A TOTAL APPROACH TO INCLUSIVE BATHROOM DESIGN IN AND OUT OF THE HOME
How often do you go to the toilet? For most of us, it is something we do on average eight times a day without even thinking, pulling off sheets of toilet tissue, wiping clean, grasping the flush….but if you have any affliction which limits your mental or physical capacity to undertake this basic routine, your independence, privacy and dignity are massively limited, creating dependence or total reliance on a carer to do those jobs for you. Further, certain ethnic groups have specific hygiene considerations when toileting.
10.5m people ie 1 in 6 of the UK population have limiting illness which impinges on their ability to carry out daily life- including going to the toilet. Some 20million are affected by bladder and bowel continence. Latest statistics show 100 people a week have a limb amputated through diabetes. Some 9m people are affected by arthritis. Research shows ¼ million people including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities and a range of other physical disabilities cannot use standard accessible (Document M compliant) toilets because they need support from one or two carers, or need changing. Our Muslim community accounts for 2m people. Figures released by VisitEngland show overnight trips made by, or accompanied by, someone with a health impairment or condition accounted for almost £1billion in the first six months of 2009, and people with access needs account for 12% of all overnight domestic trips, let alone day trips or routine outings ‘to town’. As a result, there is a significant need and opportunity in the supply and installation of toileting solutions which meet special needs, at home and away.
Commercial and public locations have to address Building Regulation requirements and British Standards, perceived as ‘good practice’, including the latest BS6465-4 code of practice for the provision of public toilets, which integrates with BS8300:2009 accessible building design, which lays down standard criteria for all buildings- and their toilets- to which numbers of the public have access.
BS6465-4 states “Research and feedback from community groups has shown that public toilet provision is essential in creating accessible and sustainable cities, and meeting the needs of commuters, tourists, visitors, and residents. To meet these needs, and those of people in towns, villages and rural areas, it is essential that there are adequate numbers of public toilets and that they are in the correct locations, accessible, well designed and suitable for user needs......From the economic point of view, public toilet provision, rather than being a burden on resources, can encourage people to visit a location, stay longer and spend more money in the area.”
For disabled people, the new Standard refers back to BS8300:2009, which recommends buildings to which numbers of the public have access- new and existing- should have an accessible toilet, so if there is capacity for only one loo, it should be unisex and have enough space for someone in a wheelchair or with a carer or guide dog to maneouvre.
Further, BS8300 includes a whole new concept- Changing Places Changing Lives, or CPCL, a campaign for which Total Hygiene is sponsor. This involves the creation of larger, better equipped accessible toilets compared to Document M versions, which only address the needs of someone who can toilet unaided.
But inclusivity extends beyond physical and mental capacity. It involves religious and cultural issues. Specifiers and particularly installers need to be aware of limitations: for example, our Clos-o-Mat Palma ‘wash and dry’ toilet helps compliance not just with disability, but those religious and cultural considerations: its integral douche and drier eliminates the need to manually cleanse after toileting- thus satisfying Islamic Qadaahul Haajah as well as helping anybody with issues affecting balance or manual dexterity. It is the only one to carry WRAS approval enabling legal connection to the mains water supply.
The market is already big, and can only continue to grow: our premium toilet, the Clos-o-Mat, already has over 40,000 installations across the UK, and some of those have been in daily use for over 30 years! A little time invested in learning about the considerations and requirements, and putting that into practice, could reap significant dividends for the toilet operator, generating more ‘footfall’ and more business.
For further information:
Tel/ fax: 07863144184
Clos-o-Mat telephone number for publication: 0161 969 1199/ freefone 0800 374076;