New guidance on washroom legalities and good practice


By law (Equality Act 2010), venues need to make anticipatory ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the built environment to prevent disabled people being put at a ‘substantial’ disadvantage- that includes suitable toilets!

To help all involved in the decision-making process get it right, Clos-o-Mat- Britain’s leading provider of toilet solutions to restore dignity to people who need help to ‘go to the loo’- has produced a new white paper. ‘Accessible Toilets, Washrooms & Bathrooms- The Provisions Beyond Building Regulations Approved Document M’ explains why Approved Document M type toilets do NOT meet the needs of up to 14 million people, and outlines the relevant British Standards and guidelines for compliance.

‘There is an assumption that a Document M type wheelchair accessible toilet ‘does the job’,” says Robin Tuffley, Clos-o-Mat marketing manager. “But for up to 14million people, who need more space, and/or more equipment, it doesn’t. It therefore precludes their ability to access the venue. So by not accommodating their needs, you are shutting the door on 20% of the UK population, who spend £86 billion a year at least. Can you afford to do that, especially when all that is needed to open the door to them is a minimum 7.5m² (including a standard unisex wheelchair-accessible toilet), an adult-sized changing bench, and a hoist? Our white paper simplifies the legal and ‘best practice’ considerations, in one useful reference tool.”

The new white paper is available free of charge for download from Clos-o-Mat’s website It is complimented by papers specific to the various accessible washrooms- Changing Places, Space to Change, hygiene rooms- and to industry sectors, plus technical support material including CAD blocks, NBS specifications, dimension sheets and installation data.

Clos-o-Mat, founded over 55 years ago and family-owned, is the leading provider of toilet solutions for disabled people in Britain. It is unique in manufacturing its products in the UK, and in its ability to deliver, in-house, the complete package from design advice through project management, supply, install, commissioning, to after-sales service & maintenance. No other major provider of ‘away from home’ toilets with changing facilities can deliver that full ambit.



Tel 0161 969 1199; Email:;; twitter: @closomatuk


Alton Towers resort opens doors on optimum accessibility

Alton Towers Resort has become the most accessible of the UK’s top theme parks with the opening of two new assisted, accessible toilet facilities.

The Staffordshire venue, which attracts on average 2million visitors a year, has become the first of the most popular theme parks to install both a Changing Places, and Space to Change assisted, accessible toilet. As a result, thousands of people who would not have been able to enjoy the facilities now can relax and spend time there, safe in the knowledge there are appropriate toilet facilities for them.

The Changing Places toilet is in addition to existing wheelchair-accessible toilets, and delivers more space (12m2) with a ceiling track hoist, height-adjustable adult sized changing bench and height-adjustable washbasin alongside a peninsular WC. The Space to Change toilet delivers the same equipment in a smaller space (7.5m2)and can be incorporated as part of an existing wheelchair-accessible toilet or as a stand-alone facility. Both facilities have been supplied and installed by Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading disabled toilet solutions company, and the largest provider of assisted, accessible ‘away from home’ toilet facilities.

“At least one in every 260 people needs additional space and/or equipment to go to the toilet when away from home,” explained campaigner Tony Clough MBE, who worked closely with Alton Towers Resort’s operator Merlin on the project. “They need room to accommodate themselves and at least one carer, and/or a hoist, and/or a changing bench. We go to the toilet about eight times a day, so if you’re at a venue for the day, you WILL need to address intimate care needs. By now providing these facilities, Alton Towers Resort has enabled the park to be enjoyed by literally thousands of people who otherwise would have had to cut their visit short, or not gone at all.”

Added Justine Locker, Alton Towers Resort Excellence Manager, “We constantly listen to feedback from our guests, and have consulted with an external accessibility auditor. Due to the size of the Resort- over 900 acres- we decided to invest in both the Changing Places and Space to Change toilets, to compliment the adult changing already available in our First Aid centre and CBeebies Land, and ensure that guests could access appropriate facilities no matter where they were on the park.”

