ENSURING ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL: WASHROOMS

When furnishing educational facilities, it is important to create an inclusive environment for all building occupants that meets current legislation. Here, Scott Copeland, Category Manager at IronmongeryDirect discusses the solutions for washrooms and sanitary facilities that meet the regulations outlined in Approved Document M.

 The main source of accessibility regulation for public buildings in England is ‘Approved Document M: Access to and use of buildings’. In line with the Equality Act 2010, this section of the Building Regulations ensures that physical features of the building do not restrict access to people with disabilities.

Approved Document M comprehensively details requirements for all aspects of the building including sanitary facilities, which must be designed so that they are easily accessible and easy to use.  

IronmongeryDirect stocks a number of solutions that are compliant with the regulations and suitable for sanitary applications, including light action privacy bolts, such as the UNION Disabled Toilet Handle. This type of handle should be affixed to cubicle and self-contained unit doors to accommodate those with limited dexterity. Similarly, both the washbasin tap and cistern lever should be easy to use. The tap should be able to be operated with a closed fist, such as a lever action model, and the cistern lever should have a large surface area that is easy to activate.

Wheelchair accessible facilities should feature an emergency assistance alarm that is certified to BS 8300. For instance, the Securefast Disabled Persons Toilet Alarm Kit allows a distressed person to raise an alarm from inside the unit to activate a light and sounder outside the WC. This solution features an integral power supply with monitored rechargeable batteries and high visibility LED indicators. The kit also includes a flush mounted red ‘Pull for Assistance’ cord which should be reachable from floor level, and close to the toilet.

Wheelchair accessible toilets should also include high visibility grab and support rails to allow wheelchair users to comfortably transfer to, and use, the facilities. These include a horizontal wall mounted rail that must be installed on the far side of the toilet with a hinged, or ‘drop-down’ support rail. Vertical grab rails should also be positioned above and to the side of the drop down rail, and by the washbasin, at a minimum.

Also available from IronmongeryDirect is the Nymas NymaPRO Close Coupled Doc M Pack. Housed in a single kit, this pack usefully contains all the sanitary fixtures and fittings to meet regulations and is designed with both ease of installation and user safety in mind. To meet Document M requirements, the pack contains grab and support rails, as well as toilet and basin fixtures.

To help meet compliance and navigate the regulations, IronmongeryDirect has produced a useful guide outlining Approved Document M and BS 8300 requirements. To read the guide, visit www.ironmongerydirect.co.uk/blog/bs-8300-buyers-guide

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