Making leisure fully accessible

A new £8.4m facility designed to take leisure in North East Lincolnshire to new heights, and into the 21st century, is delivering state-of-the-art facilities, especially for disabled users.

Grimsby Leisure Centre is the second venue in the borough to feature a Changing Places room, which offers more space and more equipment than conventional accessible toilets, for people who need a carer’s help for their personal hygiene.

The state-of-art facility, plus an additional room which includes similar equipment and will be used for first aid, have both been supplied and installed by Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s specialist in the provision of assisted, accessible toileting in and out of the home. Both rooms  at the new centre are strategically located in the ground floor main Changing Village for the pool, and are complimented by a conventional disabled changing facility on the first floor, and conventional accessible toilets on both floors.

As a result, appropriate facilities are provided throughout to enable disabled people to make use of the competition standard swimming pool, gym, fitness suite, sauna and steam room in the new centre, which is operated by Lincs Inspire, a not for profit leisure & culture organization based in North East Lincolnshire.

“There was a desire to have alternative changing facilities, that would ensure the offer for disabled customers was maximised,” explained David Gelder, Head of Architecture at ENGIE, which worked in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council on the project. “The one room is a fully-compliant Changing Places, with peninsular toilet, height adjustable washbasin, privacy screen, hoist and adult-sized changing bench, whereas the hygiene room, which does not have a changing bench, enables us to optimise space usage as it doubles as a first aid room.”

Added Kelvin Grimes, Clos-o-Mat’s Changing Places/hygiene rooms project manager, “ We go to the toilet on average eight times a day, so the chances are if you are away from home, you will need to access a toilet. Tens of thousands of people who need a carer’s help for their personal care find that conventional accessible toilets are not suitable: they need additional equipment and more space. Changing Places toilets and hygiene rooms mean they can make use of a facility, that previously they either could not have enjoyed, or guests are now able to stay longer when previously they would have had to curtail their trip.”

Under current building guidelines and legislation, Changing Places toilets are now ‘desirable’ in any building to which the public has access. Since the concept was devised, over 800 have been opened in venues across the country.

Clos-o-Mat has a proven track record in the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities. It is unique in its ability to deliver- in-house- design advice, supply, installation, commissioning, project management and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment, including the Clos-o-Mat wash and dry (automatic) toilet. To help leisure venues  ‘get it right’, Clos-o-Mat has a raft of downloadable information on its website,, including sector-specific white papers, CAD blocks, room renders and videos.

Tel 0161 969 1199; Email:


Changing the options for accessible toilets

Making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the built environment to ensure compliance with the Equality Act is being made easier with the launch of a new solution for ‘away from home’ accessible toilets.

Space To Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’, additional, larger and better equipped Changing Places+ toilets.

The concept enables venues that are limited financially and/or on space to meet the needs of up to three million British children and adults* who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal hygiene. It encompasses a 7m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist. Space To Change has been developed with leading Changing Places campaigners and Clos-o-Mat (Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions at home and away). Firefly Community, an online special needs community, will drive the campaign, supporting campaigners and raising awareness of the need for accessible toilets that include height adjustable changing benches and hoists.

“So often, venues and organisations say they understand the need for a Changing Places toilet, but, in existing buildings, as it should be provided in addition to other accessible toilets, they haven’t the extra space- 12m2- or cannot afford the cost of potentially extensive building works to create the additional space, and the ancillaries and equipment,” explains campaigner Tony Clough.

Adds fellow campaigner Sarah Brisdion, “Under the Equality Act, providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the built environment to avoid situations where a disabled person would be at a ‘substantial’ disadvantage, BEFORE the person experiences difficulties. Not being able to access suitable toilets is, we believe, a substantial disadvantage.

“In an ideal world, we would always prefer to have a Changing Places, but Space To Change gives a viable alternative for providers constrained by space and/or money. Without these facilities, we either have to lie our loved one on the toilet floor- which you wouldn’t even expect to do with a baby- or we have to cut our trip short, or not go at all. Many wheelchair-accessible toilets are already big enough, so all that is required to create a Space To Change, which gives everything needed, is the addition of the changing bench and hoist!”

Full details of the Space To Change concept, plus technical support, CAD blocks etc, can be found at and


Making Drinking Water More Accessible With Vivreau’s DDA Module

It’s been 11 years since the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was first introduced, so Facilities Managers will be well versed in the Building Regulations which require reasonable provision to be made for access to a building and the use of facilities within it.

