When designing a Changing Places Toilet, it’s essential that you pay close attention to the build structure and attachments to the walls
There are many structural aspects to consider in a Changing Places project, and factoring in weight capacity at an early stage is critical to assess load-bearing walls and ceiling structures.
It is best to plan equipment to cater for a wide range of users, here we’ve listed the specialist equipment where weight capacity requires careful consideration. In our opinion (as BS8300 doesn’t make this clear), if the ceiling hoist in a Changing Places Toilet is configured to lift 200kg, then the ancillary equipment in the room should also be able to safely accommodate that weight.
Changing Places Ceiling Hoist
The minimum safe working load of a hoist in a Changing Places Toilet designed to the BS8300 British Standard is 200kg.
Ceiling track hoists are used to safely lift and transfer users from wheelchair to toilet and/or changing table. Hoists should conform to BS EN ISO 10535 and have a safe working load of 200kg (31½ stone).
You must consider your fixing options to ensure there is never any restricted use with your overhead ceiling hoist. Ceiling structures are variable in each location and there are some instances when a ceiling may not be suitable to support a hoist system. In this instance, the main fixing alternatives are wall brackets and wall posts.
Wall Brackets can only be fixed to solid load-bearing walls. The load is spread through a reinforced or load bearing wall. If you have timber stud walls, you can install substantial timber and plywood pattressing to take the wall bracket – we can advise on the design and location of the pattressing as this will be project-specific. A wall-bracket fixing can save you money as it only requires fixing below the ceiling, so can be a solution where the structural soffit is a long way above the ceiling
If neither the wall nor the ceiling is suitable, wall posts allow for a straightforward fixing as all the load/force is directed down the slimline aluminium posts and onto the floor. They work best where the room walls are lightweight steel studwork. Wall posts are designed to fix directly through the final covering (tiles, Whiterock etc) and into the plasterboard using toggle-type fixings and don’t require any additional pattressing.
For people with complex disabilities, a changing table is required to provide a hygienic, safe and comfortable platform for showering and dressing. The bench should have a safe working load of a minimum of 200kg (31½ stone).
A wall-mounted changing table is fixed to the wall and will have a fold away mechanism. The table will require suitable structure within the wall to take the imposed load – solid blockwork is ideal, or a 22mm plywood pattress within a stud wall will generally be sufficient
A mobile changing table unit is ideal where wall structure is not suitable for a wall fixed bench. A mobile bench like this can aid access for carers but unfixed items can be considered vulnerable.
A shower seat is also recommended to satisfy the needs of a wider audience. It is good practice to offer a range of facilities and a shower seat allows users to shower in a seated upright position. The seat should be slip resistant and wall mounted, and a backrest and support handrails should be provided. The seat should be able to support a weight of at least 200kg (440lbs).
Fixed Support Rails
A vertical fixed rail should be fixed either side of the WC and basin positions, to allow a wheelchair-user to steady themselves whilst standing. Outward opening doors should have a horizontal grab rail making it easy to close. Grab rails can also be fitted to walls where extra assistance and reassurance may be required. Weight capacity planning should be thought through when choosing the rail and the fixings. Likewise, considering the load imposed on the rail during use will inform the wall structure and the need for a solid fixing.
Hinged Support Rails
Hinged support rails should be provided to both sides of the WC to offer support to people while seated. As these work on a cantilever principle, the considerable loads imposed on the fixing points should be thought through.
Some folding rails have an additional hinged leg which provides support down to the floor partway along the arm. This reduces the load imposed through the fixing points on the rear wall.
Constructing support into the wall behind the WC allows for a hinged rail to be firmly fixed. A rail that does not have an additional support leg is easier for a disabled user to deploy and will generally provide a superior support.