Changing Places In Public Toilet Standard

New British Standards on public toilets are giving providers definitive ‘good practice’ guidelines of what should be provided, where, and how- including, for the first time, the latest concept in accessible toileting.

BS6454-4 has just come into force, setting minimum standards for public toilet provision whether new build or refurbishments. It extends the scope for disabled people, emphasizing that ‘with the increased mobility of disabled people and the growing number of older people, public toilet blocks should contain accessible provision….in heavy use areas, an additional Changing Places toilet should be provided’.

The concept of a Changing Places toilet was developed by the Changing Places Changing Lives Consortium, which is campaigning for suitable public toilet facilities for people who need the help of at least one carer. Larger than standard accessible (Document M) toilets, a Changing Places toilet also incorporates a height adjustable changing bench, hoist and peninsular toilet to enable people to use the facilities in a hygienic, clean and appropriate environment.

The campaign, sponsored by the UK’s biggest disabled toileting solutions company Total Hygiene, is gaining momentum: over 250 Changing Places toilets are already installed across the UK, in locations including shopping centres, car parks, transport hubs, leisure centres and municipal buildings.

Beverley Dawkins OBE, co-chair of the Changing Places Consortium, observes, “It is increasingly being acknowledged that public toilets are a missing link in creating sustainable cities, and rather than being a burden on resources can encourage people to visit a location, stay longer and spend more money in the area. The statistics in justifying appropriate provision which complies with the new Standard speak for themselves: 1 in 6 of the UK population are registered disabled, 1.5m people use a wheelchair, and approximately ¼m people need a ‘Changing Places’ toilet. We live in a society committed to ensuring everyone can be part of their local community- the new British Standard acknowledges that accessibility includes being able to go to the toilet in a suitable environment when away from home.”

Adds Total Hygiene marketing manager, Robin Tuffley, “As a company that helps disabled people be as independent as possible, we know what a difference it makes to their lives to be able to go out, relaxed in the knowledge they can find suitable toilet facilities. Research shows people make a conscious decision NOT to visit somewhere if they believe they cannot access appropriate public toilets, so there is a tangible reason to adopt the good practice recommendations of the Standard.

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