessible WC

A unisex accessible WC (minimum 2.2m x 1.5m) should be located as close as possible to the entrance and/or waiting area of a building. Unisex accessible toilet accommodation should be provided near to bedrooms designed for wheelchair users if the general sanitary arrangement for standard bedrooms in a hotel or motel is not en-suite. 

Sleeping accommodation:

Wheelchair-accessible bedrooms should give the wheelchair user the ability to access and conveniently use sanitary accommodation. En-suite sanitary facilities are the preferred option for wheelchair-accessible bedrooms.

Wheelchair users should be able to access other bedrooms, to visit familyfor example. It again cross-references BS8300 for wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.

There should be at least one wheelchair-accessible bedroom for every 20 bedrooms. There should also be available a bathroom AND shower room for independent use, incorporating a WC.

BS8300: 2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment

The ‘good practice’ guidance applies to buildings that require bathing facilities, such as hotels, motels, nursing or residential homes, hostels, halls of residence.

There should be an en-suite with corner WC for independent use: ideallyboth left – and right-hand transfer options are provided; if only one is included, it should preferably be right-hand transfer.

Where space is limited, e.g. in small business premises, the provision of asingle accessible WC compartment of unisex design instead of separate‑sexfacilities caters for all needs with less demand on space.

Accessible bedrooms should always be provided with en‑suite sanitary facilities if the general sanitary arrangement in the multi-occupancy building adopts an en‑suite approach for any other standard bedrooms. This includes all building types that require permanent sleeping accommodation for disabled people, including hotels, motels, nursing, residential and care homes, university and college halls of residence.

A ceiling track hoist system, for transfers between a wheelchair, bed, chair,shower or bath and WC, can provide the required support to assist a person to move between different locations and potentially reduce transfers.

En‑suite facilities should be the preferred solution where there is no such approach as disabled people might have difficulty moving from one compartment to another. If such a solution is not possible, the sanitary facility and the bedroom should provide separately the same degree of accessibility and be located close to one another.

NOTE It can be advantageous for some accessible bedrooms to have a connecting door to an adjoining room for use by an assistant or family member.

The Standard lays out specific recommendations for hotels and student accommodation.

En suite shower room with hoist

Hotel bedrooms

Accessible bedrooms should always be provided with en‑suite accessible sanitary facilities, including a WC, basin and shower (or bath) if en‑suite facilities are provided for any other bedrooms.

The minimum provision of accessible bedrooms as a percentage of the total number of bedrooms should be:

  • One room or 5%, whichever is the greater, with a wheelchair‑accessibleen‑suite shower room for independent use
  • A further one room or 1%, whichever is the greater, with a tracked hoistsystem and a connecting door to an adjoining (standard) bedroom for useby an assistant or companion
  • One room or 5%, whichever is the greater, with an en‑suite shower roomto meet the requirements of people with ambulant mobility impairments.

A further number of bedrooms to make up a total provision of 15% of all bedrooms should be large enough for easy adaptation to accessible bedroom standards (with en‑suite facilities) if required in future, and be structurally capable of having grab rails installed quickly and easily.

Student accommodation

In student accommodation, the minimum provision of accessible bedrooms asa percentage of the total number of bedrooms should be:

  • One room or 4%, whichever is the greater, wheelchair accessible
  • One room or 1%, whichever is the greater, with a tracked hoist system,and a connecting door to an adjoining (standard) bedroom for use by an assistant or companion (see figure above)
  • 5% easily adaptable wheelchair accessible rooms for independent use.

A full room cover tracked hoist system gives the greatest flexibility of use.It makes the best use of the available space and improves a person’s privacy/independence by allowing transfers to be made totally within the shower/bathroom/en-suite, if required.

Changing Places

Any building where people might be expected to spend long periods of time would benefit from the provision of a Changing Places toilet. BS8300: 2018 particularly mentions large hotels for such an installation.

Provided IN ADDITION TO a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet,a Changing Places provides a minimum 3m x 4m, to accommodate the wheelchair user and up to two carers, plus additional fixtures including a ceiling track hoist, adult-sized changing bench and privacy screen.

Changing Places Typical Layout

Supplementary guidance

Whilst not a best practice or legislative requirement, campaigners have developed the concept of Space to Change, for buildings where there is not the space in communal areas to accommodate a full-specification Changing Places.

Space to Change builds on the Building Regulations Document M provision of at least a 2.2m x 2m wheelchair accessible unisex toilet. It adds to that Standard an extra 5m of space, to accommodate a hoist and adult-sized changing bench.

There should be available a bathroom AND shower room for independentuse, incorporating a WC.

Where space is limited, e.g. in small business premises, the provision of a single accessible WC compartment of unisex design instead of separate‑sex facilities caters for all needs with less demand on space.

Space to Change Typical Layout

Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 replaces the Disability Discrimination Act. Under it, service providers have a duty 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, making appropriate adjustments.

The Closomat solution

Closomat is the UK’s largest and longest-established specialist supplier of disabled toileting equipment. It is unique in offering, in-house, full designadvice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance.

Closomat is Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toileting solutions. It is the only company in its sector which manufactures wash and dry (automaticshower) toilets – the brand-leading Closomat Palma Vita and Lima Lifter –in the UK.

The company also supplies the full ambit of accessible toileting, washroom,hygiene and changing room equipment, including shower equipment, hoists, height-adjustable fixtures and fittings. It has an innovative solution whereby individual elements can be added or removed to a wall track system, enabling the en-suite to be adapted to individual user needs, whether able or disabled.

Closomat is unique in also having, in-house, expert project management services.

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