There is a distinct difference between a standard accessible toilet and a Changing Places toilet. Our list of features shows the differences in the equipment, spatial requirements, and why these are so important.  

A standard wheelchair accessible toilet must include:  

  • A minimum of 3.3m2 floor space (or 4.4m2 if it’s the only WC available)  
  • Raised height WC with a paddle-style flush handle 
  • A wall-hung basin with lever taps  
  • Outward opening door  
  • A mirror, bottom edge 600mm above floor 
  • Emergency assistance alarm pull cord and reset 
  • 2 x 600mm vertical grab rails 
  • Hinged support arm by WC 
  • Vertical grab rail alongside WC 1 x 600mm 
  • 1 x 600mm with 100mm projection horizontal grab rail on opposite side of WC 
  • 450mm horizontal rail on back of door 
Wheelchair accessable toilet

A Changing Places toilet requires:

  • 12 m2 of floor space minimum 
  • A height adjustable, adult-sized changing bench that can lift 200kg (31 Stone)  
  • A track or mobile hoist system that can lift 200kg (31 Stone)  
  • A privacy screen or curtain  
  • A large, height adjustable basin, with a thermostatic tap 
  • A raised height toilet at least 1m away from the wall 
  • Folding grab rails either side of the toilet  
  • Fixed vertical grab rails either side of the basin and toilet  
  • A horizontal grab rail on the toilet door  
  • Two large waste bins, one for standard waste and one for clinical waste  
  • A tear-off paper roll for covering the changing bench  
  • A manually operated hand dryer  
  • A colostomy bag shelf  
  • At least two coat hooks  
  • Turning space of 2m X 1.8m  
  • Entrance door with a minimum clear opening of 1m  
Changing places floor plan square

Many stories have been told about disabled individuals being changed on a dirty toilet floor, or not drinking fluids all day as they cannot use a standard disabled toilet. The specialist equipment found within a Changing Places toilet is necessary to make the facilities accessible to everyone with complex and profound disabilities:

  • Without a hoist and adjustable changing bench, any disabled individual who needs continence pads changing is excluded.
  • Standard wheelchair accessible toilets are much smaller than Changing Places facilities. The larger floor area of 12 square metres is sufficient space for both the disabled person and two carers to use safely.  
  • Public toilet facilities such as a Changing Places are naturally multi-user environments. This is why height-adjustable basins are such a beneficial inclusion, because every user can reach the basin at a comfortable height.  
  • The addition of a privacy screen makes using the toilet a much more dignified and private experience, allowing care assistants to use the WC in private without having to leave the disabled individual unattended. 
  • A non-slip floor covering, good lighting, and attention to visual contrasts, and access/egress routes help to make safe use a priority in these facilities. 

Full Doc M guidance documents 

If you need assistance in planning your Changing Places facility, Care Spaces offer a full survey and planning service.  


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