What are Changing Places Toilets?
Changing Places facilities are different to standard disabled or accessible toilets. Changing Places facilities provide a larger space and must have a minimum floor area of 12m2 (3m x 4m) with a ceiling height of 2.4m in order to meet the criteria for registration as a Changing Place facility in Ireland. Changing Places include specialist equipment such as a full room coverage ceiling hoist system, a height-adjustable adult sized changing bench, centrally located toilet to allow for assistance or transfer on both sides and a privacy screen. Changing Places facilities are life changing and designed to support the disabled community and provide access to public toilet facilities that meet the more complex needs. Without these types of facilities, carers are forced to change loved ones on the floor or not venture to public places at all due to lack of adequate facilities. For more information on the Changing Places Campaign visit https://changingplaces.ie/
Why do we need Changing Places Toilets in Ireland?
13.5% of the Irish Population has a disability (www.cso.ie) and while many accessible toilets meet their needs there is a large proportion of people and their carers who cannot visit public places due to the lack of suitable toilet facilities. The Changing Places campaign in Ireland is highlighting the need for more of these types of facilities to allow families, friends and carers take part in activities and visit places such as a zoo, libraries, swimming pools, shopping centres and sporting arenas most of us take for granted. At present there are only 19 registered Changing Place facilities in Ireland.
Changing Places Ireland Criteria – Equipment for Accessible Bathrooms
Changing Places must meet a range of criteria in order to qualify for registration. This is achieved through a self-assessment process at www.changingplaces.ie. Registered Changing Places will receive signage for the facility and will be listed on the Changing Places Ireland map. At present there are only eight registered facilities in Ireland. See https://changingplaces.ie/find-changing-places/
- Floor Area must be a minimum of 12m2 (3m x 4m ) with a ceiling height of 2.4m
- Full Room coverage ceiling track hoist system
- Height-Adjustable, Adult Sized Changing Bench
- Centrally located toilet with sufficient space both sides for assistants/ transfer
- Privacy Screen
- Wide Paper Roll
- Large Waste Disposal Bin
Toilet/ Changing facilities which do not meet all the Changing Places Criteria may be listed as Step-Down facilities. See www.changingplaces.ie for details.
Mobile or Modular Changing Places facilities may also be a consideration where internal adaptation may be more difficult. These quick-build modular solutions ensure the optimal space and layout is achieved and can minimise disruption to existing or older buildings. These stand alone facilities are highly visible and are suitable for temporary or long term usage.
Changing Places Facilities – Benefits for All
A Changing Places toilet facility aims to meet the needs of those people in our towns and cities who require extra care and assistance. Providing publicly available Changing Places locations in our museums, universities (Trinity College Dublin is the only university with a registered Changing Places facility), transport hubs & airports (Dublin is the only Irish airport at present with a Changing Place facility), shopping centres, sports arenas and tourist attractions offers a vital-life line to those with disabilities and their carers and families. These crucial facilities offer the opportunity for the disabled community to travel, shop, visit new areas of interest and attend concerts. These facilities can also unlock a new customer base for venues. The Changing Places Campaign in the UK now has over 1,300 registered facilities and is increasing annually. Case Studies of venues where Changing Places facilities have been installed have shown increasing numbers of guests with disabilities with an increase in accompanying revenue.
Public Consultation on Changing Places Toilet Facilities Opened – February 2022
The public consultation on the Review of Building Regulations Part M (Access and Use) to make provision for a changing places toilet in certain buildings opened in Febrruary 2022. The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, TD, invites submissions, observations and comments on a proposed amendment to the Building Regulations Part M (Access and Use) to make provision for a changing places toilet in certain buildings. A changing places toilet offers larger supported facilities that address the needs of people for whom current accessible sanitary accommodation is inadequate. These facilities enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities such as travel, shopping, family days out or attending a sporting event. This is great news for thousands of children and adults with disabilities who are restricted in where they can go and what they can do because they will not find a toilet with the equipment they need. Without Changing Places Toilet Facilities available throughout the country people with disabilities are denied a basic human right and continue to be excluded from everyday life.
New regulations pave way for ‘changing places toilets’ in certain buildings
From Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
- changing places toilets enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities
- up to 80 extra changing places toilets could be provided nationwide each year in buildings such as schools, healthcare facilities, shopping centres and hotels
The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Peter Burke, has signed new regulations that will require a changing places toilet to be included in certain buildings.
A changing places toilet offers larger supported facilities that address the needs of people for whom current accessible sanitary accommodation is inadequate. These facilities enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities such as travel, shopping, family days out or attending a sporting event.
It’s estimated that there are currently only 19 changing places toilets in Ireland. The revised Part M Building Regulation will greatly improve community participation and social inclusion for people with complex care needs. As many as 80 changing places toilets could be provided nationwide each year in buildings or locations such as shopping centres, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels, roadside service stations and heritage sites.
After signing the new regulations, Minister Burke said:
“These revised regulations will greatly enhance the lives of many people with a disability. Changing places toilets are needed to allow equal access to social activity and trips away from home for all citizens, and allow people with disabilities enjoy life in ways that I know many of us take for granted.
