Meeting your obligations under the Disability Access Laws can be difficult. With so many complex and wide-reaching laws, non-compliance is not an option. When renovating, building, or restoring a toilet or bathroom, it’s important to make sure you’re ticking all the right boxes. It’s important to consider the following obligations early – as they’ll directly affect the designing, planning, and quoting process.
Where do these rules apply?
Depending on what class of building you’re designing or renovating, different requirements will apply. Disabled toilet Australian standards apply to all classes, except the following:
- Class 1a buildings (private/standalone buildings).
- The internal parts of a Class 2 buildings like private dwellings in an apartment block).
- A new, or new part of a Class 10 building (uninhabitable structures like private sheds or garages), or an affected part of a Class 10 building if it is associated with sole occupancy dwelling or a class 4 dwelling like a single apartment in a commercial office building.
The chances are unless you’re building or renovating a private home, that the codes will apply. You’ll also want to consider the intended use of the building and how many occupants will likely be using the facilities.
Do you know your Disability Access Code building obligations? Find out more here.
Toilet: key dimensions and measurements
Ensuring the right dimensions are met will mean all the difference for someone with mobility issues. Essentially the disabled toilet Australian standards specify that a:
- Minimum circulation spaces of at least 900mm x 900mm on either side of the toilet door.
- Minimum 900 to 920mm width inside the cubicle.
- Doorway with at least 700mm width.
- Minimum 900mm distance between the edge of the door when it’s closest to the edge of the toilet pan.
- Toilet must be of the ‘peninsula’ kind and sit at 460-480mm above the ground.
Washbasin, accessories, and grab-rails
When renovating a toilet or bathroom, it’s important to consider the entire layout – including all necessary accessories such as a washbasin, tap, grab-rails, and toilet roll holder. Make sure you consider these key obligations outlined in Section F3.5:
- Provide an accessible washbasin that does not infringe on the turning circle.
- Ensure the rim of the washbasin is between 800mm and 830mm above the finished floor level.
- Exposed heated water supply pipes must be insulated or located so as not to pose a hazard.
- Water supply pipes or drainage pipes must not encroach on the space under the basin.
- Accessible toilet roll holder.
- Two grab-rails on either side of the toilet that can withstand a force of 1100N applied at any position.
- The washbasin must have an integrated shelf not less than 300mm long.
- Water taps must have a single lever flick-mixer handle or a sensor plate.
- Where lever handles are provided, they must be installed with a clear space of not less than 50mm between the tap and any adjacent surface.
Australian standards disabled bathroom and change rooms
If you’re renovating an adult change room, watch out for key obligations such as the provision of a changing table, hoist, changing rails, mirror, automated sliding entrance door hoist instructions.
Here are some key general requirements:
- All the changing equipment is located in the same accessible room.
- If the disabled change-room/toilet is unisex then it must be accessible without having to cross through an area reserved for one sex.
- Ground surfaces must have a slip resistance classification of no less than R10 or P2 as per AS 4586.
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Change-rooms fitted with a hoist must ensure it’s an ‘XY’ or gantry system. It’s also important to adhere to specific regulations about placement. For example:
- The hoist must provide coverage for the entire room, and have a maximum safe working load of not less than 180kg.
- Be capable of sustaining a load 1.5 times the rated load and lift to a minimum height of 2,100mm.
Ensuring you’ve got the correct mirror placement will mean people with mobility issues can easily use the facilities without hindrance. The disabled toilet Australian standards specify that a vertical mirror must be provided at the washbasin, with a reflective surface that is:
- Not less than 600mm wide; and a bottom edge that is not more than 900mm above finished floor level;
- Has a top edge not less than 1,850mm above the finished floor level.
Change table and rails
If you’re renovating an adult changing room, the table must be permanently installed but allow for mechanised height adjustment between 450mm and 900mm above the floor. Dimensions should be no less than: 700mm wide and 1800mm long with a minimum safe load of 180kg.
Having all the interior obligations met isn’t enough if your bathroom isn’t properly signed. Ensure the proper sign is visible and in the case of a change room the words “Accessible Adult Change Facility” must be clearly posted and also available in Braille. Ensuring access to and from your new toilet facility is also a must.