Following the UK government’s announcement in 2021 of a £30m fund for local authorities to install more Changing Places across England, as well as the SNP’s pledge of an additional £10m of funding to increase the number of facilities in Scotland, the demand for Changing Places toilets is greater than ever before.
There are currently 1,685 registered Changing Places toilets in the UK, and having proudly worked with the Changing Places Campaign over the last 10 years, Innova Care Concepts are committed to helping increase that number in 2022.
Before installing a Changing Place in an existing building or a modular facility outside, there are a number of important factors that need to be considered.
This blog will outline what those considerations are, helping to make you aware of the design and space requirements of a Changing Place, and the specialist equipment that needs to be included to ensure it is compliant.
Designing A Changing Place
In order for a Changing Place to be registered, it must meet a certain standard and criteria. This is to ensure that any facility advertised as a Changing Places toilet meets the expectations and needs of the people who intend to use them.
Those criteria fall under the British Standard ‘BS8300:2018‘, a document that sets out the requirements of how buildings should be designed, constructed and maintained to meet the needs of disabled people, as well as create an accessible and inclusive environment for them.
Aimed particularly at those with disabilities, the elderly or those less able to stand, BS8300 is a British Code of Practice that ensures that everybody has access to enter, to use and to exit a built environment open to the public equally.
Updated in 2018, it focuses on the inclusive built environment as a whole and how it can be made universally accessible, meaning contractors should build/make the environments inclusive from the start.
When putting a planning application together to install a Changing Place, it is crucial that this criteria is taken into account in order to create an inclusive design that is accessible for all and fulfils BS8300.
If these standards are not adhered to, you run the risk of trying to install a Changing Place toilet into a venue where the intended users, actually can’t get to them in order to use the facilities.
For example, if the doorways into an existing building are too narrow or there is a lack of wheelchair ramps outside the premises, it makes it incredibly difficult or virtually impossible for wheelchair users to enter the building and access the Changing Places toilet located inside.
Odeon Cinema – Milton Keynes
Making sure these details are assessed during the design process is absolutely vital in ensuring a venue has the means to incorporate a Changing Places toilet.
As an experienced Changing Places supplier, Innova Care Concepts have helped businesses and organisations all over the UK to ensure their design and installation of a facility is compliant with BS8300.
In 2020, we worked with Odeon Cinema in Milton Keynes to install a Changing Places toilet, helping to enhance accessibility at their venue. Our team guided Odeon through the design process, conducting a site survey to identify where a facility could be installed so it was accessible to all.
Following numerous consultations with the specified architects, a suitable location was identified by the team and we were able to gain approval to renovate an existing store cupboard to build a compliant Changing Place, and as a result, help the cinema become more inclusive.
The Changing Place facilities were in an appropriate location that was easily accessible, not only ensuring that all Odeon’s customers could be catered for as well as having a ‘purple pound’ uplift!
Learn more about our Changing Place at Odeon Cinema by reading our case study.
Having The Right Space
Having the right amount of space is essential when designing and installing a Changing Place.
As stated in British Standard 8300:2018, it is recommended that the dimensions of the room are a minimum of 12m2 (3m x 4m), with a ceiling height of 2.4m.
With a minimum floor space of 12m2, a compliant Changing Place ensures there is enough room for a disabled person when they are not in their wheelchair, when they are in their wheelchair and with up to two carers to comfortably use the facilities.
The 2.4m minimum ceiling height ensures the hoist system can be used safely for lifting.
If we look at a standard accessible toilet, they are usually 1500mm x 2200mm, with no minimum height requirement. This quite clearly does not provide the adequate space in the changing area for the individual and up to two carers.
There are some instances where facilities listed as Changing Places will be smaller than 12m2, but this reflects the standards when the campaign was launched in 2006, before the British Standard 8300:2018 came into practice.
Not only do you need to meet the minimum room dimensions for a Changing Place, you must also take into account where the equipment will be positioned inside the facility, ensuring users have the necessary space to move and use the equipment safely.
Doorways are one of the key areas where potential issues can arise in terms of inadequate space for accessibility.
Individuals with profound disabilities typically require an electric wheelchair or powerchair because they cannot push themselves in a manual wheelchair. Many of these electric wheelchairs will be wider than the 900mm doorways included on standard accessible toilets.
That’s why Changing Places specify that doorways to the facility must be a minimum width of a 1000mm to accommodate larger wheelchairs.
In addition to doorways, there is a whole range of space recommendations for different types of equipment that are required in a Changing Places toilet.
