Accessible adult change facilities mandated in new Australian buildings

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Australia is the first country in the world to mandate a new class of toilets in the Australian building codes. As of 1 May 2019, accessible adult change facilities will be required for some buildings in the National Construction Code 2019, writes LEE WILSON.

Accessible adult change facilities are based on the Changing Places design, which is a vital facility design for people with complex disability and toiletry needs.

The Changing Places campaign started in the UK in 2006, and there are now 1300 Changing Places facilities across the UK. Awareness is still growing, with more facilities opening around the world. Ireland, Germany, Canada and Sweden have all joined the campaign and in Australia, the first Changing Places toilet opened in Ringwood, Victoria in 2014.

Since then, 88 more Changing Places toilet facilities have opened around Australia.

What comprises a Changing Places facility?

Changing Places facilities may appear similar to standard accessible toilets, but they’re very different. Accessible toilets provide facilities for independent, unassisted use, whereas a Changing Places restroom is an assisted toilet facility catering to a different user group. These facilities have additional space for an assistant on both sides of a peninsula-style toilet pan.

Importantly, they have additional equipment, including an adult sized height-adjustable changing table, a ceiling mounted hoist system, drop-down grab rails, a privacy screen and an incontinence pad disposal bin.

It is important to note that there is a direct relationship between Changing Places and accessible adult change facilities, with the intention of building a Changing Places facility to meet the requirements of the National Construction Code 2019.

New buildings of certain building classifications, size and design occupancy now require an accessible adult change facility. These include shopping centres, sports venues, buildings with large swimming pools, museums, theatres, art galleries and airport terminals.

For more information on accessible adult change facilities, please refer to NCC Volume One, Clause F2.9.

Lee Wilson is an accredited access consultant with Access Central and a volunteer subject matter expert with the Australian Building Codes Board. Lee has worked all over Australia, often consulting on complex building projects requiring a performance-based approach to compliance.

Image: 123rf’s ojogabonitoo ©

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