Washroom Design Tips for Accessibility

When planning public bathrooms and commercial washrooms it is vitally important that you create an accessible design plan. This is simply best practice and a sign of good bathroom planning, but in the case of restroom design for public toilets and other washroom facilities – accessible toilet design is usually a legal requirement.

Bathroom layouts have to take into account many factors if they are to be effective. Bathroom planners will have their work cut out for them at the best of times, and designing public toilets always brings extra challenges. When designing accessible commercial or office toilets remember the following points:

1. Floor space affects your design ideas: The facts of physics mean that floor space is always guiding your decisions in accessible design. A well-designed bathroom will make the best use of all the available space, which is even more important to get right when designing an accessible bathroom.

2. Accessibility is not just about wheelchair access: Wheelchair users are important, but public or commercial toilets are used by many other people. Older adults, people with carers and other people living with a wide range of disabilities will all need to use the bathroom effectively.

3. Accessible washroom design takes up more space: You need to offer enough room for a wheelchair, a person to manoeuvre themselves or perhaps an additional carer to be present. As a result, accessible washroom designs always take up a lot more space than your typical washroom installation.

While you may be installing an accessible washroom in a commercial building, office space, public area or even a home – the design planning and considerations are very much the same. There are many things to think about to make sure that you do not go in the wrong direction and end up with an inaccessible or less accessible design.

It can be confusing to understand what makes a good accessible washroom design. However, as leading providers of washroom systems across a range of sectors, we are well-placed to offer some helpful tips. Please feel free to get in touch with us today if you have an accessible washroom design to complete in the UK.

How to Achieve Better Accessible Washroom Design

It is usually a very big challenge to find the right balance of functionality and aesthetics in an accessible washroom. However, almost all of the essential features in an accessible washroom can be flexibly incorporated into any style of installation.

The following are some essential features of accessible washrooms, and how to blend them into a design plan:

  • Stability: Grab rails, handles, and other supports are essential for accessibility, so make sure they are at the right strategic points and keep within the guidelines. Apart from placement, you should not worry much – as most accessible grab bars are manufactured in line with the current regulations.
  • Doors: Accessible bathroom doors are much different than non-accessible doors, as they are larger and usually have grab rails on them too. When thinking about doors, space is key – you need enough room to open the door and roll in a wheelchair, so locate a space that fits within the regulations.
  • Toilets: You have to install a height-appropriate toilet to keep within the guidelines, which will be lower and allow a wheelchair user to more easily transfer themselves. This height is 440 and 500mm. If you are installing a specifically accessible toilet, they are normally already set at this height.
  • Distances: If the toilet paper dispenser is too far away from the toilet seat your accessible toilet is not fit for purpose. Distances are important for accessible washrooms and you should always check that the measurements fit the guidelines.

The above points will not only make sure that your accessible toilet is more usable for the highest number of people – but it will also help keep you in line with the regulations that commercial and office spaces are subject to by the UK government.

Another good tip is to create a gender-neutral toilet, as gender-neutral bathrooms typically incorporate accessible washrooms too. By having a single washroom that is usable by all, it is also much easier to save on space – so it is a prudent design choice.

Accessible Washrooms Design Considerations and Tips

If you have to create an accessible washroom design it can be hard to know where to start, as it is a lot more tricky to navigate the guidelines. The above tips will help you to save space, create flowing designs, and more easily stay within the regulations.

Personal bathroom spaces have much more leeway than commercial washrooms, but we understand the nuances and can easily create accessible washrooms for a wide range of commercial and public spaces. Get in touch with us to learn more.