Vaila Morrison, an inclusive specialist architect and mother of a child with special needs, is encouraging her colleagues to adopt a universal approach to accessible toilet specification.
Vaila believes that the current Building Regulations are flawed, failing to address the needs of all individuals when it comes to specifying Document M-compliant wheelchair-accessible WCs.
A ‘universal’ approach to specification could enable thousands more people to enjoy a public venue without worrying about toilet access away from home.
Document M wrongly assumes that wheelchair-users can access facilities and transfer without assistance. In reality, people may need additional space to accommodate large wheelchairs or carers; hoists are also necessary for many.
‘Similarly, people with “invisible” and learning disabilities may require additional space,’ says Vaila. ‘Many need changing benches to be changed because of incontinence, or to deal with stoma, for example.
‘If it’s the only loo, unisex and accessible, then it should be suitable for all able and disabled people, babies, children and families alike,’
Vaila is calling for the regular Document M toilet to be enlarged, enough to accommodate an adult-sized changing bench and a ceiling hoist.
Clos-o-Mat has worked with campaigners to develop a version of Vaila’s concept. Space To Change is an accessible toileting facility that requires on 7.5 square metres of space.
Under recent Building Regulations and good practice guidelines, a Changing Places toilet is considered ‘desirable’ in all public buildings. Since their introduction a decade ago, over 900 have been opened across the UK.
Space To Change toilets have been designed to plug the gap between conventional, Approved Document M wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’ Changing Places facilities, which are larger and better equipped.
Clos-o-Mat prides itself on its ability to deliver independent toileting, both at home and away. It is able to offer both Changing Places and Space To Change facilities.
Building 1, Brooklands Place,
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