Under latest Building Regulations and good practice guidelines, a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Since their introduction a decade ago, almost 900 have been opened across the UK. 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, being an enlarged wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist.

Clos-o-Mat 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 venues  ‘get it right’, Clos-o-Mat has a raft of downloadable information on its website,, including white papers, CAD blocks, room renders and videos.


Tel 0161 969 1199;; Email:


Change toilet provision to increase custom

Venues, retail outlets could significantly increase the number of families visiting, and their length of stay, just by adapting accessible toilet facilities.

A survey by Firefly Community- a group of 20,000 families with children who have special needs- found that:

  • 97% of families surveyed said changing their child whilst out and about was a  problem.
  • 86% had to leave a venue early because of poor toilet facilities
  • 100% suffer from back pain (from lifting their child)
  • 95% said either a height adjustable or adult-sized changing bench would make their life easier on days out
  • 99% would be more likely to visit a venue if it improved its toilet changing facilities.

“The survey speaks for itself,” observes Claire Smyth, who runs Firefly’s Space to Change campaign, for wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities with a changing bench and hoist. “Provide a hoist, bench, and you open your doors to up to 14 million disabled children and adults in the UK, and their families, who need space, a bench, and/or hoist to toilet away from home.

“Without these, those families either can’t visit, or leave early so spend less with you: that includes everything from doing the weekly shop, a trip to the town or shopping centre, a family meal out, or a tourist attraction. And we know that venues that have made that change are seeing tangible benefits- Cornwall Services, for example, has reported its facility is used daily and it has seen an increase in custom and spend as a result.”

Adds Robin Tuffley, marketing manager at Clos-o-Mat, supporter of the Space to Change campaign, “Even if there is no other toilet provided, venues have to at least have a unisex wheelchair-accessible toilet. Many unisex wheelchair accessible toilets are already big enough to accommodate the bench and hoist: it’s a comparatively small capital equipment spend to add them. Even if they are not already big enough, it only requires an additional 1.6m x 2m of space….”

Under the Equality Act, venues to which the public have access are required to anticipate the need and make ‘reasonable adjustments’, including to the built environment, if a disabled person would otherwise be at a ‘substantial’ disadvantage. Campaigners maintain having to lie a child or adult on a toilet floor to be changed because there are not suitable facilities represents that substantial disadvantage.

The concept of Space To Change toilets has been developed to ensure that the personal hygiene needs of people who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal care are met when away from home, as much as possible. It builds on a Regulatory (Document M) unisex wheelchair-accessible toilet, delivering a 7.5m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) WC facility with an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist.

Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions at home and away, has been instrumental in developing the Space To Change toilet layout, and working with campaigners and Firefly Community to promote the concept. Firefly Community, an online special needs resource, is driving the movement, supporting campaigners and raising awareness of the need for accessible toilets that include a height adjustable changing bench and hoist.

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



Survey hoists need for assisted toilets

Shopping venues are being given proof of the benefit of providing wheelchair-accessible toilets with extra facilities.

A survey among campaigners for assisted toilets with an adult-sized changing bench and hoist (Changing Places, Space to Change facilities) revealed:

  • 99% of respondents would visit the retail centre with these facilities over one without
  • 94% would stay for a snack, meal if there were suitable toilets
  • 83% said they would stay longer, spend more in a retail environment that had suitable toilets
  • 68% usually had three or more people with them when visiting a retail environment.

“The figures speak for themselves: footfall, time and spend would all increase if a retail venue catered for people who need help to go to the loo when away from home,” says Robin Tuffley, marketing manager for Clos-o-Mat, the UK’s leading provider of hoist-assisted accessible toilets.

“20% of the UK population today is disabled, up to 14 million people, who spend £212 billion a year! A large percentage need a little extra space, and or equipment of a changing bench and/or hoist for intimate care – people who otherwise either can’t visit an outlet, or have to cut their visit short if there aren’t suitable facilities.

“Under current legislation and best practice, these facilities should be provided. The survey gives venues a tangible business argument to install them.”

