Meeting design requirements of a modern washroom environment
Designing washrooms for areas of heavy public footfall such as leisure centres requires more than just a lick of paint here, or a new washbasin there. There is much to consider if your refurbished changing area is to meet customer satisfaction as well as strict building regulations.
As part of the government’s ‘M’ document relating to access and use of buildings, it states sanitary facilities should be of suitable standard for a wide range of people including the elderly and disabled. Every aspect of a washroom must be accessible to wheelchair users and those considered less-able bodied. Wet rooms, for example, which eliminate the step-up to ordinary shower cubicles and offer door-less entry, are an essential element for swimming pools and leisure centres.
In terms of WCs, toilet seats should be of appropriate height to allow easy slide on/off access from a wheelchair, and basins should be within reach to allow users to wash their hands before returning to their chair. A mirror located either above the washbasin or on the opposite wall is another regulation requirement to enable people to see themselves in a standing or seated position. Provision should also be made for disposal bins, and a shelf located between the basin and WC to hold a colostomy bag.
Non-slip flooring is a must for swimming pool changing areas regardless of user-mobility. A trip, slip or fall could lead to serious injury and a hefty compensation claim. Local authorities do not have surfeits of cash to splash on settlements for incidents which are easily-avoided by specification of appropriate flooring.
Visual, as well as physical impairment is another key issue to health and safety compliance. People with low vision require fixtures and fittings to be presented in high contrast; this can be achieved by providing a darker or lighter background to the item being viewed – a brilliant white urinal against a bright blue or orange wall, for example.
Water temperature control is also imperative in public shower areas. Scolding could become an issue if unregulated water runs too hot. However, stored hot water must be controlled to such an extent it eliminates the risk of naturally-occurring bacteria.
With more than 11 million people - about 20% of the UK population - suffering from limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability, there any many design and installation factors to take into account when refurbishing public changing areas.
Whatever the washroom requirements, however, Interfix has the design and installation solution.