Meeting requirements for the Government Approved Document M of the Building Regulations 2010 is a moral obligation and should never be a ‘tick box’ exercise, according to Sharon McKenna, sales & marketing director of specialist supplier Barwood Products.
Passionate about supplying products that meet the needs of disabled users, McKenna believes there can sometimes be a tendency or temptation for contractors and installers to source lower cost products that might compromise the integrity of the Doc M Pack and run the risk of failing to meet the approved document requirements.
“The whole point of the practical guidance is about providing public toilet facilities for disabled users that make it as easy for them to go to the loo as it is for non-disabled people. It’s about dignity and there should be no compromise. The Approved Document was made after careful consideration of the user’s needs and exists to protect less mobile people. It can simply be the wrong height/projection of a toilet pan that makes safe transfer from wheelchair to the toilet difficult and potentially stressful,” she said.
BS 8300 provides more detailed guidance to supplement the Approved Document M and sets out the Code of Practice required for the design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. BS 8300 works in conjunction with BS EN 997, which specifically considers the specification of WC pans and WC suites with integral traps.
To ensure compliance to this Code of Practice and Building Regulation, Barwood Products says specifiers should consider the following:
- Correct height of toilet pan for wheelchair transference. The top of the seat ring on the WC pan should sit 480 mm from the floor.
- Correct projection of toilet pan and seat ring for optimum wheelchair positioning. The projection should be 750 mm from the back of the wall.
- Cisterns should have a flushing mechanism positioned on the transfer side of the WC.
- Hinged drop-down support arm should be located on the open side and should extend 50mm to 100mm beyond the front of the WC.
- A basin that allows a mixer tap to be positioned closest to the user to eliminate the need to stretch (and potentially fall) to hand wash.
- Backrest on low-level toilet suites.
- CE marked sanitaryware with Declaration of Performance (DoP).
The firm also says there are important additional considerations that specifiers should note when selecting a supplier for a Doc M pack, including:
- Lateral movement seat buffers that eliminate potential seat slide and further help the safe and steady transfer from wheelchair to WC
- Full LABC approval on all products marketed as Doc M
- WRAS approval
- The availability of spares and parts to ensure continuity of service
- The availability of specialist knowledge of the Building Regulation requirements