Adapting leisure environments to accommodate disabled people delivers a win: win opportunity, says Clos-o-Mat.
The UK’s leading supplier of disabled toileting solutions maintains shops, cafes and tourist attractions could see an increase in traffic simply by a nominal investment n more accessible toilet facilities- an investment which can be offset against tax liability.
Research shows people make a conscious decision NOT to visit somewhere if they believe there are not appropriate toilet facilities. It also highlights that many accessible toilets do not even reach the Building Regulations* standard. Yet the country’s 11m disabled people account for 20% of the average business’ customer base. A survey of disabled consumers’ buying patterns revealed that over 80% had taken their custom elsewhere to a more accessible competitor, and that the majority of disabled people primarily buy in-store and choose businesses where they have received good service.
“Disabled people already represent a significant part of the £80b retail market,” says Robin Tuffley, Clos-o-Mat marketing manager. “Forward-thinking businesses should make adaptations to accommodate them, and they’ll achieve a win: win situation.
“To elaborate, under the Community Toilet Scheme, businesses which make their toilets available for use by the public can get a rate reduction. If people are therefore encouraged to visit the premises, the chances are they will spend there. The cost of sanitaryware installed to comply with DDA/Equality Act requirements to make ‘reasonable’ adjustments to accommodate disabled people, and the fitting cost, qualifies for a PMA+ under HMRC guidelines. Building Regulations also say that if there is only space for one toilet, it should be a unisex, accessible one.”
IKEA and Cadbury World are just two organisations that have taken Clos-o-Mat’s philosophy on board, and installed toilets to deliver optimum inclusivity, comprising an adult-sized changing bench, hoist and Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita automatic (wash and dry) toilet.
Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita has in-built washing and drying facilities, eliminating the need to use toilet paper. As a result a disabled person needs little, or no, help to toilet. If space is limited, simply replacing a traditional WC in a standard accessible toilet with a Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita instantly increases the potential number of users. Where more space is available, addition of a Changing Places toilet/ hygiene room further increases visitor range, with their additional equipment of a changing bench and hoist.
Elizabeth Stanton of IKEA Edinburgh, explained, “At the IKEA Group, we believe that taking responsibility for people is a prerequisite for doing good business. The decision to install a Clos-o-Mat in our ‘Changing Places’ toilet was entirely our own, in our desire to create something to benefit our co-workers as well as our customers. As a result, we have an accessible toilet that is truly as inclusive as possible, and, we believe, the only one to be so extensively equipped in a superstore in the UK.”
Tim Gimbert, Cadbury World operations manager added, “Our toilets were originally installed when Cadbury World first opened, which was before even Document M existed! We felt they were outdated and didn’t have the range of facilities to a standard that is required or expected today.
“We have often been asked in the past if we have a hoist in any of the toilets, so that led us to go beyond the legal requirement and install a Changing Places toilet, which is ‘good practice’ under BS8300. Further adding the Clos-o-Mat, which again goes beyond the requirement, means we are accommodating the FULL diversity of visitors.”
Clos-o-Mat has a proven track record on the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, 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.
*Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013-04-30
+ PMA: Plant & Machinery Allowance