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Changing Places Toilets Compulsory in new Public Buildings

Changing Places Toilets Compulsory in new Public Buildings
21 July 2020 | Updated 29 July 2020
 

A major change to building rules in England will require thousands of large (12m2) and accessible toilet facilities to be designed and built into new public buildings, from 2021.

Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for severely disabled people, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers.

More than 250,000 severely disabled people will have greater access to public places after the government has moved to make Changing Places toilets compulsory in new buildings. It’s estimated that the new larger toilet spaces will be added to more than 150 new buildings a year. A £30 million fund to install Changing Places in existing buildings will open in the next few months.

As lockdown measures ease, it is hoped that this change will help people with disabilities gain easier access to places like shopping centres, supermarkets, cinemas, stadia and arts venues. These types of buildings will be required to include at least one Changing Places toilet.

 

“This is huge news for the quarter of a million people in the UK who need Changing Places toilets. Having access to these much-needed facilities increases independence and improves quality of life."

–Rob Burley

Director of Campaigns, Care and Support, Muscular Dystrophy UK

 

Conference Halls, Universities, Hotels, Motorway Services and Retail Premises

 

Places of assembly, recreation and entertainment with a capacity for 350 or more people will be required to install the facilities if they are newly built or have a major refurbishment.

This includes art galleries, cinemas, concert halls, conference centres, further education colleges, universities, hotels that include leisure facilities, libraries, motorway services, museums, places of worship, and theatres.

Shopping centres or retail parks with gross floor areas of 30,000m2 or more, retail premises of 2,500m2 or more, sport or leisure buildings over 5,000m2, and stadia, theme parks, zoos, or exhibition centres with a capacity above 2,000 people will also be included in the rules.

Approximately 250,000 people (and their carers and families) with profound and multiple learning disabilities will benefit, as well as people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. Without these facilities in public buildings for changing adults and larger children, these people, their carers and families are largely permanently housebound.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately commented: “Dignity and independence is something many of us take for granted but can be a daily challenge for people with severe disabilities, especially when there is a lack of access to adequate toilet and changing facilities. All public spaces should cater for people with disabilities so they don’t have to suffer discomfort, embarrassment, or even injury without access to a Changing Place.

“Compulsory Changing Places in new public buildings is a major step in reducing the health inequalities faced by so many and will mean that future generations can live with independence, without having to worry about something as simple as basic amenities.”

Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns, Care and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, added: “This is huge news for the quarter of a million people in the UK who need Changing Places toilets. Having access to these much-needed facilities increases independence and improves quality of life. 

“This legislation will make it easier for disabled people and their families to enjoy activities that many take for granted, whether that’s a day’s shopping or attending a concert.

Picture: A photograph of an accessible toilet

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 July 2020

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