Sep 15

Changing Times For Changing Places

Matthew

In the 2020 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak committed to invest £30million to increase access to Changing Places toilets, and the government plans to work closely with the Changing Places Consortium to identify the sectors where these facilities are needed the most.

Alongside this investment, the UK government also announced major changes to current building regulations for disabled people, and these changes mean that from next year, all new buildings (or majorly refurbished buildings) must have Changing Places toilets. Translation?

Larger accessible toilets with specialist equipment for disabled people, such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for wheelchairs and carers.

From 2021, all places of “assembly, recreation and entertainment with a capacity of 350+” will also be required to install Changing Places toilets. Other public venues included cover arts venues, cinemas, universities, libraries, places of worship, motorway services and museums.

Mark Sadler, a specialist in the field of disabled bathrooms, says there are some challenges: “One of the biggest challenges is when the venue is a listed building as you cannot just start knocking down walls,” he says. “Sometimes it is necessary to place the facility in an adjoining building or a portable unit.”

He went on to say that space can also be an issue with existing buildings, along with finding suitable locations that is accessible for all potential users. “They must be at least 4m x 3m with a ceiling height of at least 2.4m if possible,” he said. “Smaller Changing Places have been approved in the past, but these minimum dimensions are acknowledged as best practice.”

Though there are challenges, this is very positive news and the government is on track to deliver by 2021.

If you’re looking for accessible easy access baths or easy access showers, get in touch with us today.

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