New Regulations for Disabled Bathrooms

It is extremely important for full disabled bathroom facilities to be available for whoever may need them.

There are many different resources widely available for all different manner of needs and requirements.Disabled Bathrooms must include grab rails, raised toilet seats and shower chairs just to name a few.

Changes to the Building Regulations have been extensive and now cover access for everyone, including-

  • Wheelchair users,
  • Ambulant disabled people
  • People of either sex with babies and small children
  • People with luggage
  • People with learning difficulties
  • People with visual or hearing impairments
  • People who lack tactile sensitivity and are likely to scald themselves on hot surfaces.

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The new standard is required for all new buildings and major refurbishments, including extensions to buildings, or when an entire washroom or bathroom is refitted with new disability products. It also takes into consideration the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which states that “all suppliers of goods and services must remove all physical barriers where it is deemed reasonable to do so”, and this is probably why the new standard is so exorbitant.

Here are a few examples of how this construes into actual installations:Disabled bathrooms in hotels, the bedrooms that have wheelchair access must show a half and half split between bathrooms with showers and bathrooms with baths and for both rooms there are new layout requirements, including a special bath that must be 480mm high with access for a mobile hoist.Unisex disability toilet facilities In Sports Clubs, for example, a unisex toilet facility providing wheelchair access must be sited at every location within a building where there are washroom facilities; and where there is more than one unisex toilet facility within a building, they must be handed LH/RH to provide choices of transfer side.

It is no longer acceptable to just have disabled toilet facilities with a male or female bathroom. You must also have a separate unisex WC facility. Why unisex? The reasoning behind it is that if a couple, man and wife, use a sports club together and one of them is wheelchair-bound, in a unisex facility the other can go into the room with them to help if needed. The latest developments in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the new Part M of the Building Regulations have made the provision of disabled bathroom products even more important.Disabled public conveniences, for standard type cubicles, there must be a minimum of 450mm diameter maneuvering space within the cubicle. All doors must either open outwards or be adapted to be conveniently lifted off from the front in case someone has collapsed against the door. Also, all indicator bolts and doors must be easily operated with a closed fist.

All Disabled bathrooms, basin and bath taps (not showers) must be capable of being operated using a closed fist, this means single lever, lever action, push button, or electronic taps must be used.Non-residential disabled bathrooms, all basin taps, bath taps, showers, and kitchen taps must be thermostatically protected with the hot water discharging at a maximum temperature of 41°C.Disabled Bathrooms for people with visual disabilities, all types of commercial bathroom and washroom sanitary-ware, walls, and floors must all contrast with each other. This means all white in a bathroom will no longer be acceptable. The standard requires a contrast value of 30% difference in the luminance of the surfaces.Male / female disabled bathrooms, there must be at least one ambulant cubicle. This cubicle needs to be 800mm wide with a clearance of 750mm from the front edge of the WC to the front of the cubicle. There must also be two horizontal grab rails and at least one vertical rail. The WC must have a seat height of 480mm from the floor although the projection of the WC is not mentioned.

The cubicle door must open outwards.For people with small children, carrying baggage (especially useful in major stores, airports, and stations) and dogs, or ambulant disabled people, in any building where there are four or more cubicles, within a male or female washroom, there must also be an enlarged cubicle. The enlarged cubicle must be 1.20m wide, have one horizontal and one vertical rail set around the WC, and a shelf and folding baby changing table (unless there is a separate baby changing facility close to the washroom). The regulation says that wheelchair accessible toilets must not be used for baby changing areas.Disabled Bathrooms In offices or changing rooms, for example, where showers are provided for staff or guests, at least one should be a suitable for wheelchair users. Leisure centres with wheelchair access and disabled facilities should ensure that they provide adequate locker room for crutches and other aids to be stored. Also, they must provide sufficient space in disabled showers for wheelchair access.

