Commercial washrooms are an essential component of any business or public space, so they need to be accessible to everyone. Accessible toilets include, but are not limited to, features that assist the blind, features that assist the deaf, and features that assist wheelchair users, as well as facilities that cater to parents such as baby changing tables. At Duraplan we are driven by the goal of producing bathrooms that benefit the whole community, by providing innovative solutions and design features that create welcoming and functional spaces. In this blog we will answer some of the common questions we are asked about designing an accessible commercial bathroom.
1. Why Do Accessible Bathrooms Need So Much Space?
Put simply, accessible bathrooms need enough space for mobility equipment and carers to assist users around your facility. For this reason, AUS/NZ 1428 standards recommend that the entrance be at least 90cm wide, and toilets be at 70cm high, with a clearance of 90cm on either side. This, of course, means that your bathroom needs to be spacious, but in this case, functionality is also beautiful. A large airy bathroom will be appreciated not just by users with special needs but by the whole community. In fact, we believe that usability for all is an important part of design. By integrating accessible features into the bathroom design as a whole, you can accommodate a wide range of ages and abilities and add value to your business as a whole. This is a principle known as “Universal Design” because it caters for the broadest range of users from the outset.
2. How Do I Make My Bathroom Safe for the Visually Impaired?
Visual impairment represents a unique challenge when it comes to bathroom design, however, there are some simple design features that can make the space safer and more usable.
For example, high contrast colours can help the vision impaired navigate a space, while handrails can help guide them around your facility.
Braille signage is another valuable feature that should be included from the outset, as well as non-slip mats to reduce accidental falls.
Furthermore, the tap water temperature should be controlled so that it cannot be made hot enough to scald or burn.
Finally, all bathroom features, from the entry and exit, to the toilet flush buttons, taps and hand dryers, should be easy to find and use. Ideally, the use of sensors will be adopted so that the bathroom is automated.
3. How Do I Make My Bathroom Wheelchair Friendly?
As previously mentioned, your bathroom entrance should be at least 90cm wide, and toilets 70cm high, with a clearance of 90cm on either side within the cubicle, so there is enough space for the user to manoeuvre themselves around.
Additionally, if there are steps (whether to and from your bathroom or within the facility) there should also be ramps. Cubicles must have wide outward swinging doors so that the user can easily enter and close the door behind themselves, as well as handrails and grab bars that are brightly coloured and easy to recognise.
Washbasins will also need to be at an appropriate height for an easily accessible position.
Finally, automated or S-bend entry and exit doors will also assist users use your restroom facility.
4. How Can My Bathroom Support All Members of the Community?
By thinking carefully about the entire community and all the possible users of your restroom, you can develop an accessible bathroom design that is both functional and elegant. At Duraplan we consider all ages, all abilities and all stages of life when drafting your bathroom.
Duraplan NZ are Committed to Accessible Bathroom Design
Partner with us on your next restroom fit out. To learn more, please contact us today. We will be happy to support your project from the design phase through to its complete installation and beyond.