With over 10 million people in the UK registered as disabled, implementing the latest accessible facilities is an important consideration for today’s FM. With every business under pressure to comply with regulation and provide advanced facilities that meet the needs of all building users, it’s up to FMs to stay ahead of the game.

Measures may already have been put in place to assist disabled building users such as wheelchair ramps, braille signs, hearing loops, light alerts etc. However, simple things like being able to get a glass of water will make the difference between a disabled building user feeling included and provided for, or not.

The provision of drinking water comes under the ‘using facilities’ section of the Building Regulations/DDA guidance note which states that all facilities should be provided from the main floor and popular products should be made available on a mid-height shelf.

It is therefore vital for Facilities Managers to consider drinking water systems in terms of DDA and in order to assist with this mission, Vivreau launched the DDA Module to work with its Vi tap drinking water system.

Vivreau is part of the BRITA group. The company manufactures award winning drinking water systems from its base just outside London and boasts a client list that includes Michelin starred restaurants, five star hotels and a host of large corporate offices.

Innovation has been at the heart of Vivreau’s ethos since its humble beginnings in the early 1990s. The Vi tap was created to address the issue of efficiency, and is capable of dispensing instant boiling hot and cold still and sparkling perfectly filtered water at the touch of a button, all from one beautifully-designed tap.

Possessing sleek aesthetics to complement technologically advanced functions, it is suitable for a range of outlets and establishments due to its small footprint. Robust enough to deal with high demand, with an energy saving option and zero splash, the Vi tap is an asset of efficiency for the busy FM.

Incorporating high performance ice bank refrigeration, the Vi tap is capable of delivering high quantities of chilled water per hour. The high spec boiler can also produce up to four cups of water per minute at over 95 degrees, the perfect temperature for tea! There is even an intelligent safety feature on the Vi tap which prevents boiling water from being dispensed by accident.
Vivreau’s DDA Module has been created to complement the Vi tap, to address the needs of a variety of different types of customer within self-service operations, from cafes and coffee shops to conference centres and the workplace. The module has been designed for ease of use to gain access to the drinking water provision primarily from, but not limited to, a wheelchair location.

The module is installed remotely from the Vi tap system and mounted at the most convenient position for use, to enable the user to safely access drinking water without having to reach over the appliance or boiling water dispense point. It can be mounted on a wall or the front of or underneath the worktop – the position of the module can be decided following a thorough feasibility study undertaken by the FM before installation.

Once installed, customers will be able to place their glass, cup or mug on the drip tray before selecting their dispense option from the DDA Module. The still or sparkling, boiling or chilled water will then pour until the button is released.

Providing facilities which enables all users to access water independently to hydrate can make a big difference to the day to day life for those living with disabilities.

Installing the DDA Module alongside Vivreau’s Vi tap or Vi tap Plus will position the businesses as not only DDA aware but also supportive of the needs of disabled users. The satisfaction of disabled building users will undoubtedly increase as a result of implementing the DDA Module by offering self-service drinking water provision for those that would otherwise have to be waited on by others.

In addition to DDA considerations, the Vi tap is also hygienic, promoting a healthier workplace. Hygiene has been at the heart of each stage of the design process, from the dirt free touch pad, purposefully shallow drip tray (because your drinking water dispenser is not a sink) and the ability to fill water bottles without nozzle contact (no more bottle germs), to the removable dispense nozzle for cleaning.

Implementing changes such as installing new equipment requires organisational commitment and FM’s have the opportunity to make a substantial difference by pitching inclusive equipment as a priority.



Designing a couple of extra fittings into a space will ensure wheelchair- accessible toilets are fully compliant, not only with user requirements and Building Regulations, but equality law too.

So advises Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading specialist of away-from-home assisted accessible toilets and washrooms.

Under current Building Regulations Approved Document M, toilet accommodation needs to be suitable for ‘all people who use the building’. But conventional accessible toilets- as the Document recognises- do not meet everyone’s needs: potentially millions need more space and equipment.

And under the Equality Act 2010 (replacement to the DDA), providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the built environment that would otherwise place someone at a substantial disadvantage, and make those adjustments before they are demanded….

Installation of an adult-sized changing bench and hoist into a wheelchair-accessible toilet helps ensure more inclusive compliance. And, often, no extra space is required: a wall-mounted changing bench will fold flush against away, and the hoist is ceiling mounted.

Explains Kelvin Grimes, project manager at Clos-o-Mat, “For millions of disabled people, conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets aren’t suitable, as they need a carer to help them. So they are faced with stark choices: they don’t go somewhere, cut their trip short, or have to lie on the toilet floor to be changed.

