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Shaping accessible toilets

New build and refurbishment projects involving outlets open to the public can be as accessible as possible – despite shape and size issues – says Closomat

Closomat, the UK provider of toilet solutions enabling people to be independent and dignified at home and away, has pulled together a range of resources to enable building designers and managers to open their (toilet) doors to disabled people. The company’s Changing Places project management service means that compliant, useable assisted wheelchair-accessible toilets – refered to as Changing Places – can potentially be provided, even if the space is not a regular shape, nor the specified 12m2.

Claire Haymes, Closomat away from home co-ordinator, explained: “On paper, a Changing Places typical layout is 3m x 4m, and should include specific fixtures – such as a ceiling track hoist, height adjustable changing bench, WC, washbasin, privacy screen. All building designers and operators know the issues of balancing the practical reality of a physical building with a design. We know – via campaigners – of facilities that have been designed and constructed to the specification, yet have been unuseable. It can be things as simple as a ceiling track hoist not reaching the fixtures it needs to, or a ceiling being too low to physically use the hoist. By comparison, we have achieved useable assisted, accessible toilets in rooms that, on paper, are too small, yet adjoined an unused space which could be annexed to meet the size required, or that are an irregular shape but could still be correctly configured.

“Because we have completed so many Changing Places that have been fully compliant for all involved (including users), we know, from practical experience, how to achieve a practical, useable facility even where one would have thought it impossible. We have even suggested alternative solutions to what they envisaged, that have saved the client time, effort and money. Our expertise and experience are unrivalled and reinforced by a full CDM compliant project management service. The combination means that, in-house, we can offer the best solution to optimising accessibility – at least as far as toilets are concerned.”

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