What is the Changing Places Consultation? & How can you be heard?
What is the Changing Places Consultation? & How can you be heard? We break down the complexities and share how to have your say!
About the Consultation:
On 24th December 2018, the Government announced the Changing Places Consultation – an intention to consult on how they can increase the provision of Changing Places toilet facilities in specific new, large buildings commonly used by the public, including a potential change to the Building Regulations.
The Government’s manifesto set out that where you live, shop, go out, travel or park your car should not be determined by your disability. Increasing the provision of Changing Places toilets aims to go some way towards fulfilling this commitment.
There are over 1,300 Changing Places toilets across the UK, up from just 140 in 2007. Although the increase in numbers and action by forward-looking building owners is to be welcomed, provision is still haphazard, and the government understands the need to go further.
The consultation seeks views on options to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets.
Changes to come:
Building Regulations have already set out minimum standards for accessible toilets in new public buildings. This includes standards for unisex wheelchair-accessible toilets with a corner WC even in small buildings and additional provision in larger buildings.
Much of the existing regulations suggest “reasonable provision” but authorities can decide that it is not reasonable if needed. So what are they looking to change?
The Government wish to introduce a mandatory requirement for Changing Places toilets in large buildings commonly used by the public or where a large building is undergoing a material alteration, extension or change of use.
Standard Doc M toilets would still be the provision for smaller buildings.
The proposed types of large buildings are:
A shopping centre of 30,000m² or more;
A single retail premises with a gross floor area of 2,500m²
Service areas on motorways
Major transport termini
A place of entertainment including stadia and auditoria, theme parks or places of assembly with a capacity of 2,000 persons or more;
Cultural centres, including museums, concert halls, art galleries and faith centres
A cinema complex/multi-plex of 5 or more screens or a seating capacity of 350 or more;
A theatre with a seating capacity of 500 or more;
An educational establishment providing community facilities;
A public library over 3000m2;
Hospitals and primary care centres;
Sport and leisure buildings over 5000m2, including large hotels over 100 room capacity.
Questions needing answers:
The Consultation starts with the obvious, do you support the campaign and do you want it to be mandatory. But the key guidance sought by the Government is if there are any other proposed ideas on how to achieve a mandatory Changing Places toilet, if you agree with their proposition(s) and if you have any feedback equipment required.
The other area the Government is seeking consultation on is size. They are looking to make 12m2 the mandatory size for all new builds as per the previous recommendation but also look to put in place a larger minimum size for Changing Places toilets installed into existing buildings. Currently, any existing building looking to install a Changing Places will be registered if the facility is 7m2 and larger. The Government is proposing a change of this minimum to 9m2, ensuring a large enough area for a turning circle and space for carers.
Finally, the government seek consultation on the costs of Changing Places toilets followed by your thoughts on their ‘Equality Impact Assessment’.
Ensuring you are heard:
The consultation will close on 21 July 2019. Responses to this consultation will be analysed over the summer and a Government response will follow.
You may respond by completing an online survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ChangingPlacesToilets
Alternatively, you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to: ChangingPlaces@communities.gov.uk
If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to:
Changing Places Consultation, 2 SW, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF
When you reply, it would be useful if you confirm whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include:
– your name;
– your position (if applicable);
– the name of organisation (if applicable);
– an address (including post code);
– an email address; and
– a contact telephone number
The effect of the Consultation:
Changing Places toilets give severely disabled people and their families the opportunity to visit public places which they otherwise would not be able to and can, therefore, make a huge difference to their quality of life. It is estimated that at least 250,000 people in the UK need Changing Places toilets in order to have their toileting needs to be met in a safe, dignified and humane way.
Making these facilities mandatory will ensure steady change for the UK, setting itself apart from the rest of the world and leading the way in accessibility.
It will ensure thousands of people can access provisions never before accessible to them.
It will ensure thousands of people will be able to leave the house knowing there will be facilities available to them that are suitable for their needs.
Most importantly, it will reassure thousands of people that they are a valued part of British Society and we care that they are looked after.