Discussions about building codes tend to focus on the public facing aspects of the building.
Do you have wide enough doors to accommodate those in wheel chairs? Do you have handicap ramps and enough handicap parking spaces? Do the windows and lights meet modern energy efficiency mandates? However, there is a room that is equally obligated to meet accessibility, environmental and general design requirements – the bathroom. Here is an overview of the toilet regulations for your business.
The average toilet cubicle’s dimensions
The average bathroom stall must have a door that’s at least 650 mm wide. Furthermore, it must be far enough from the toilet to give them at least 420 mm of maneuvering space. The standard cubicle width is 800 mm. The doors on these cubicles are supposed to swing inward. These are the minimum standards set out in Building Regulations Part M.
The doors themselves must have indicator bolts that can be operated by someone with a closed fist. This is a common issue for those with mobility issues, and it is the same reason the standard sink knob is being replaced by levers and sensors. However, this universal design element is mandated for all toilet stalls because there are people who can walk unassisted who struggle to grab and squeeze a knob.
The more accessible stalls
Ambulant cubicles are designed for use by a single disabled occupant. They must have grab bars on either side of the toilet. The doors need to be a little wider at 680 millimeters. The stall is required to have at least 800 mm of distance between surfaces like walls of the surrounding cubicles. The standard distance is 810 mm. Doors on these cubicles are supposed to swing outward so that the area is accessible to someone in a wheelchair. However, the building code gives you far more freedom in selecting the shape, color and style of door. If you have only a single water closet, it must meet the ambulant design standard. If the bathroom is unisex, then at least one toilet stall must meet these rules. The minimum standards for these toilet stalls are spelled out in the Equality Act 2010 and Part M of the Building Regulations.
The enlarged cubicle
An enlarged cubicle is the largest mandated layout. These toilet cubicles are intended to provide enough space for someone who requires the help of another to use the toilet. The door itself must be at least 700 mm wide. The stall itself must be another 460 mm wider, with a minimum width of 1200 mm between surfaces. Like the ambulant stall, grab bars need to be within reach of the toilet. The minimum acceptable stall length is 1500 mm or 1.5 meters, since you need to provide maneuvering room for two people. This is another case where the doors are supposed to swing out, not in, to maximize maneuvering space. These toilets are often installed in family bathrooms as well as public bathrooms that must accommodate everyone. If there are more than four toilets in the bathroom, at least one must be an enlarged cubicle toilet.