Disabled washrooms come in many shapes and sizes, but are yours accessible for every user? Here we take a look at the best accessibility improvements you can implement in the washroom.
There’s a growing concern over just how accessible many disabled washrooms actually are. From those that meet regulations to those that sit well below the bar, there are usually extra steps to take for most disabled washrooms in the UK.
Are disabled toilets a legal requirement?
In existing commercial buildings that don’t have a full disabled washroom, you are expected to do the very best you can, this might include grab rails and an outward opening door, or extend to a full Changing Spaces compliant washroom. Meanwhile, all new build commercial premises have to comply to Document M of Building Regulations, which requires a disabled toilet that meets specific criteria. This criteria includes a raised toilet pan, a series of grab rails, a tap that can be operated with elbows, a certain amount of manoeuvre space inside the washroom, and an outward opening door.
How big does a disabled toilet need to be?
Disabled washrooms should be at least 2200mm deep x 1500mm wide. However, this is a minimum dimension for a full disabled washroom and additional space is a very sensible idea. This allows for a carer to assist, or for users to have more space to leave wheel chairs or other belongings.
How many disabled toilets do I need?
If you only have one washroom in your building, it should be a disabled one – or be as accessible as is possible when in an existing commercial premises. In hotels, a requirement states that 10% of all washrooms should meet disabled criteria, while in offices there should be at least one disabled toilet on each floor.
Improving existing disabled washrooms
Accessibility is a wide subject and caters to a number of impairments. Grab rails should contrast in colour to the wall they are mounted on so that they are easily seen by the visually impaired. Taps should be able to be operated by using the elbow, and an emergency pull cord should be installed for users to call for help or assistance. A shelf next to the toilet is a great addition which allows users with a colostomy bag to change them more easily. There is actually a big push for Changing Spaces compliant washrooms, which are washrooms that are full accessible for all. In 2021 all retail and public premises will need to include an adult changing table in their disabled washrooms to meet this criteria.
Disabled washroom refurbishments
Planning on refurbishing your existing disabled washroom, or looking to extend and provide wider accessibility for your employees, customers and visitors? LAN services are expertly versed in the process from specification and design, through to protect management and installation. Sometimes you might consider adjusting the structure of your building to better facilitate your disabled washroom provisions, while at other times a modern refresh is all that is needed. If you’re in need of advice or assistance, just get in touch.
If you would like further advice on improving disabled washrooms, please get in touch with one of the team on 01202 650900