Changing Places

Toilets providing sanitary accommodation for people with disabilities who require assistance

The requirement to provide Changing Places toilets will be incorporated into the Building Regs Part M2 in the New Year. Here’s a brief overview of what they are and how DKA can help you plan for their implementation.

What is it?

A Changing Places (CP) toilet provides sanitary accommodation for people with disabilities who require assistance to use toilet and changing facilities. They are intended for use in specific building types, mainly large public & assembly buildings. A full list is outlined below.

A CP toilet does not replace standard WC facilities, wheelchair-accessible WCs and baby changing facilities, which should still be provided. The room is approximately twice the size of a standard independently-used accessible WC and provides (at a minimum):

  • Adequate space for the disabled person and up to two assistants
  • A centrally-located WC, with space on both sides for assistants
  • A washbasin, preferably height-adjustable
  • A height-adjustable, adult-sized changing bench
  • A ceiling-mounted track hoist system
  • A privacy screen
  • Wide paper roll
  • A large waste disposal bin

Shower facilities are also recommended where possible, i.e. managed buildings.

Changing Places Plan | DKA

Why is it important?

We are all familiar with providing standard ‘Doc M’ wheelchair-accessible WCs, however they are intended for use by people who can transfer themselves to the WC or with assistance from one person. People with multiple and complex disabilities, and those who do not have the strength to transfer themselves to the WC, may need assistance from up to two people and a hoist for transfer.

A standard wheelchair-accessible WC is not intended for changing, meaning many disabled people have to be laid on the floor. This is undignified, unhygienic and presents additional manual-handling risks to an assistant. There is also no space for a privacy screen whilst using the facilities, again eroding the user’s dignity.

In addition to dealing with the issues above, a CP toilet also provides the extra space needed for large, powered wheelchairs or wheelchairs fitted with wider supports.

Without these facilities, some disabled people may find it very difficult to go out for any length of time – further limiting the activities available to them. You can read stories about the difference that CP toilets have made to people’s lives here: http://www.changing-places.org/real_life_stories.aspx

The importance of CP toilets has been recognised in the July 2020 amendment to the Building Regulations (Approved Document M: Access to and use of buildings Volume 2 – Buildings other than dwellings), meaning some building types will be required to provide these rooms in the future.

Where is it required?

At least one CP toilet will be required in the following types of building:

  • Assembly, recreation and entertainment buildings (e.g. amusement arcades; art galleries; cinemas; concert halls; conference centres; FE colleges; some hotels; public libraries; motorway service areas; museums; places of worship; theatres, university buildings open to the public), with a capacity for 350 or more people
  • A collection of smaller buildings associated with a site used for assembly, recreation or entertainment, such as zoos, theme parks and venues for sport and exhibitions, with a capacity of 2000 people or more
  • Shopping centres / malls or retail parks with a gross floor area of 30,000m² or more
  • Retail premises with a gross floor area of 2500m² or more
  • Sport and leisure buildings with a gross floor area of 5000m² or more
  • Hospitals and primary care centres
  • Crematoria and cemetery buildings

The Department for Education will be publishing separate guidance regarding CP rooms for schools that provide community facilities next year.

When do the regulations change?

The amendment that incorporates the requirement for Changing Places toilets into the Building Regulations Part M2 will take effect on 1st January 2021 in England. Even if you have full plans approval by the end of the 2020, if your project does not commence until after 1st March 2021, you will need a CP room in order to comply.

Building Regulations are not retrospective for existing facilities but Buildings & Estates Managers for large sites, campuses and public buildings may wish to consider now how a retrofit could be incorporated.

How can DKA help?

We have already designed several CP toilets, particularly for healthcare buildings, and know how to apply the standards. We can advise how best to accommodate a CP toilet in your building, whether it’s for a future project or for plans already in progress. We have also recently been involved in refurbishments to accommodate gender-inclusive WCs, and always find a way to make the most of the space available.

Designing a CP toilet goes beyond ticking off equipment on a list. We can help you work through the wider issues, such as:

  • Accommodating the room in the most efficient way
  • Ensuring optimal access to the room including enlarged doorways
  • Coordinating MEP and any additional structural requirements for hoists
  • Proposing appropriate finishes, both from a practical and aesthetic point of view
  • Detailing to allow for easy cleaning and maintenance

Explore our model for yourself:

DKA Changing Places model

Changing Places | DKA | 2

If you’d like to have a chat with us about your requirements, call Alex Bell on 07917 692961 or drop us an email to info@dka.co.uk.

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