“In an ideal world, the space would be bigger- at least 12sq m- but we need to be realistic. If the required 12 sq m can be allocated in addition to a conventional wheelchair accessible toilet, and an ‘all-singing’ Changing Places assisted accessible toilet included, that’s great, but a fair compromise is to adapt the wheelchair accessible toilet and at least put in an adult-sized changing bench. You wouldn’t expect to change a baby on the floor, so why a child or adult?”

Clos-o-Mat is now Britain’s leading provider of accessible toilet facilities for disabled and elderly people, be it at home or away. Uniquely, in-house, the company can provide design advice, then supply all the equipment, if necessary install and commission it, and subsequently service & maintain it. Full project management can also be provided. This is reinforced with support services including CAD blocks, and sector-specific advisory white papers available for free on its website


Lift Business

Service providers can simultaneously elevate their offering and improve safety for carers and their charges.

Clos-o-Mat, already established as Britain’s leading supplier of accessible washrooms for the thousands of people who need the help of a carer, now has a range of easy-to-use lifting/transfer equipment to optimise their safety and dignity. As importantly, all the equipment is available with full technical back-up, and service & maintenance support.

“In effect, almost 10 carers every day are injured through ‘people handling’(1),” says Kelvin Grimes, Clos-o-Mat’s project manager for its out of home facilities. “With our increasing numbers of elderly and obese people, the figure is only set to increase. Yet for a comparatively nominal investment, which can be offset as capital equipment, a hoist could be fitted. It would take up no additional space in the WC compartment, and would improve safety of all involved.

“Importantly, properly publicised, it would increase business: up to 20% of a typical business’ customer base is disabled; people make a conscious decision to visit- or not- places based on their knowledge/opinion of the toilet facilities provided; they, via social media, do discuss where is especially accessible/disabled-friendly. And our research highlights that for the majority of carers who need to physically manouevre their loved one, a hoist is their first choice in away from home personal care assistive technology, ”

Clos-o-Mat’s ceiling track (X/Y) hoists can carry up to 200kg (31stone), and can, at the push of a button, be moved to wherever needed in the room, precisely positioning the person where the carer requires. The hoists are designed to support the user as needed, and be simple for the carer to transfer.

Clos-o-Mat not only supplies the ceiling track hoist systems, but can provide comprehensive support, including design, installation, plus after-sales service and maintenance.

Full details of Clos-o-Mat raft of ceiling track hoist solutions and support services are available from its national team of sales managers, or online @, under the accessible bathrooms button.

1Health & Safety Executive


Give someone a lift to reduce strain on social care


Social care provision can be made more cost-effective, yet client dignity enhanced, through use of assistive technology.

Almost 60% of Britain’s 12 million disabled people have an issue with mobility*, requiring carer help to perform basic daily tasks- including just getting on and off the toilet. A toilet lift- the WC equivalent of a riser/recliner chair- removes the need for a carer to do that job, and restores independence to the client.

Clos-o-Mat’s range of Aerolet toilet lifts fix over the toilet and replicate the natural motion of standing up and sitting down. They gently raise and lower the user to position them accurately over the toilet as required whilst enabling their feet to remain in contact with the floor and maintaining the centre of gravity above the feet for balance. After toileting, the lift can be raised by degrees to ease access for cleansing. Its cost is amortised in less than six months of care provision.+

The Aerolet Vertical suits people with good upper body strength. Its integral support arms raise and lower with the seat, as the lift lowers and raises the user whilst giving them the control to lever themselves down onto or up from the unit.

The Aerolet Tilt is appropriate for people with strength in, and control over, their legs and knees. The user simply leans against the seat, holding the fixed support arms and bearing their weight on their legs as they operate the unit as it moves them from/to the vertical.

“Where social carers are helping a client with their personal hygiene, more often than not it is simply to help them on and off the loo. A toilet lift does that job, more safely for all involved, and pays for itself in a matter of months,” says Mark Sadler, Clos-o-Mat Sales Director.

“The client feels better for having their independence, dignity and control over their daily life enhanced: they can go to the loo as and when they need; the carer(s) has time to help someone else, and are not being subjected to risk of injury from moving and handling. If a person needs a riser recliner chair, the chances are they would benefit from a toilet lift too!”

