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Space to Change White Paper

Considerations in the provision of ‘Space to Change’ wheelchair accessible toilets

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013/15

BS8300: 2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive
built environment

Equality Act 2010

One in 6 of the British population is registered disabled.

We also have:

  • 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

57% of disabled people have a mobility impairment*

Disabled people make up 30% of NHS users, and those with a long-term health impairment account for 70% of NHS expenditure.*

Many of these children and adults need the help of a carer, particularly to go to the toilet.

A person empties their bladder and/or bowel every 2-3 hours. Therefore, if away from home, access to a toilet will be needed.

In the worst case – yet most likely – scenario, the person could end up having to lie on thefloor to be changed. They have to lie on a potentially dirty floor. They and their carer face risk of injury having to manoeuvre without the support/help of a hoist.

‘Desirable’ under Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013 and BS8300:2018 is the inclusion of a Changing Places toilet IN ADDITION TO other wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities. Under the above guidance, this should be at least 12m2 and include more equipment, notably an adult-sized changing bench and hoist.

However, practicalities dictate the space and/or financial constraints of a Changing Places mean it is not always feasible.

Space to Change toilet facilities bridge the gap between Document M wheelchair-accessible toilets and Changing Places. They enhance the existing unisex wheelchair accessible toilet provision to also incorporate an adult-sized changing bench and hoist.

This document covers the considerations and legal requirements for a Space to Change accessible toilet for disabled visitors.

(*Papworth Trust disability in the UK report)

Changing Places Room

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2015

Toilet accommodation needs to be suitable, not only for disabled people, but for all people who use the building. For disabled people, suitable toilet accommodation may take the form of a specially designed cubicle in separate-sex toilet washrooms, or a self-contained unisex toilet. For wheelchair users in particular a self-contained unisex toilet is always thepreferred option.

In large building developments, an enlarged unisex toilet incorporating an adult changing table is desirable.

In large building complexes, such as retail parks and large sports centres, there should be one wheelchair-accessible unisex toilet capable of including an adult changing table.

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, and/or where people spend a long period of time. It also applies to existing buildings being a basis, where practicable, for their improvement. The Standard applies to buildings including rail, road, sea and air travel buildings, administrative and commercial, health & welfare, large commercial retail premises, recreation includingsports, religious, educational and multi-occupancy residential buildings.

BS8300:2018 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.

Where space is limited, e.g. in small business premises, the provision of a single accessible unisex peninsular WC for assisted use caters for all needs, and should be sited as close as possible to the entrance and/or waiting area of a building.

As well as being accessible to people in wheelchairs, a well-designed toilet must be easy to use for a wide range of other people, including those who cannot bend, those with limited strength, impaired balance, impaired vision and those who make involuntary movements.

Where there is only one WC available in a building, it should be of unisex accessible corner design. The minimum clear overall dimensions of a unisex accessible corner WC compartment should allow the hand rinse basin to be used both from a wheelchair and while a person is seated on the WC, and should allow space for somebody to assist the disabled person.

Sector specific guidelines for stations, stadia and healthcare buildings, including hospitals, all cross-reference BS8300, and all support the provision where possible of a Changing Places toilet facility.

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 requires that service providers must think ahead and take steps to address barriers thatimpede disabled people, and those barriers should be addressed before a disabled person experiences difficulties.

A House of Lords Select Committee report into the Act found that many restaurants, pubs and clubs are difficult to access, with many not providing basic facilities such as a disabled toilet.

Space to Change 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 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 an extra 5m of space (to yield a total 7.5m2), to accommodate a hoist and adult-sized changing bench.

Space to Change enables at least the core hygiene requirements of many people who need help, and their carers, to be met. The hoist can be ceiling track or mobile; a ceiling track requires no floor space so is the preferred option. If a ceiling track hoist is used, the ceiling must be 2.4m minimum to allow appropriate clearance to use and move the hoist when it is occupied.

The changing bench must be height-adjustable and adult sized, but can bemobile or wall-mounted.

Space to Change Typical Layout

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 design advice, 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 & dry (automatic shower) 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.

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

Closomat is already expert in the provision of disabled toilets, hygiene rooms and Changing Places toilets to healthcare industry, having completed successful projects at, among others, MASH (Multi-Agency Specialist Hub) Suites in Kent, Finchley Memorial Hospital and Leighton Hospital.

Closomat has been instrumental in helping campaigners develop Space to Change, bringing to bear its experience in the design, supply and installation of away from home toilets in a range of settings.

Download our White Paper