For disabled people across the country, the announcement, over the weekend, of Government consultation on making Changing Places toilets a mandatory requirement is great news.
Is the consultation document setting out the right questions, and considerations? The key points it is asking are:
- Should there be a mandatory requirement for Changing Places?
- Where should they be?
- What triggers should be put in place to mark when a Changing Places should be provided in a particular type of venue?
- Minimum size, equipment within a Changing Places
- The cost implications
It looks positive. The issues that have concerned campaigners are largely addressed. These include what locations/venues should legally provide the assisted accessible toilets? What is acceptable as a minimum size? What is acceptable as the minimum equipment therein?
The document is also considering the practicalities from the provider point of view.
It is suggesting specific triggers, depending on the venue type, as to when it should have to provide a Changing Places. The triggers seem to meet the issues campaigners have been facing- single retail premises of 2,500+m2 (so most supermarkets), shopping centres of 30,000m2+, theatres of 500+ seats, cinemas with 2000+capacity, to cite a few specifics.
Importantly, it is also addressing size. The original standard 12m2 (3m x 4m) is still the objective, but, appreciating venues do not always have an appropriate space to allocate, the document is proposing 9m2 as the acceptable smaller version, with a minimum door with of 1m and ceiling height of 2.4m.
This is a significant change from the current accepted m2 floor space. Facilities have been registered that are as small as 7m2. The minimum size has been a consistent sticking point, not helped by the fact there is no legislation in place to help determine such considerations. The door width and ceiling height are also important issues to address.
The combination, if incorporated in Building Regulations, helps ensure those who need them can not only find a Changing Places toilet when away from home, but can also use it.
The same logic applies to the equipment therein. The Consultation is advising the kit in either size (or any inbetween) should be the same core elements of peninsular WC, ceiling track hoist, height adjustable adult sized changing bench (no stipulation whether fixed or mobile), height adjustable washbasin, privacy screen.
To find out more about , and/or comment on, the proposed changes, read the Consultation document here:
You have until July 21….