Clos-o-Mat is the only UK company fully equipped, in-house, to provide the resource necessary to provide appropriate disabled changing toilets with a bench and hoist (Changing Places and Space to Change facilities).

Uniquely, Clos-o-Mat offers, in-house, a full support service, encompassing site surveys, design advice, supply, installation, commissioning, staff training and subsequent service & maintenance.

Clos-o-Mat’s website,,  also includes full support data, including white papers, CAD blocks, video, technical specifications and typical layouts.



Creating an inclusive workplace

Inclusivity is no longer just a buzzword within the business world, it’s a way of life. Companies who drag their feet in terms of equal opportunities, especially when it comes to catering for the needs of disabled employees, quickly find themselves left behind in terms of recruiting and retaining the best staff. Worse still, the reputation that comes hand-in-hand with a backward thinking attitude doesn’t bode well when attempting to attract new clients.

The issue lies with the fact that companies think that by ticking the legal boxes, in terms of what they need to provide for disabled workers, they are well equipped for a disabled worker to start work within their organisation. In reality, simply offering disabled parking spots, toilet facilities and accessible entrances isn’t enough to facilitate the majority of employees with restricted movement, as was revealed in a survey carried out by CMD in partnership with Shaw Trust, the national charity for helping disabled workers find employment.

Is your office realistically set up to suit disabled employees?

The survey went out to 515 workers, aged between 18-64, asking them to have a realistic look around their own workplace to determine whether it would be suitable for a disabled employee to start working there with immediate effect, and if not, what obstacles would stop them.

Here’s what the survey revealed…


Attention to detail

As the survey reveals, there are numerous obstacles around the every-day office that fully mobile employees may not even notice. Trailing cables and uneven flooring can create a real hazard for someone with restricted mobility, hard to access plug sockets can be an impossibility and un-adjustable desks can make tasks that we all take for granted uncomfortable and even painful.

The good news is, there are numerous products on the market that can easily rectify these issues, and far from being ‘one-off’ specialist purchases to suit individual employees, they can benefit the entire office.

Adjustable desks and monitor arms are a great way to address the different heights and working positions required for all workers, not just disabled employees. Not only do they help address problems with posture and enable employees to work in a standing position if they wish, they are also a great way to incorporate hot desking into the working environment, as all work stations can be adapted to suit all employees.

Simple measures such as on-desk power modules, can make a huge difference to employees who may have difficulties bending down to locate sockets underneath desks, and cable spines and baskets have the double benefit of securing trailing cables whilst creating a much tidier appearance to the office.

Investing in the workforce as a whole

Although the emphasis is on creating an inclusive working environment for workers with restricted movement, this doesn’t necessarily relate solely to employees who are registered as disabled. It is also worth acknowledging that restricted movement comes in all guises, from employees who suffer from back pain or age related conditions to those who have broken bones and even women in the later stages of pregnancy.

Attracting and retaining the best possible staff

Adapting facilities to assist the working lives of disabled employees doesn’t just apply to creating a workplace suitable for new recruits. Retention of disabled employees is as much of an issue, as this startling fact presented by the Business Disability Forum highlights:

7 out of 10 people with disabilities become disabled during their working lives

With this in mind, it is clear that there is more to inclusivity than simply working your way through the HR manual. Take a look around your office and reassess the space through the eyes of someone with restricted movement. You may find that simple adjustments can make a huge difference to the comfort and manoeuvrability of employees, ultimately creating the optimum working environment for everyone.


Community Centre encompasses everyone’s needs (in matters toileting at least!)

Objectives of developing confidence and self-esteem are being achieved with a holistic approach to people’s needs at a Midlands community centre.

East West Community Centre, in Leicester, is the only Centre of its kind in the city, and county, to now offer a Changing Places assisted accessible toilet. Supplied by Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading provider of such facilities, and installed by F Stimpson (Leicester), the room gives 12m² of space, with a ceiling track hoist, peninsular toilet, height-adjustable washbasin and adult-sized changing bench.

