NEWS

Changing Places – Compulsory For New Buildings in England from 2021

25.08.2020

Your washroom design is every bit as important as the design of any other room on your premises. It needs to balance aesthetic and logistical considerations as well as helping users to feel comfortable, secure and that their privacy is valued. It must also, however, balance these considerations with changing legislature. Especially when it comes to providing ease of access to disabled users.In line with recent legislation, however, new buildings also need to provide larger washrooms with disabled access, referred to in this government press release as “changing places”. This is in order for public and private buildings of all kinds to better accommodate the needs of severely disabled users.

Dignity and autonomy

The welcome measure, which was first announced in December of 2018 is designed to give people with disabilities greater freedom, autonomy and dignity outside of the home. Recently it has been made that the provision of “Changing Places” will be mandatory as of 2021. In March, a £30m fund to install Changing Places in existing premises was announced in the budget.

This is a hard won battle for the disabled community, many of whom have had to undergo indignity and discomfort when it comes to the use of wash room facilities. Indeed, as mentioned in this BBC report, many disabled people report having to reduce their fluid intake to avoid needing to use public washrooms. This increases the risk of dehydration and urinary tract infections which could endanger their health and complicate existing issues. 

Some may also risk sitting in dirty nappies or soiled clothing until a suitable toilet becomes available or they get home. In some cases, this may even cause people with disabilities to eschew leaving the home and live less sociable, more insular lives. 

These changing spaces are set to transform the lives of disabled people all over the country. The government also spent £70,000 on the creation of an online map of the UK that will help disabled people and their carers to find Changing Places. 

Changing Places: What do they look like?

The government announcement precipitated major changes to building rules. Construction firms need to adhere to certain guidelines to ensure that spaces meet the legal requirements for Changing Places toilets. 

Specific government guidelines (which you can read here) state that Changing Places must be 12 square metres in size. Enough space to contain a disabled adult and two assistants. They must also contain the following;

  • A height­ adjustable, adult­-sized changing bench
  • A ceiling track hoist system
  • A centrally located toilet with space on both sides for assistants
  • A privacy screen
  • A wide paper roll 
  • A large waste disposal bin
  • A washbasin, ideally height adjustable

Shower facilities are also strongly recommended for managed buildings such as leisure centres. 

How we can help

We can demystify the regulations around Changing Places to ensure that your new or existing structure is fully compliant. We can help you to demonstrate your commitment to providing ease of access, dignity and autonomy for any disabled people who use your space. Get in touch with us today to see what we can do for you. 

BRAC Projects are a professional fabrication company specialising in solid surfaces, IPS, cladding, laminate furniture and worktops. We have the knowledge and expertise to provide a complete design, furniture fabrication and installation service covering a diverse range of services for a variety of sectors. Using our UK based fabricating facilities, BRAC Projects can offer a personal, efficient and professional fabrication service that will ensure your projects are delivered on time and on budget.

Get in touch with us today to talk through your needs. Why not Chat to us online, call us on 01323 870146 or send a message to info@bracprojects.co.uk. Further information about our full service range can be found on our website.