Changing Places to achieve inclusive status

The target of becoming ‘the most accessible city in Europe’ is set in Manchester with the opening of the local government’s first Changing Places toilet.

The new public toilet facility, in Manchester’s Town Hall Complex in Lloyd St, enables disabled people and their carers to be able to enjoy the city for as long as they like, without worrying about access to appropriate toilets.

With equipment supplied by Manchester-based Clos-o-Mat, the new purpose-built Changing Places public toilet is the first of its kind planned by Manchester City Council. Steve Dingley from sub-contractor Gariff Construction, commented, “Clos-o-Mat is a very professional company which helped ensure a smooth site installation.”

Manchester, which is aiming to become the most accessible city in Europe, undertook considerable research and consultation at the design stage, in the belief that a Changing Places toilet would make a huge difference to anyone who needed help to use the toilet, and who would otherwise have to either curtail their trip, or not visit the city centre at all. A further one is already scheduled for installation on the ground floor for the Town Hall complex when it opens in 2014.

The Changing Places toilet is larger than the usual wheelchair accessible (disabled) toilet, to accommodate the user and their carer. The WC is placed to allow transfer from either side, or for a carer to be alongside. There is also a height adjustable changing bench and ceiling hoist, supplied by Clos-o-Mat, plus a shower, and washbasin. Users gain access to the Changing Places toilet on request, with the Suite team opening it as required, then cleaning it after use to ensure it is pristine for the next visitors.

Under the 2013 Building Regulations, it is ‘desirable’ to include a hygiene room facility such as a Changing Places toilet in public buildings. The Changing Places toilet is complimented in the Suite by a block of men’s toilets, ladies’ toilets- each of which also include a larger cubicle for ambulant disabled people, separate baby change, and two conventional large ordinary wheelchair accessible (Document M type) toilets offering transfer from either side.

Clos-o-Mat has a proven track record on the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities. Its ability to deliver design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment, including the Clos-o-Mat wash and dry (automatic) toilet, means it is uniquely positioned to simplify the whole process for forward-thinking environments to which the public have access.