Aerolets are part of Clos-o-Mat’s package of assistive technology to restore a person’s control in toileting, and alleviate pressure on social care: equipment includes the brand-leading Palma Vita wash & dry toilet, toilet lifts, hoists and solutions for paediatrics and bariatrics. The company is the only one in its sector with full, in-house, support, from design advice to installation, commissioning, and after-sales service & maintenance for toilet adaptations.

*Papworth Trust UK Disability Facts & Figures 2014

+ care staff wages of £7.80/hour, with two staff required to take each client to the bathroom and assist for each 15 minute toilet trip, of which they undertake an average of 5trips/client/day means staff costs alone of £215,770 a year (£7192/ individual). Cost of Clos-o-Mat Aerolet under £3000; e:; tel 0161 969 1199





Creating supportive, patient-focused environments

With recent statistics[1] suggesting one in four people will develop a diagnosable mental health condition each year, Jason Brown, Director of Design and Development at Knightsbridge Furniture discusses the importance of providing facilities capable of giving appropriate treatment.

Aside from medical and clinical treatment, which continues to improve as our understanding of certain conditions grows, one of the most important elements is to provide care environments that promote calm and peacefulness. There are a number of ways to do this, from selecting the right paint colour for walls to choosing furniture and fittings that support treatment and recovery.

Creating a supportive environment

As an approved supplier of furniture for the NHS and SNH for more than 60 years, we have come to understand that the quality and style of furniture offered by care facilities is key. No matter how an individual’s condition might manifest, we must remember that they are ill and deserve to be treated in an environment that we would all find comfortable and accommodating.

With this in mind, furniture which looks inviting and as un-institutional in appearance as possible should be provided. Consider pieces more in line with what you might expect to find at home or in a hotel. Thankfully we have moved beyond the days when furniture for mental health facilities looked more like medical apparatus, and there are many examples of great design-led items on the market.

In an environment where tempers can occasionally flare, providing furniture that is robust and sturdy is imperative. Additional weighting to make pieces heavier is a solution to this but one which comes with its own set of issues. Making a piece of furniture heavier does make it harder to be used as a weapon but it also makes it difficult for staff, and those delivering it, to move, and accidents can happen.

At Knightsbridge, we deal with projects on a scheme-by-scheme, product-by-product basis, working closely with our customers to ensure we provide the correct solution to problems like this.

In addition to the practical side of our products, it has also been proved that a pleasant, airy and vibrant environment can improve staff attitudes to work. It’s therefore important to fit-out spaces with furniture made with fabric selections and designs which support this. At Knightsbridge, we design our furniture to really stand out, utilising colourful shades of green, orange and blue, amongst others, to put a smile on people’s faces, staff, patients and family members alike.

Working together

Our growing understanding of mental health conditions has challenged us as a business to ensure we create products that meet new and constantly changing demands. As you can imagine, this has a direct impact on our products, from the way they are manufactured and the materials used right through to the costs and possibly even the skill set required to deliver the right solution.

Consequently, it’s critical to ensure we’re getting things right; and working with facilities to test products for suitability and effectiveness is a great way to do this. The subsequent feedback we have received from these trials has helped us to further the development of our furniture and fittings, adding, removing and creating new features as a result.

This collaborative approach is perhaps best demonstrated with our recent work on The Harbour, a new state-of-the-art mental health hospital in Blackpool. The facility is one of the largest in the UK and we were tasked by the NHS to fit-out specific areas of the hospital with appropriate, and in some cases bespoke, furniture and fittings. Together with input from both clinicians and patients, we were able to help bring this outstanding new hospital to fruition.

Working collaboratively with a contractor you trust can be hugely beneficial to your project and result in the perfect environment for patients.


Developing spaces which encourage people living with mental health conditions to relax is an important part of offering treatment and support; it is also an incredibly complex process. New issues inevitably emerge and it is up to us, as an industry, to provide the solutions. As our understanding of mental health conditions develops, along with advancements in technology, we can continue to provide effective solutions that will help to aid the comfort of those living with a mental health condition.

About Knightsbridge Furniture

Knightsbridge Furniture is one of the UK’s most respected contract furniture manufacturers, supplying the mental health, health care and care markets with quality British products for more than 75 years. From the timber mill to the customer’s doorstep, the company takes enormous pride in facilitating the entire production and delivery of its products onsite and is dedicated to quality and design excellence. It has been an approved supplier for the NHS and SNH for more than 60 years.



Closer offers less resistance

Powermatic controlled, concealed door closers offer the performance and reliability demanded by modern building projects, whilst delivering the lower opening forces essential to meeting the requirements of the Equality Act.