There are several points that you need to be aware of to ensure your equipment is positioned correctly:
- The door to a Changing Place must open outwards, so it doesn’t impede wheelchair users from exiting the toilet.
- Grab rails should be positioned at appropriate heights and locations around the cubicle to offer stability when using the toilet and basin.
- It is recommended that the wash basin is installed 720-40mm above the floor with the height adjustable wash basin ideally being centrally positioned, to ensure a larger enough space for manoeuvrability.
- The toilet must be centrally placed with room either side to prevent wheelchair users from being impeded. It must also have a seat height of 480mm, to facilitate transfers from a wheelchair.
Want to learn more about Changing Places?
Having been advocates for the Changing Places campaign for over 10 years now, we are more than happy to share our knowledge and expertise wherever we can. To find out everything there is to know about Changing Places, download our free brochure.
Equipment – What a Changing Place Needs
As we know, a Changing Place contains more specialist equipment than a standard accessible toilet.
While a standard accessible toilet aims to be accessible for those with complex disabilities, a Changing Place aims to actually be usable, helping cater for different care requirements.
Looking at the equipment package from Innova Care Concepts below, you will be able to see what equipment is included as standard in a Changing Place and where it should be located.
Each piece of equipment is important to a user of a Changing Place as they help meet a particular care need. It enables those with complex care needs to have an environment where they can safely use a toilet in a comfortable and dignified way.
Here are a few ways in which the different types of specialist equipment can enhance accessibility:
Overhead Hoist System
Changing Places toilets should have a full room cover overhead tracked hoist system (either ceiling or wall‑mounted), with the room structure and track capable of supporting a safe working load of 200kg.
Providing safe transfers time-after-time, Innova Care Concepts supply their AirRise 200 hoist unit and Airglide360 track for the majority of the overhead hoist systems they install for Changing Places.
By doing so, they eliminate the need to lift a person manually, thus reducing the strain on carers’ backs and the risk of injury to the person being transferred. It also aids access to the changing bench, so carers no longer have to use the toilet floor for changing.
Check out our video below to see how the AirRise 200 works!
Every Changing Place should have either a mobile or fixed changing bench, in each case height‑adjustable, capable of operating at a safe working load of 200kg. They provide a comfortable, stable platform for those individuals who use incontinence pads or who need help undressing to use the toilet.
If a shower is fitted, the covering of the bench should be suitable for use when a person is showering as well as changing.
Innova offer the option of both a mobile and fixed changing bench – in either a 3m or 4m length, with the Changing Bench 3000 (shown below) featuring an integral water collection tray and adjustable head support to ensure the bench can be easily cleaned for the next user, as well as being comfortable when in use.
In a compliant Changing Places facility, the toilet should be sticking out like a “peninsular” at least a metre away from the walls on either side. This creates space on both sides of the toilet, allowing wheelchair transfers or assistance from carers.
It is recommended that seats with a gap at the front should not be used as this shape can make it difficult for people to transfer and the gap is a potential hazard. An automatic wash-and-dry toilet may be provided, but is not a requirement of the Changing Places standard.
A wash basin needs to be provided in a Changing Places toilet with a clear knee space below the bowl, to allow a wheelchair user to comfortably use it.
At Innova, we provide electric height-adjustable wash basins.
Users can adjust the height of the basin and it can be moved from side to side along a horizontal wall mounted track. This allows the user to access it while seated on the toilet or it can be moved away to allow space for carers to stand on either side of the toilet.
Both wall-mounted vertical grab rails and drop-down support rails should be fixed to the wall either side of a peninsular toilet to offer support to people while transferring and while seated.
Drop-down rails can be lowered to assist during transfer or to provide support to a person while seated on the toilet. They should be raised back against the wall when not in use, so they do not obstruct transfer using a hoist.
All grab rails should be a contrasting colour to the environment so they are easy to identify for visually impaired users.
With Changing Places needed more than ever before, it is vitally important that potential locations are aware of what is required to ensure they are installing a compliant facility.
By adhering to the regulations and standards set out by BS8300, and working with experienced suppliers like Innova Care Concepts, you can have a Changing Place that ticks all the right boxes to ensure it is compliant and able to be registered.
In following this process correctly, it can be delivered on time and can eliminate the risk of additional costs in order to get the facility right.
This blog has also reviewed the various types of equipment that are included in a Changing Place, detailing why they are necessary and how they enhance accessibility.
All these considerations play a crucial role in making sure that a Changing Place facility is installed correctly and compliant with the standard. It is up to us to promote the cause that more venues can become more inclusive across the UK if they introduce a Changing Place toilet.
Get in touch with our friendly team to discuss how to install a Changing Place.