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Toilet facilities for ambulant disabled people, also known as accessible toilets, are designed to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities who can walk but may require additional support or accommodations.

An ambulant toilet design is meant for people with ambulant disabilities. They typically need aiding instruments and specific support while using the toilet but don’t require extra space. These facilities are ideal for individuals who don’t use wheelchairs but have a problem, such as:

  • Sensory loss
  • Arthritis
  • Difficulty walking
  • Moving by using a walking frame, crutches, or cane

1) WC Compartments for ambulant disabled people

  • These compartments meet the needs of ambulant disabled people who require support as shown in the figure below.
  • This type of compartment is not for the majority of people who use wheelchairs.
  • When located in a single-sex washroom, hand washing facilities will be available communally.
  • Where this is a standalone facility, hand washing facilities shall be provided either in a space adjacent to the WC compartment or in a compartment suitably enlarged to accommodate a wash hand basin.

i) Requirements of ambulant disabled toilet room design

  1. It shall have a clear manoeuvring space of minimum 900 mm × 900 mm in front of the toilet.
  2. It shall be equipped with a door complying with Toilet or Sanitary Room Doors (given below) and opening outwards.
  3. Water-closet shall comply with Water-Closet (given below).
  4. Grab rails complying with Grab Bars (given below), horizontal and vertical shall be provided on both sides of toilet.
  5. It shall have other toilet accessories and fittings complying with Other Toilet Accessories and Fittings (given below).
  6. It shall have independent water supply beside water-closet, preferably a hand held toilet spray and floor  drain, where necessary (see Water Supply (given below)).

2) accessible toilet room design complying with…

i) Toilet or Sanitary Room Doors

  • The toilet door shall either be an outward opening door or two-way opening door or a sliding type and shall provide an unobstructed and clear opening width of at least 900 mm; it shall be easy to open and close.
  • There should be no openings under or above the door that compromises on privacy.
  • Doors should be positioned so as not to constitute a hazard.
  • The toilet door shall be provided with a horizontal pull-bar, at least 600 mm long, on the inside of the door, located so that it is 130 mm from the hinged side of the door and at a height of 900 mm to 1000 mm.
  • A horizontal pull handle on the inside of the outward opening doors shall be provided at a height of 700 mm above the floor.
  • The door shall be capable of being locked from the inside by a device that is operable by one hand, activated by a force not more than 22 N and which does not require fine finger control, tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist.

ii) Water-Closet

Water-closet shall comply with the following requirements

  1. It shall be so located that the distance between centreline of the water-closet to the adjacent wall in case of corner toilets (Type B) be between 450 mm and 480 mm. The minimum distance of a corner toilet from the edge of the WC seat to the adjacent wall should be 250 mm. In case of Type A toilet, the distance from the edge of the WC seat to the adjacent wall shall be 900 mm, minimum on both sides to allow ease of transfer.
  2. The top of the water-closet shall be between 450 mm and 480 mm from the floor.
  3. The minimum distance from the front edge of the water-closet to the rear wall should be between 650 mm and 800 mm.
  4. There shall be an adequate clear floor space of at least 1300 mm depth and 900 mm width, both in front and on the transfer side, adjacent to the water-closet.
  5. There shall be a suitable back support to reduce the chance of imbalance or injury caused by leaning against exposed valves or pipes. The distance from the seat to the backrest should range between 500 mm and 550 mm.
  6. The water-closet shall preferably be of wall- hung or corbel type as it provides additional space at the toe level.
  7. Where water cistern is used, the cover shall be securely attached, and the flush control shall either be lever type or automatic and located on the transfer side of the water-closet. The flush control shall not be located more than 1000 mm from the floor.
  8. Toilets for children should have a distance from the centre line to the adjacent wall between 305 mm and 380 mm and the water-closet height shall be between 205 mm and 380 mm.

