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Changing Places White Paper


and specification of

‘Changing Places’ assisted accessible toilets



BS8300: 2009

Design of buildings and their approaches 
to meet the needs of disabled people 
Code of Practice

Equality Act 2010

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013



Download this White Paper as a PDF


More than 11million people in the UK are disabled – a 10% increase in under a decade.


Over 90% suffer from a physical or mental disability that affects mobility, continence and/or physical co-ordination – issues that impair their ability to undertake basic personal hygiene without the help of a carer.  1.5m of those use a wheelchair 
One in 10 people have either bladder or bowel incontinence (around 1.2 million people aged 65+ affected by faecal incontinence)
1.5million people with a learning disability
1.2million people living with stroke
8.75million people being treated for osteoarthritis  
400,000 sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis
62,000 amputees
30,000 people with cerebral palsy
13,000 people with acquired brain injuries
8,500 people with multiple sclerosis
500 people with motor neurone disease
8,000 people with spina bifida

Statistics show the UK’s registered disabled population has a combined annual spending power of £80billion. Figures released by VisitEngland show overnight trips made by, or accompanied by, someone with a health impairment or condition account for £2billion per annum.

They also reveal that 83% of disabled people ‘walked away’ from inaccessible or unwelcoming businesses, or made a conscious decision NOT to visit somewhere if they believed there were not suitable, clean toilet facilities for them.


The concept of a Changing Places toilet was born out of the need to accommodate people who need the help of at least one carer, to enable them to go ‘out and about’ locally or further afield. Current ‘disabled’ (Document M type) toilets are often unsuitable, being too small, or not having appropriate equipment.

BS8300:2009 Design of Buildings and their Approaches to Meet the Needs of Disabled People – Code of Practice

The Standard sets down good practice for accessible building design in premises to which the public have access. It advises that disabled people should be able to find and use suitable toilet accommodation no less easily that non-disabled people.The time taken to reach a toilet is an essential element to be taken into account in its siting.

The Standard further recommends that any larger building where the public have access in numbers of where visitors might be expected to spend longer periods of time, should have a Changing Places facility.

A Changing Places toilet aims to meet the needs of people who need a carer to assist, and provides as a minimum:
The right equipment i.e. a height adjustable adult sized changing bench, height adjustable wash basin, shower and shower seat, and track or mobile hoist system
Enough space, to enable maneuvering for the disabled person and up to two carers, for a centrally located (peninsular) toilet with room either side for carers, and a screen or curtain to allow some privacy
A safe and clean environment, ie wide tear-off paper to cover the bench, a large waste bin and a non-slip floor.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 replaces the Disability Discrimination Act. Under it, service providers are required to make reasonable changes – including to the built environment – where a disabled customer or potential customer would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage; previously, such changes were only required if it would have been impossible or unreasonably difficult for the person to access or use the service.

The Equality Act 2010 requires that service providers must think ahead and take steps to address barriers that impede disabled people. You should not wait until a disabled person experiences difficulties using a service.

1Government Equalities Office Equality Act 2010 Disabilities Quick Start Guide

Those changes should comply with the legal and ‘good practice’ guidelines outlined above.

Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013

Toilet accommodation needs to be suitable, not only for disabled people, but for all people who use the building.

Some disabled people need to use a toilet more frequently than other users. The time needed to reach a wheelchair-accessible toilet should therefore be kept to a minimum when considering the location of unisex toilet accommodation.

In large building developments, separate facilities for baby changing and anenlarged unisex toilet incorporating an adult changing table are desirable – a hygiene room or ‘Changing Places’ toilet (see above, BS8300:2009).

Changing Places Specification

As a minimum, a Changing Places toilet should be 12m2, and include:

peninsular WC
washbasin, preferably height-adjustable
changing bench, adult sized, height-adjustable
wide tear-off paper roll for the bench
tracking hoist
privacy screen
waste bin
non-slip floor
shower/floor drain (managed settings only)

In addition to the specialist equipment, standard accessible toilet features such as an emergency alarm and grab rails must be provided.

Many organisations choosing to install a Changing Places toilet further choose to replace the standard WC with a ‘wash and dry’ (automatic) toilet.The in-built douching and drying of a wash and dry toilet enhance independence and dignity for the user, and improve hygiene for the user and their carer(s).

The Closomat Solution

Established over 50 years ago, Closomat is the UK’s largest and longest- established specialist supplier of disabled toileting equipment.

Closomat has a proven and established track record in the provision and maintenance of Changing Places toilets, and is now the UK’s premier choice for a Changing Places facility.

It is unique in offering – in-house – full design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the full ambit of standard, and complimentary, equipment for a Changing Places toilet (or hygiene room). The company has already undertaken dozens of Changing Places installations, including:

  • Wembley Stadium
  • National Exhibition Centre
  • CadburyWorld
  • Marwell Wildlife
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • YMCA
  • IKEA
  • Trafford Centre
  • Bullring
  • Wetherspoons (Velvet Coaster, Blackpool)