A somewhat heated debate has begun regarding Changing Places – toilet spaces which include a hoist and a bench for disabled people.
Partly this is due to two things:
- A new type of toilet called Space to Change
- Changing Places being built which do not meet the British Standard for space requirements.
Space to Change
A campaign from Firefly, and supported by Clos-o-Mat, is promoting a toilet with a 7m square Space to Change (3m x 2.5m min). This space has a hoist, changing bench and many of the facilities you would find in a regular wheelchair accessible toilet.
The campaign has been going since 2014 and this minimum size and fixtures/equipment is a useful alternative for businesses who just don’t have the space for a Changing Place.
Clos-o-Mat provide more information on this section of their web-site.
They are to “bridge the gap between typical ‘Document M’ accessible toilets and the ultimate, a Changing Places facility”.
It is marketed as a ‘if you have to provide a wheelchair accessible toilet then you might as well add a bit of extra space for a bench and a hoist’.
- This seems very sensible as the reality is that small venues may simply not have space for a large CP toilet layout which has a minimum of 12 m square.
- Might encourage more toilets to move from Doc M basics to Space to Change.
- Costs may be less
- Not currently referenced in Doc M (will it be included in the future?) unlike CP toilets. CP toilets are mentioned as desirable.
- Not included in the current British Standard like CP toilets are.
- Hoist may be a portable hoist – which in this small space, might make it unusable for people with extra large powered wheelchairs and two carers, or moving between toilet and bench via hoist.
- Large venues like stadiums and shopping centres/leisure complexes might drop down to this small format when they could easily accommodate a full CP toilet.
- Should not be listed on the CP toilet map – but maybe the map should include CP and STC toilets? I personally don’t want to trawl through two separate toilet maps or lists of different ones held by two organisations to find a toilet.
- Changing benches do not have to be height adjustable.
- A large waste bin for pads is not specified aside the regular bin inclusion for sanitary waste and a ‘waste bin’ found in regular toilets.
It is important to note that neither a CP or STC toilet are required within the law for building regulations.
Further debate on the size of installation…
People are spotting toilets included on the CP toilet map which are smaller than the British Standard. It is worth noting that in the early days (prior to June 2013) of CP toilets, the standard was 7 m square – and are included on the map. Many people are getting these confused with ‘Space to Change’ toilets going on the map.
A more recent (2014) installation at Emirates Stadium is said to be smaller than the CP standard yet heavily promoted as a full CP toilet. From the photos it does look a lot smaller than standard.
For other people, branding is a big issue – some toilets using the CP symbol where no hoist exists and other CP toilets calling them other things like ‘Adult Changing Room’ and ‘High Dependency Unit’.
I have been in small changing places fitted before 2013 – and space was an issue. However, often the layout is poor – space is more about location of equipment not just physical room size. My bathroom at home is fairly small yet I still have room to hoist with carers.
What we found out
So, the debate continues, meanwhile the new British Standards are being looked at and we had the opportunity to submit thoughts and recommendations from our readers and project contributors.
There was a clear need for a range of toilet spaces in size and equipment for small buildings. Also that in larger buildings such as cinemas, stadiums, shopping areas, hospitals, parks/tourist venues and large work places – then even a full CP toilet isn’t meeting people’s needs and that the Standard needs to be raised to support the large number of people who need adjustable toilet risers and washing/drying bidets.