iii) Grab Bars

  • On both sides of a toilet, a grab bar (whether drop-down or fixed to the wall) shall be provided at a distance between 300 mm and 350 mm from the centre line of the toilet.
  • On the sides where a lateral transfer is possible, a foldable grab bar (drop-down support bar) shall be provided at a height of 200 mm to 300 mm above the water-closet.
  • The length of the foldable grab bar should overlap the front edge of the water-closet in between 100 mm and 250 mm.
  • The positioning of a foldable grab bar should allow access from a wheelchair when folded up.
  • Where a wall is beside the toilet, a horizontal grab bar shall be provided at a height of 200 mm to 300 mm above the water-closet, and a vertical grab bar shall exceed from the horizontal grab bar to a height of 1500-1700 mm above floor level.
  • The grab bar shall extend a distance of minimum 150 mm to the front edge of the water-closet.
  • Alternatively, one L-shape grab bar, 600 mm long horizontal and 700-900 mm long vertical shall be mounted on the side wall closest to the water-closet, as illustrated in Figure below.
  • The horizontal grab bar shall be uninterrupted for its full length.
  • The positioning of accessories such as hand towel, soap, waste bin, etc, should not hamper the use of the grab bar.
  • The grab bar height for toilets for children should be between 510 mm and 635 mm.

iv) Other Toilet Accessories and Fittings

  • All other fittings, for example the water tank, hand dryer, towel, soap dispensers, waste bins, hand-held shower, etc, should be set at a height between 800mm and 1100mm from the floor as shown in this figure below.
  • Coat hooks should be set at different heights, 900mm to 1100mm, and additionally at least one hook at 1400 mm.
  • Accessories shall be placed in close proximity to the basin, to avoid a person with wet hands wheeling a chair.
  • Dispensers for toilet paper shall be reachable from the water-closet, either under the grab bar or on the sidewall of a corner toilet at a height between 600 mm and 700 mm from the floor as shown in this figure above.
  • Light switches should be fixed inside all accessible toilet cubicles, or the lighting should automatically switch on when someone enters the room. Timed light switches should not be installed or used.
  • Needle boxes to safely dispose of needles (for example from diabetes patients) should be provided.
  • If a sanitary bin is supplied, it should be reachable from the water-closet. Sanitary bins with non-touch opening devices are preferred.
  • Non-touch soap dispensers are preferred.

v) Water Supply

  • An independent water supply (hand-held shower) shall be provided next to the toilet.
  • An alternative such as a combination bidet and rear side pan/built-in bidet can be installed.

vi) Urinals

  • Wheelchair users may be able to pull themselves to a standing position to use a urinal, or they may be able to use a urinal from their wheelchair.
  • Ambulant persons with disabilities, for example crutch users, may need support in front of urinals. Bowl urinals are preferable to slab urinals for the benefit of visually impaired.
  • When wall hung urinals are fitted in the washroom, it is recommended that at least one of these have its rim set at a height of 380 mm for wheelchair users and at least one has its rim set at a height of 500 mm for standing users/ambulant disabled.
  • When installed, both should be equipped with a vertical grab rail.
  • Urinals shall be minimum 360mm deep measured from the outer face of the urinal rim to the back of the fixture.
  • The lower urinal position as shown in Figure below is also beneficial to a person of lower stature.
  • Where an accessible urinal is provided, the accessible approach to the same shall be ensured.
  • This wall hung urinal should be set clear above the floor level, without any raised access platform and with a clear floor area in front of the urinal of at least 760mm wide and 1220 mm deep to allow forward approach for ambulant disabled and minimum of 900 mm × 1350 mm for wheelchair users to use the urinals as shown in this figure below.
  • Urinals should contrast visually with the wall to which they are attached.

vii) Alarm

  • An assistance alarm, which can be reached from changing or shower seats, from the WC and by a person lying on the floor, shall be provided in all accessible toilets and accessible sanitary rooms.
  • This alarm should be connected to an emergency help point, or where a member of staff can assist.
  • Visual and audible feedback should be provided to indicate that, when the alarm has been operated, the emergency assistance call has been acknowledged and action has been taken.
  • It should take the form of a pull cord, coloured red, with two red bangles of 50 mm diameter, one set at a height between 800mm and 1100mm and the other set at 100mm above floor level.
  • A reset control shall be provided for use if the alarm is activated by mistake.
  • It shall be reachable from a wheelchair and, where relevant, from the WC, the tip- up seat in a shower or changing facility, or the bed in an accessible bedroom.
  • The reset control shall be easy to operate and located with its bottom edge between 800mm and 1100mm above floor level.
  • For a corner toilet room, the reset button should be above the fixed horizontal grab rail beside the toilet paper holder.
  • The marking of the reset control shall be both visible and tactile.

viii) Emergency Warning Alarm

  • A visual emergency alarm shall be provided to alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing in the event of an emergency.

By providing these accommodations, accessible toilets can help improve the quality of life for ambulant disabled people and ensure that they have safe and dignified access to toilets when they are out in public.

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