While public toilets for people with disabilities are becoming more readily available, those existing rarely have a changing station for people with disabilities. This has resulted in parents and carers having to use toilet floors instead which as you can imagine is deeply frustrating and demeaning.
Addressing this need for a convenient space to help both people with disabilities and their carers, an Adult Change Facility public toilet was included in the National Construction Code 2019.
This was hailed by Richard Seidman of iAccess consultants as the right move towards inclusivity and accessibility for all. The inclusion of an adult change facility was intended to provide people with high support needs and their carers facilities that have features that assist them to make their outings a much more enjoyable experience.
To identify an Adult Change Facility Public Toilet we’ve outlined what accessibility features must be included to qualify them as such:
The doorway to Adult Change Facilities must not have a step or lip to ensure a smooth entrance without snags or extra maneuvering. The doorway must have a minimum clear openable width of 1100mm.
These doors and door controls must also have a luminance contrast to provide easy recognition.
Indicator lights with ‘Occupied’ and ‘Vacant’ for the external sign and ‘Locked’ and ‘Unlocked’ for the internal sign also gives users assured security and privacy.
Building regulations for disabled toilets mandates that they must be installed in a peninsula-type layout with a 900 mm minimum clearance at both sides to provide easy access to the seat. It must also have either a hand-operated or an automatically activated flushing mechanism. The disabled toilet Australian standard also recommends dropdown type grab rails must also be installed on each side for support.
The central feature of any adult change facility – the changing table should measure at least 700mm in width and 1800 mm in length. It must be installed with one long edge attached to the wall while the other side must have a retractable rail. This changing table should also allow motorised height adjustment.
Its maximum working load-bearing capacity should be at least 180 kg or heavier. A changing table must also be placed well out of any designated maneuvering space within the change facility.
A dispenser for sanitary wipes and a shelf must also be placed near the changing table for convenience.
To make it easier to move a person with a disability to any spot in the adult change facility, a hoist that covers the entire room must be installed. It must have a minimum working load of 180 kg with a maximum lifting height of 2100 mm. This hoist will allow carers to easily move wheelchair-bound individuals from their wheelchair or the toilet to a changing table with ease.
Fixtures and fittings
Mirrors installed inside an adult change facility must be vertical and are at least 600 mm wide. The washbasin mirror’s bottom edge must be placed at a minimum of 900 mm above the finished floor level while the top edge must be at least 1850 mm above the finished floor level.
If there is a second mirror to be installed apart from the mirror at the washbasin, the same measurements should be followed except for its bottom edge which should now be at least 600 mm above the finished floor level.
b) Towel and soap dispensers and hand dryers
These dispensers and dryers must be operable using one hand alone. These fittings must also be placed anywhere between 900 mm and 1100 mm above the finished floor level and not closer than 500mm to an internal corner
c) Sanitary Bins
A disposal bin must be placed next to a toilet pan and another bin for adult pads must be placed in a corner next to the changing table. These locations allow for easy access next to key areas.
Clothing hooks must be placed within 1200 mm and 1350 mm above the finished floor level while sling hooks must be fixed at a 1500 mm height above the finished floor level.
e) Washbasin and tap
Washbasins must be fixed between 800 mm and 830 mm above the floor while ensuring water supply pipes are insulated and placed in a spot that will not pose a hazard to any user. Water taps must be operable with a single lever or sensors for ease of use. Heated water must be available, and temperature-controlled according to existing regulations.
f) Changing rails
To provide support to a person with a disability that affects his or her balance, changing rails must be installed. Changing rails must be installed as two horizontal and parallel rails fixed to a wall, not less than 800 mm long, each with a diameter between 30 and 40 mm.
The lower rail must be placed between 800 mm and 810 mm above the floor and an upper rail fixed between 1000 mm and 1010 mm above the floor.
The NCC 2019 recommends this symbol to be placed outside with the words “Accessible Adult Change Facility”. The sign must also have Braille and tactile elements.