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WASHROOM


HOW TO PROVIDE ACCESSIBLE TOILETS AND WASHROOMS


Mark Fielding, Regional Manager for Portaloo, part of the Portakabin Group, provides some practical advice for facilities managers specifying accessible toilets.


Any organisation that supplies toilets or washrooms for use by the public has to ensure that provision is made for people with disabilities.


There are two types of accessible toilet:


• Standard accessible toilets – with access for a standard-sized wheelchair, and designed for independent use by an individual, usually with space for one carer. There should be fixed-position handrails to allow transfer from wheelchair to the toilet.


• Fully accessible toilets – for people with severe disabilities who cannot use the facility independently. These should be large enough to accommodate a powered wheelchair or one fitted with extra head and leg supports, and up to two assistants. They should include specialist equipment – a ceiling-mounted track hoist and height-adjustable adult changing bench.


WHAT LEGAL OBLIGATIONS HAVE


TO BE MET? Organisations providing toilets or washrooms for public use must include facilities that are accessible for people with disabilities. If new facilities are being procured and there are not currently sufficient accessible toilets on-site, they must include a standard accessible toilet or washroom.


Under the Equality Act 2010 all providers of goods and services have a legal requirement to make reasonable


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adjustments to their premises to allow people with disabilities to make use of their services.


This includes adjustments to toilets and washing facilities, and to steps, kerbs and gates to make the entrance accessible. Changes to doors, floors, lighting and ventilation should be considered to enable people to move around with ease.


If building work is being carried out on new or altered buildings, they must be Building Regulations- compliant to make them safe and accessible. In addition to making reasonable provision for people with disabilities at the entrance and approaches to buildings and dwellings, Part M (Access to and Use of Buildings) also covers the provision of sanitary conveniences. Suitable toilet facilities should be available for wheelchair users and ambulant disabled people.


KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ACCESSIBLE WASHROOMS


1. Size and Layout The interior should be sufficiently spacious for wheelchair users to manoeuvre freely to access the toilet and washbasin and there should be enough room for at least one carer. Layouts should comply with BS 8300:2009 for optimum positioning of facilities for easy access.


For people with a wider range of disabilities, consider a larger space to accommodate a powered wheelchair and two carers.


2. Toilet Specify a peninsular toilet and position it with sufficient space for one assistant and a standard- sized wheelchair.


Fixed-position handrails with one drop-down grab rail allow transfer from wheelchair to toilet. Consider providing a back rest and a colostomy changing shelf.


3. Washbasins Low-level sinks are a standard accessible feature. Consider a height- adjustable washbasin for use at the correct comfortable height whether the user is seated or standing.


Waste pipes should not impede access to the washbasin for wheelchair users. Automatic sensor taps or manual lever taps allow easier operation.


4. Adult Changing Table An adult-sized changing bench should be provided. A height- adjustable bench can be moved safely to the correct height for the carer, and lowered for self-transfer from a wheelchair or for assisted transfer using a hoist.


If a shower can be installed to make washing easier, ensure the detachable shower head is located close to the head of the changing bench, with a floor drain.


A dispenser roll for wide disposable paper to cover the changing bench for each new user and large sanitary disposal bins are essential.


5. Hoist A ceiling track hoist should cover the whole room allowing safe


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