Designing a couple of extra fittings into a space will ensure wheelchair- accessible toilets are fully compliant, not only with user requirements and Building Regulations, but equality law too.

So advises Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading specialist of away-from-home assisted accessible toilets and washrooms.

Under current Building Regulations Approved Document M, toilet accommodation needs to be suitable for ‘all people who use the building’. But conventional accessible toilets- as the Document recognises1– do not meet everyone’s needs: potentially millions2 need more space and equipment.

And under the Equality Act 2010 (replacement to the DDA), providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the built environment that would otherwise place someone at a substantial disadvantage, and make those adjustments before they are demanded….

Installation of an adult-sized changing bench and hoist into a wheelchair-accessible toilet helps ensure more inclusive compliance. And, often, no extra space is required: a wall-mounted changing bench will fold flush against away, and the hoist is ceiling mounted.

Explains Kelvin Grimes, project manager at Clos-o-Mat, “For millions of disabled people, conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets aren’t suitable, as they need a carer to help them. So they are faced with stark choices: they don’t go somewhere, cut their trip short, or have to lie on the toilet floor to be changed.

“In an ideal world, the space would be bigger- at least 12sq m- but we need to be realistic. If the required 12 sq m can be allocated in addition to a conventional wheelchair accessible toilet, and an ‘all-singing’ Changing Places assisted accessible toilet included, that’s great, but a fair compromise is to adapt the wheelchair accessible toilet and at least put in an adult-sized changing bench. You wouldn’t expect to change a baby on the floor, so why a child or adult?”

Clos-o-Mat is now Britain’s leading provider of accessible toilet facilities for disabled and elderly people, be it at home or away. Uniquely, in-house, the company can provide design advice, then supply all the equipment, if necessary install and commission it, and subsequently service & maintain it. Full project management can also be provided. This is reinforced with support services including CAD blocks, and sector-specific advisory white papers available for free on its website www.clos-o-mat.com