“I am delighted to be signing these regulation, making this requirement a reality, and supporting the government’s commitment on advancing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.
“Meaningful engagement with people with lived experience of disability has been central to our approach. Much consideration went into the membership of the working group to ensure that the right people were around the table. The group included those with the correct design proficiency as well as end-users and their carers. We received approximately 650 submissions in response to our public consultation, of which almost 95% originated from individuals on behalf of themselves as service users, their families, carers and friends.”
In response to the introduction of the new regulations Changing Places Ireland said:
“Changing Places Ireland (CPI) has been campaigning for some time to have the Building Regulations changed and today is an historic one as we finally see momentous legislation being passed. CPI representatives, Karen Smith, Aaron Daly and Rhona Dempsey were delighted to be part of the Working Group hosted by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in developing the technical requirements.”
CPI’s Aaron Daly, father of Sophia, aged 16, a wheelchair user and one of many who require the additional features which Changing Places facilities provide said:
“On behalf of Changing Places Ireland we commend the department officials for their Trojan work in coordinating and getting this progressive legislation so promptly over the line."
“These changes will have a huge impact on disabled people and their families and we look forward to Ireland becoming a lot more accessible and inclusive for everyone.”
Welcoming the new regulation Minister of State with responsibility for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, said:
“Research by the National Disability Authority indicates that between 17,100 to 37,700 people including their assistants, will benefit from the provision of a changing places toilet.
“I very much welcome these new regulations, which will enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities such as travel, shopping, family days out or attending a sporting event. People will be able to plan activities with confidence around where such facilities are located and when they are open. Ultimately, it’s another step towards a more open, inclusive society and one which we see more basic barriers broken down.
“The National Disability Authority are due to commence work on the development of Universal Design Guidelines for Changing Places Toilets. These guidelines will support the provisions of the Building Regulations and will provide additional guidance on good practice, management and maintenance issues which are outside the scope of the building regulations.”
Based on analysis of Building Commencement Notices, it is it is estimated that over the next three-year period, this new Regulation will provide at least one changing places toilet in most local authority areas. Additionally, it is believed that placing the provision of such facilities on a statutory basis will encourage other developments to provide a changing places toilet on a voluntary basis.
The new regulations are entitled Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 608 of 2022).
What are the good things about changing the building rules?
Right now, there are no rules to say that certain publicly accessible buildings must have a changing places toilet. Research by the National Disability Authority (NDA) says that between 17 thousand and 38 thousand people might need to use a changing places toilet in Ireland. This does not include people who might support another person. If the rules are changed so that a changing places toilet is needed in some buildings like hospitals, schools, museums and galleries then;
- there could be up to 80 new changing places toilets built
- people who need them will be able to use them and have
- other private building projects might also include a
changing places toilet.
What buildings will changing places toilets be in if the rules change?
It is important to know that changing places toilets can only be in large buildings that are big enough for them to fit correctly.
It also important to know that the number of people that use the building help us to know if it needs a changing places toilet or
not. For each type of building there will be a different minimum size before it must have a changing places toilet in it.
The buildings that changing places toilet may be in are:
- Primary care centres,
- Places where people socialise together like;
- an amusement arcade,
- concert hall,
- public library,
- conference centre,
- leisure or sports centre,
- place ofpublic worship,
- public house,
- Sports pavilion,
- grandstand buildings,
- Roadside service facility that provides food hall / dining
and toilet facilities,
- School (primary, secondary or special schools)
- Third level college, University, or other building for the
provision of education,
- Station or other facility for air, rail, road or sea travel,
- Office- where members of the public can use the toilets,
- Shop, shopping centre or retail park,
- Public toilets near parks and beaches,
- Toilet facilities in zoos, amusement parks or theme parks.
Why choose MMS Medical to install a Changing Places facility?
MMS Medical has over 30 years experience in the survey and installation of assisted bathrooms & toilets, ceiling hoists and changing benches in a wide range of facilities across the country. We provide specialist advice, on-site appraisal, specifications & product recommendations through to full installation of specialist bathing, toileting and patient transfer equipment for architects, builders, developers, local authorities, case managers, facilities managers and property managers. We have carried out installations in schools, colleges, universities, care homes, commercial buildings, sports complexes and private homes. The Changing Places Campaign is aimed at delivering more of these types of facilities in public places.
MMS Medical offers a full turn-key solution for your Changing Place facility providing you with one supplier to meet all your equipment and installation requirements. MMS Medical is one of Ireland’s leading suppliers of mobility products in Ireland and we are well positioned to balance the technical specifications of these facilities with the actual users needs and requirements. Our experienced team have the knowledge and skills to take the project from start to finish. We have a range of support material available to assist you:- a Changing Places Installation Guide, an Architects Guide, Product Specifications, Changing Places Example Designs and Layout Recommendations. To obtain a copy of any of our guides please email us at email@example.com or call 021 461 8000
Contact MMS Medical
If you would like to discuss a Changing Places project or want MMS Medical to carry out an on-site, free of charge appraisal please email us your information at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact us page on this site. Our customer service team is on-hand Monday to Friday to assist with your enquiries on 021 461 8000