Guidance on accesible toilets

Based on notes provided by Cassie Herschel-Shorland, Access and Museum Design Consultant, via the GEM list:

The following provision is recommended and to meet the requirements of the current Building Regulations (for England):

  • at least one wheelchair user accessible unisex WC should be provided at each location where there standard male/female WCs are provided;
  • also at least one cubicle in the standard male and female WCs with extra space (by providing an outward opening doors) and weight bearing grab-rails, plus a lower height washbasin/drier option;
  • where there is only space for 1 WC within a building then make this an accessible unisex type but with greater width to accommodate a standing height basin in addition to the wall-hung hand wash basin;

There are other considerations such as:

  • provide an accessible WC on each floor and within 40m of any area of activity/work (if there is a lift then each alternate floor may be acceptable but only if there are no additional physical barriers en-route and within 40m);
  • if there are 4 or more standard WC cubicles in the standard male/female WCs then make one an enlarged cubicle;
  • locate at least 1 accessible WC close to the building entrance and facilities such as café/waiting area;
  • locate WCs consistently on multi-storey buildings;
  • where there is more than 1 accessible WC provide alternate transfer sides.

What you can implement will depend on whether you are referring to an existing building, alteration or a new-build; also the extent of alteration planned, permissions required (such as listed building consent) and location of services and what is reasonable/practicable to do.

For detail on layout and fittings do refer to the following or advise whoever is responsible for this (architect, builder, operations?) to do so.

Useful links:

The Building Regulations Approved Document M – Access to and Use of Buildings

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2004 edition (incorporating 2010 and 2013 amendments)

BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 Design of Buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of Practice. The British Standards Institution, 2010 ( available to purchase from BSI)

For children the following may be useful:

Building Bulletin 102: Designing for disabled children and children with special educational needs

Also consider multi-faith provision and wash facilities.

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