The project, which involved refurbishment and remodelling of the building- funded by Leicester City Council- to accommodate the space on the ground floor, and give unimpeded, level access, was shortlisted for a regional design award.

“It has definitely made a difference, helping to attract many people from the local community to use our facilities. Since installation the spacious and modern toilet and hoist facility has made our centre more inclusive; It means a lot of people who otherwise be housebound and isolated  can come and enjoy time here and socialise with others as we provide various services: Day Care, Luncheon Club, Women’s Group,  Exercise Sessions, etc.” says manager Ushma Mehta.

“We aim to draw service users out of isolation, develop confidence and self-esteem; having appropriate toilets is just one element, but a vital one, of that- without them, people can’t stay as long as they would like, in case they need to ‘go’.

“Other groups in the community are getting to know about it, and are using the centre because of the facility. We just need even more to know about it, so even more people get out of isolation.”

Adds Kelvin Grimes, Clos-o-Mat assisted accessible toilet project manager, “We go to the loo about eight times a day, so the chances are, if you’ve gone out, you will need a toilet. Without toilet facilities like this, many people feel that they can’t go out, because they need extra space, or lifting, or have continence issues.”

Under latest Building Regulations and good practice guidelines, a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Since their introduction a decade ago, almost 900 have been opened across the UK. Under British Standards, a Changing Places is in addition to conventional (Building Regulations Document M) wheelchair accessible toilets, and provides 12m2, with additional equipment including an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench and ceiling track hoist.

Clos-o-Mat is Britain’s biggest provider of fully accessible toilets, in domestic environments and ’away from home’, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities.

Clos-o-Mat 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 venues  ‘get it right’, Clos-o-Mat has a raft of downloadable information on its website,, including white papers, CAD blocks, room renders and videos.

Tel: 0161 969 1199; Email:

Potential users of an away from home assisted, accessible toilet include:

  • 1.5 million wheelchair users
  • 6.5 million people who have either bladder or bowel incontinence
  • 1.5 million people with a learning disability
  • 1.2 million people living with stroke
  • 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
  • 3.8 million adults morbidly obese



Designing Accessible Washrooms

By Brian Ford, Specification Manager, Dolphin Solutions

One in five people in the UK has a disability. Workplaces and public spaces have the responsibility of ensuring that there are suitable accessible washroom facilities available for staff, visitors and customers. Whilst fully accessible washrooms require more accessories to make them fit for use, there is no reason that the washroom can’t be equally as striking as the building’s other facilities and match the same standards as the rest of the building.

When designing an accessible washroom, to ensure that you are complying with Document Part M regulations or BS8300 2010, there are a number of considerations which need to be taken into account.

Firstly, it’s no good creating a beautifully functional washroom if it’s inaccessible. There needs to be adequate space for manoeuvring outside the bathroom door, 1.5m x 1.5m is the minimum. Ideally, the door should open outwards and be light enough to be opened and operated with a clenched fist.

Inside the washroom

Once you are inside the washroom, which should measure at least 2200mm x 1500mm, it needs to be visually clear and easy to use. Designers and architects must use Light Reflectance Value (LRV) ratings to ensure there is a good visual contrast between various elements of the building, including doorways, fixtures and fittings. Colours are rated on a scale of 0 to 100, with black being 0 and white being 100.

Guidelines state that the LRV of the wall should be 30 points different from that of the floor and the ceiling, whilst the LRV of the door furniture should be 15 points different from that of the door to be compliant. Chrome plated accessories for example, tend to reflect the background colour of the surroundings and can in some instances make grab rails more difficult for the partially sighted to see. A satin finish or solid colour are the preferred options. Toilet seats must also have a colour contrast e.g. a white floor with a blue toilet seat.

A user-friendly washroom

When looking at an accessible washroom, there is much more to the placement of the toilet, sink and accessories than is immediately obvious. For example, the sink unit must be placed close enough to the toilet so that users can wash and dry their hands whilst seated on the toilet, making it more accessible and easy to use for wheelchair users. A hand dryer and hand towel dispenser must also be near to the sink for this reason, and the use of both hand drying options is recommended to suit varying needs of accessible washroom users.