Key to Powermatic’s ability to assure ease of access is its exceptional operating efficiency, which far exceeds the recommendations of Approved Document M and BS EN 1154 and means that it can enable a door to meet the opening force requirements of Approved Document M of the Building Regulations (Access and use of buildings) and BS 8300.

Precision engineering and consistent manufacturing quality ensure that this performance is maintained throughout Powermatic’s working life.

Together with a host of other benefits Powermatic enables ease of access to be combined with enhanced aesthetics, performance and reliability as well as improving health and safety.

Tel: +44 (0) 121 766 4200




Rugby World Cup tries to extend Millennium accessibility

The Millennium Stadium is now closer to achieving its aim of removing any barriers to its use by disabled people: it has opened a new Changing Places assisted, accessible toilet.

Supplied and installed by Clos-o-Mat, the UK’s leading provider of disabled toilet solutions, the new facility means that anyone who needs the help of a carer can now participate in Stadium events, relaxed in the knowledge there is appropriate personal care provision. Strategically located on Level 3, opposite Aisle 331, the Millennium Stadium facility is on the most level and accessible floor of the building, and where the highest number of disabled seats is allotted.

Bigger than conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets, Changing Places have more equipment too, including an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench, and ceiling hoist. The Stadium facility compliments the existing wheelchair-accessible and ambulant accessible toilets already provided on each concourse.

“We’ve been wanting to include a Changing Places for some years,” explained Stadium Facilities Manager Darren Crossman. “A full review of space has recently been completed, which enabled us to allocate a suitable location for the toilet. A contribution from the Rugby World Cup (England 2015) has assisted us in being able to proceed, and install the Changing Places as a stand-alone project, and have it open ready for the rugby kick-off in September.”

Adds Kelvin Grimes, Clos-o-Mat’s Changing Places project manager, “With a capacity of nearly 75,000 people, and 1 in 5 of the population being registered disabled, it is great that the Millennium Stadium has opened a Changing Places to accommodate people who need a carer to help them with their personal hygiene. The Stadium is joining Wembley in installing these toilets. We hope more stadia will step up to the plate and follow this exemplary approach to inclusivity, which is ‘desirable’ and judged best practice under current guidance and legislation.”

Clos-o-Mat has a 50+ years-long proven track record on the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, and hygiene rooms, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities. Its ability to deliver design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment, including the Clos-o-Mat wash and dry (automatic) toilet, means it is uniquely positioned to simplify the whole process for forward-thinking environments to which the public have access.

Clos-o-Mat’s website- – has all the tools available for progression of a Changing Places toilet, from general and industry-specific white papers to CAD drawings, typical layouts and specification criteria, under its dedicated Changing Places button.


Tel: 0161 969 1199; Email:



Next time you go to the toilet away from home, imagine how you would cope if you needed a helper…..

For some 1/4million adults and children who do need help, they face having to be laid on the toilet floor, often with the door open for anyone passing to see them. New guidelines and legislation have put in place criteria to avoid this situation: installation of a Changing Places toilet. Bigger than a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet, the facility also includes additional equipment of, at least, a hoist and adult-sized changing bench.

Under both the latest Building Regulations Approved Document M and BS8300:2009, it is desirable to include a Changing Places facility in any building to which the public have access. And under the Equality Act, service providers are now required to make reasonable changes- including to the built environment- where a disabled customer or potential customer would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage.

“Having to lie on the toilet floor most people would view as a substantial disadvantage,” says Kelvin Grimes, Changing Places project manager at Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading provider of disabled toilet facilities. “We wouldn’t expect a mother to lay her baby on the floor to change it, so why should it be acceptable for a disabled person to undergo that experience?

“Our disabled population is growing- currently 10% of the UK population is registered disabled. Disabled people account for an annual spend in excess of £80billion. Disabled customers account, on average, for 20% of retail business. It is therefore ‘desirable’, to quote the legislation, that shopping centres, tourist attractions, leisure venues heed good practice, legal recommendations, and the commercial benefits of providing Changing Places toilets.”

Clos-o-Mat is the only British company with the ability to, in-house, provide design advice, supply, installation, project management, commissioning and ongoing service & maintenance of the equipment. To help all involved in the decision process, it has produced a white paper ‘Considerations & Specification of Changing Places Toilets’. The white paper, plus support data such as specifications, 2D and 3D CAD drawings, animations, FAQs, and an expert’s blog are all available on the company’s website