One type of toilet doesn’t work for everyone and people with physical disabilities will need to use handicap toilets in order to avoid potential accidents. These special toilets are different than the normal ones in multiple ways, and they offer disabled individuals the possibility to maneuver a wheelchair and various bathroom accessories with minimal effort.
That is why we can say that one of the most important characteristics of accessible toilets is to accommodate a wheelchair. Also, the toilet should not be too high and it must have enough vertical clearance.To see which are the main features of a handicap toilet, in this article, we will try to explain some of the them.
Requirements must be met
In order for a handicap toilet to be safe and efficient for those who decide to use it, it must meet certain requirements. Even the smallest details can make a great deal of difference, and no matter how insignificant they might seem, they can pose major discomfort or even danger to a disabled person.
And when we are talking about handicap toilets, we shouldn’t only take into account those people who use a wheelchair. These types of toilets are essential for the good health of many individuals who suffer from temporary or permanent disabilities. The Building Regulations and BS8300 contain all the guidelines for these toilets and they need to be followed exactly.
If you want to understand a little better why some characteristics are absolutely mandatory, you can put yourself in the position of a disabled person. Only then will you realize how dangerous it can be if these toilets are not properly designed. The basin, for example, should be nearby the WC, because many people prefer to wash their hands before putting their clothes back on.
Also, the flush handle needs to be on the side nearest the transfer space, and it should be on the open side of the basin. When these characteristics are met, it will be easy for disabled individuals to flush using only one hand, an elbow, or any other part of their bodies. Moreover, the toilet paper should be replaced with toilet tissues.
As we have mentioned earlier, some individuals can only use one hand, and it is easy to imagine how difficult it can be to try to tear off pieces of paper of a toilet roll. With the tissues, things are much simpler, if they are fitted in the correct position, of course.
Disabled toilet dimensions
The mandatory minimum cubicle dimensions for a disabled person are at least 2200 mm in length and 1500 mm in width. This means that they can be larger than that, and if they are more spacious, disabled people will enjoy greater comfort – especially those who use a wheelchair because they will enjoy a larger turning circle.
A lot of space is not enough for a disabled individual to be safe and comfortable as there are key fixtures and amenities that must be correctly located, too. The doors need to be wide enough to accommodate all types of wheelchairs, and the door handles need to be within easy reach and located not more than 48 inches from the floor.
But what is the size of a disabled toilet? The minimum height can vary between 440 mm up to 500 mm, but most disabled toilets are installed at 450 mm. When these dimensions were standardized, the normal height of an adult was taken into account. Experts calculated so that the toilet is not too low to create discomfort when getting on or off.
The soap dispenser must be placed at a specific height, too, in order to make everyone’s life much easier. That is why it must be positioned not higher than 44 inches above the floor so that people in a wheelchair can have easy access to it. Equally important is for disabled individuals to be able to operate it with only one hand and without using too much force.
Another essential accessory in the bathroom is the towel dispenser and it is mandatory to be positioned at a proper height so that it doesn’t create difficulties for people who sit in a wheelchair. The recommended height is not more the 48 inches from the floor, experts finding this height appropriate for most disabled people.
Types of handicap toilets
There are many types of handicap toilets and we will try to say a few things about some of them in order to help you find out which one is more suitable for your needs.
The wall hung toilet bowl with concealed tanks is perfect for small bathrooms. It has proved to help people gain as much as 18 inches of precious clear floor space.
We know how important it is for a person in a wheelchair to have enough space to be able to maneuver it easier. The pedestal toilet with the tank concealed inside the wall is meant for those bathrooms whose walls are not strong enough to support a wall-hung toilet. This type of toilet is also called a “back to wall” toilet because your back rests against the wall, not the tank.
Thanks to the fact that the tank is concealed, you gain about 9 to 12 inches of clear floor space in front of the toilet bowl. Any amount of space that is gained can be extremely helpful for anyone who uses a wheelchair.
The wall hung toilet bowl and tank is another type of toilet that is ideal for bathrooms that have structural barriers inside the wall.
If your wheelchair doesn’t have elevated foot rests you can gain as much as six inches of clear floor space present underneath the toilet bowl. For large bathrooms, the ADA height toilet can prove to be a very good option. The acronym “ADA” stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act according to which all public handicap toilets must have the toilet seat higher than average.
The main reason is to accommodate most types of wheelchairs and to make the transfer from wheelchair to toilet, and the way around, much easier. Another popular type of handicap toilet that we want to mention is the motorized adjustable height toilet. This one allows users to adjust the height with the push of a button.