A tap that can be operated using a clenched fist is important. A touch free sensor tap is an acceptable alternative which saves water and energy and helps reduce cross contamination. Toilet roll and soap dispensers must also be placed in a prominent location and easy to use for people with the use of only one hand.

Government guidelines provide an interesting overview of a scenario highlighting the importance of washroom layout. To fully understand the difficulty of an awkwardly arranged washroom, try the following: “Whilst sitting on a chair, lift your legs off the ground, stretch your arms out in front of you and see how far you can reach forward without losing your balance. You will find it is not very far.”

The usability of accessories can sometimes be overlooked, however if products are considered in a different way, a number of alternative uses can be identified. Shelving for colostomy bags is a good example – guidelines state that a shelf must be installed for colostomy bags, however if there is an exposed cistern in place, the top of this may also be used as a shelf.

Top tips for staying stylish

Accessible washroom facilities can be equally as contemporary and stylish as other washroom facilities. Here are some essential tips to keep front of mind when designing or updating an accessible washroom:

  • There is no need to stick to plain white fittings. Washroom fittings come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes so there is plenty of opportunity to make the most of the varying ranges available to make the final finish stylish.
  • Streamlined accessible washrooms can be achieved by being clever about how washroom accessories are used. Doubling the use of certain fittings can save on space and money, whilst still looking great. For example, there needs to be a shelf adjacent to the door where a wheelchair user can place a bag.
    A wall mounted waste paper bin can be useful in this instance as they can double up as a shelf, assuming the hole for used towels is at the front of the bin and not on top.
  • It’s essential to ensure that washroom accessories such as grab rails, in addition to the toilet and sink, are positioned and installed at the correct height to meet with building standards.
  • Choosing options that are easier to clean such as roseless grab rails will keep the washroom looking smart for longer.

For more information, visit:


Height adjustable toilet aids wheelchair transfer

Transferring from a wheelchair to the toilet can be an overwhelming experience for many frail or disabled users. The installation of the Pressalit Care height adjustable Select toilet bracket can make the world of difference, not just from a practical and safety point of view, but importantly in retaining the dignity and independence of the user.

To meet with the requirements of the British Standard, toilets installed in bathrooms used by those with disabilities should be at the same height as a standard wheelchair, to limit the risk of falls.

With the ability to raise or lower the toilet however, ease of transfer can be aided even more with the assistance of gravity.

With the use of a hand-held control, the toilet pan can be adjusted to slightly below the level of the wheelchair, thus helping transfer across. To move back, simply raise the toilet back to a height slightly higher than the wheelchair.

Andrew Lowndes, UK Sales Manager for Pressalit Care observes, “If you transfer from a wheelchair to a toilet higher than your sitting position, you would need significant upper body strength to transfer across and pull yourself up. The risk of losing balance and falling, or the wheelchair toppling over, is also great.

“Safety is of paramount importance. The height adjustable toilet bracket provides the flexibility to position the toilet to suit the position of the wheelchair user and ease transfer in a safe and controlled way.”

The Pressalit Care Select toilet bracket, designed in a choice of contemporary colours to complement bathroom decor, features smooth lines and surfaces, with minimal slits and grooves, for ease of cleaning.

Available in both electric and manual lifting options, the brackets allows for an adjustment of 300mm with the manual version, and 400mm with the electric version. The electric hand control is operated with the simple press of a button, and is ideal for multi-user bathrooms where frequent height adjustment is required. The manual option is operated by means of an easily accessible handle which can be mounted on either side of the toilet, and is the preferred option for bathrooms where periodic adjustment is the norm.

The Select toilet bracket can be used alongside the Select height adjustable basin bracket; integrated into the Pressalit Care Plus system, which features a horizontal track for additional flexibility; or can just as easily stand alone as a one-off installation. Colour coordinated with anthracite, lime green or white brackets, optional coordinating hinge support arms can also be fitted.

