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Designing toilets and change rooms

Toilets and change rooms need to be easy for everyone to use, including people with disability. The design should work for small children, older students and adults, who all have different needs and abilities. We should make sure toilets and change rooms are designed to give people easy access, privacy, dignity, safety and convenience.

How it can help

Different kinds of design features can assist people who need help to use the toilet or change room. It will make it easier for people to go to the toilet or get changed on their own or with minimal assistance.

What it is

The size of the area and location of fittings are the most important design features. You need to make sure everyone can:

  • move around
  • get help if they need it
  • use the toilet and hand basin.

Have extra space in the toilets. This will allow for:

  •  two staff members, to help or supervise a child or student with their toileting and changing
  • extra equipment, for example, change tables, showers and lifting hoists. 

What to avoid

When designing toilets, avoid:

  • toilet paper that can’t be reached from the toilet
  • swing doors that clash with other doors
  • making spaces that don’t have enough room to help children.

Don’t create work health and safety hazards like:

  • doors that are hard to open
  • benches positioned awkwardly
  • sinks that are out of reach for people who use wheelchairs.

Design features

General toilet design

  • Accessible toilets can be set up and built to suit either left-hand or right hand transfer. There should be signage to explain this.
  • People who can walk but need support will be helped by hand rails on either side of the toilet.
  • Extra handrails can help people move around the space with minimal assistance. For example, handrails near the sink.

Air-conditioning

  • Good air-conditioning and ventilation is important for the comfort of children, students and staff. This is because extra time might be needed for children and students with disability who need help with their toileting.

Change tables

  • There should be adjustable steps up to age-appropriate and adjustable change tables.

Clearance and ease of access

  • Leg clearance to access sinks and taps and lever style taps or automatic sensor taps and soap dispensers will help smaller children and people who have difficulties with dexterity or mobility.
  • Things like the basin, sanitary facilities and bins shouldn’t get in the way of people moving around or their ability to transfer from either side of the toilet.
  • Large changing beds and equipment should be away from walls. This allows staff to move around on each side of the bed and help with toileting or changing.

Location

  • Accessible toilets should be close to all classrooms. There should be an entry from the inside and outside of the building.
  • A two-way bathroom will avoid congestion in and out of toilets.

Signs

  • Signage should be tactile, with braille and the international symbol for access displayed.

Wheelchairs

The Building Code and Access to Premises Standards have specific requirements for toilets for people who use wheelchairs:

  • There must be a unisex toilet that is designed for people who use wheelchairs.
  • The toilet should be accessible to other people with disability, and their carers.
  • Male and female toilets should have a cubicle with a raised height pan, and handrails on both sides.
  • For areas with children, cubicles should be smaller.

Details of these requirements are in the design for access and mobility standards.

People with severe disability

In places where there are people with severe disability who need more support, a Changing Places toilet might be needed. This is a toilet space with:

  • more room
  • a different design that allows carers to access both sides of the toilet
  • an adult-sized change table
  • a hoist.

Details of Changing Places facilities are in the Changing Places information guide and technical standard (PDF)

Contact

Ministerial Advisory Committee: Children and Students with Disability

Phone: (08) 8226 3632
Email: educationminadv [at] sa.gov.au