The guides are descriptive, and what we provide is information on access. As a result a listing does NOT necessarily imply that a place is accessible. We do, however, try to highlight how to get around barriers wherever possible. The desciptive approach is based on the fact that people’s abilities are highly variable. The needs and abilities of a disabled walker or an electric chair user and someone in a manual chair with two strong friends are quite different.
In recent years, an increasing number of people are using large heavy electric chairs, and disabled walkers are using electric buggies, which are typically somewhat bigger and less manoeuvrable than manual chairs.
Wheelchair toilets/adapted toilets criteria
This is the basis for the distinction we make between wheelchair toilets, which are ones where the door opens out and has a width of 70 cm or more, and there is a minimum of 70 cm of side transfer space alongside the toilet. Toilets which do not quite meet these criteria are called adapted toilets, and we include an appropriate description and the measurements. We understand, of course, that there are many other important factors, including the height of the toilet pan; the provision of washbasins, mirror and toilet paper dispenser – and the space for a bin for sanitary towel disposal. To include all this detail would result in a publication the size of the Encylopaedic Britannica, which is why we have concentrated on the essentials of cubical size.
A good design specification covering toilets for disabled people is illustrated in the following diagrams:
There are some very basic considerations, illustrated in the diagrams:
- a disabled person’s preference is to have facilities like door levers, switches and controls at a height broadly between 50 and 100cm;
- the maximum width of a manual wheelchair is just over 70cm;
- disabled walkers and elderly people who may need to lean on someone’s arm need wider doors and corridors for getting around comfortably;
- to enable a chair user to turn around a clear circle of 160cm is required.
While chair users are not the only people to be considered, if the facilities are suitable for them, implying step free access, then they will be suitable for most disabled walkers, and many people with visual impairment as well. The provision of appropriate grab bars is important.