View a downloadable short film: Tel: 0844 8806950 Email:


All change in Wellington

Wellington has become the most inclusive town in its area of Somerset, with the opening of a new pub….

JD Wetherspoon, which has already won national awards for its toilet facilities, hopes its new The Iron Duke- named after the Duke of Wellington- will continue its tradition: it is the latest of the chain’s venues to incorporate a Changing Places wheelchair-accessible toilet for anyone who also need additional equipment such as a bench and/or hoist.

Supplied and installed by Clos-o-Mat, the Changing Places means children and adults who needs a carer’s help with their personal hygiene has the appropriate space and equipment to do so hygienically. The alternative would be to curtail their visit, lie their loved one on the toilet floor to change them, or not be able to enjoy a relaxing drink and meal out with friends and family.

All toilets at The Iron Duke – women, men, baby change and the Changing Places – are accessed directly off the main bar area, with entry to the Changing Places toilet being via RADAR key.

Jon Matthews, Wetherspoon’s development manager, said, “Pubs traditionally are the focal point of any community. As a company we aim to ensure that all members of a community, including those with disabilities,  can access and enjoy what we have to offer.”

A Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ under Building Regulations Approved Document M 2015, and BS8300:2009, for all new build and refurbishment projects involving buildings to which numbers of the public have access.  Under British Standards, it provides a minimum 12m², and includes a peninsular toilet, washbasin, height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench and ceiling track hoist.

Now, over 900 are open across the UK; JD Wetherspoon is the only leading brand of pub chain to incorporate the facilities wherever possible in its new build and refurbishment projects.

Clos-o-Mat is the leading player in the supply and installation of the away from home assisted accessible toilet facilities. Its ability to deliver design advice, project management, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment means it is uniquely provide a reliable, single source for the whole process. Further, its website, is an essential reference point for anyone considering installing a Changing Places toilet, offering white paper, 2D and 3D CAD drawings, standard layouts, and video.

Tel 0161 969 1199;; e:


Listening to customers proven to pay off!

Doing a ‘proper job’ and heeding a customer’s request is reaping rewards for a travel venue.

Cornwall Services has seen visitor numbers increase since it opened its Changing Places toilet for disabled visitors at the end of June. It had the facility installed, by Clos-o-Mat, after the need for the assisted, wheelchair-accessible toilet with additional fixtures of a changing bench and hoist was highlighted, by customer Rachel George, who has a 10 years old disabled son.

“We’ve had a fantastic response!” enthuses Site Manager Alex Lawson. “It is being used on a daily basis, with customers returning time and time again, and planning trips with a stop scheduled here, knowing they can safely use the toilets with dignity, from 6.00am- 11.00pm seven days a week!

“We have worked hard to let people know about it, with a media campaign for the unveiling, detailing it on our website, and very obvious signage on our roadside totem pole. We believe in doing a ‘proper job’ as we say down here: reaction to the toilet demonstrates we’ve certainly done that as far as disabled people and their families are concerned!”

Adds Kelvin Grimes, Clos-o-Mat away from home project manager, “The Changing Places toilet is designed for people who need help, or extra space, to go to the loo, so most will be stopping with at least one carer, maybe a whole family. Therefore, the availability of the facility is bringing not only users but at least double, and potentially up to four times as many customers to Cornwall Services!”

Cornwall Services is the only non motorway service station in the UK to offer a Changing Places facility. Visitors who need to use it just ask a member of staff. The wheelchair-accessible room is 7.5m², with an adult-sized, height adjustable changing bench and ceiling track hoist.

Clos-o-Mat is the leading player in the supply and installation of the away from home assisted accessible toilet facilities, including Changing Places toilets. Its ability to deliver design advice, project management, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment means it is uniquely provide a reliable, single source for the whole process. Further, its website, is an essential reference point for anyone considering installing a Changing Places toilet, offering white paper, 2D and 3D CAD drawings, standard layouts, and video. Tel: 0161 969 1199;; Email: