The growing need to accommodate more accessible toileting is being recognised at the 2013 Loo of the Year Awards.
Mike Bone, managing director of the Loo of the Year Awards, said: “As the 500th Changing Places toilet is passed, the award scheme, promoted by the British Toilet Association, is recognising the success of the concept of these 'bigger and better' accessible toilets in public places with a dedicated category, sponsored by the UK's leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions, Clos-o-Mat.”
Changing Places toilets offer more space than standard (Document M type) accessible toilets, and incorporate additional equipment, including an adult-sized changing bench, hoist and privacy screen. The concept was developed to resolve the problems faced by people who need the help of at least one carer to use the toilet: conventional accessible toilets do not always have the space or facilities to enable them to 'spend a penny' in an appropriate environment, meaning they either have to curtail a trip, be double-padded, or are unable to go out at all. Under BS8300:2009 and the 2013 Building Regulations, it is now 'advisable' to include such a facility in venues to which the public have access.
As we continue the drive towards an inclusive society, it is vital everyone, regardless of ability, can enjoy life beyond the home. On average we visit the toilet eight times a day! There are 11 million people registered disabled in the UK, a 10% increase in less than a decade, so there is a big and growing need to provide suitable toilets.
The availability, cleanliness and maintenance of publicly accessible toilets, including Changing Places toilets, is crucial in enhancing the attractiveness of public areas. “From shopping centres to visitor attractions and every public environment in between are reporting seeing an increase in visitor numbers, and positive feedback, as a result of having installed a Changing Places toilet, especially when they have further included a Clos-o-Mat 'wash and dry' (automatic) toilet in place of a conventional WC,” said Robin Tuffley, Clos-o-Mat marketing manager. “We are one of the key suppliers and installers of Changing Places toilets, and believe the good ones should be recognised, hence our sponsorship of the 2013 Loo of the Year Award's Changing Places category.”