Essentially Disabled Bathrooms must have

  • Changes to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the new Part M of the Building Regulation have meant that providing people with special needs bathrooms is now more complex.
  • The new legislation covers all new buildings and major refurbishments, including extensions to buildings, or where an entire washroom or bathroom is refitted with new disability products.
  • The requirements include wheelchair access, taps that can be operated with a closed fist, and taps that have a maximum temperature of 41°C.
  • Lastly, for people who are visually impaired, all commercial bathrooms and washrooms sanitary-ware, walls, and floors must be distinctly diverse from each other.

Guide for Choosing Your Perfect Shower

The first main choice to make is whether you are going to look at an electric shower, or a shower which is connected to your central heating boiler. One type of shower is not “better” than the other, and your choice might be limited depending on what type of heating system you have, the capacity of your combi boiler or the mains water pressure coming into your house. If you’re not sure about whether your combi boiler would be able to cope with the addition of another shower into the system, get advice from a plumber.

Electric showers are stand alone in that they heat the water themselves, so just need to be connected to a cold water supply. That also means that they can be fitted in homes which don’t have central heating, and they will still allow you to have a hot shower if the boiler isn’t working. Electric showers can be more complicated to fit though, and you’ll need a properly qualified electrician to run a cable from your shower to the consumer box, and fit the shower in your bathroom.

So start by thinking about what heating set up you have at present, whether your boiler would cope with an additional shower, and the costs associated with getting the different sorts of showers fitted.

Electric or Mains Fed?

Adding an extra shower to your home won’t just ease the pressure during the morning bathroom rush, it will probably increase the value of your home too.

Modern homes are built with at least two bathrooms or shower rooms for every three bedrooms, and there’s a lot to be said for never having to wait to use the loo or have a shower. So where do you begin on your shower purchasing journey?

Guide to Choosing your Perfect Kitchen Sink

When it comes to choosing what type of kitchen sink will sit in your kitchen, the first thing you need to consider is the durability. A sink isn’t something you’re going to replacing every year, it needs to last for years to come. Kitchen sinks tend to get heavy use, and with all those bashes and knocks that can happen when you’re washing the dishes, you’re going to want one that can stand up to such use.

Below we’ve listed the types and styles of kitchen sinks that you’ll find here at Heat & Plumb. We’ve listed the pros and cons for most of them too, so you can really weigh up what type of kitchen sink fits your personal situation.

Ceramic Kitchen Sinks

Ceramic kitchen sinks are what you would have traditionally found in the British country home. That ‘farmhouse’ feeling is now catching on again in a big way, with ceramic sink sales becoming more popular year-on-year. When you run your fingers across the silky surface of ceramic, you’ll realise why this type of sink is one of the best in terms of quality and overall attractiveness.

But don’t feel like the traditional nature of this sink means you must design a traditional kitchen around it, as this design will work just as well in contemporary designed kitchens.When it comes to installing, it couldn’t be easier. Regular maintenance is a breeze too, as you only have to remember to regularly give it a quick wipe down in order to keep it stain-free and looking its best. In terms of size, they can be just as big as other sinks, although remember that a larger size means a higher cost; especially as these sinks tend to handcrafted.

Composite Kitchen Sinks

Made up of a combination of different materials, composite kitchen sinks are designed to have the appearance of a granite sink without the hefty price tag. These sinks are normally manufactured by mixing together granite stone dust with acrylic resins, which are then moulded into sink form.

They’re an easy and affordable way to get that expensive look without tricky installations and a hefty whack to your wallet.With hundreds of different styles and finishes available, you can get the exact look you desire with little effort and cost.

Designer Kitchen Sinks

If you want your kitchen sink to be bang on trend or just want to have something a little more unique, designer kitchen sinks are the best of the best. They’re ideal for kitchen spaces where an ultra-modern look is the aim, and they come in a wide range of stylish finishes and types of material. But remember that that designer look and build usually carries a higher price-tag, although that striking impact is definitely worth it!

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks

The stainless steel kitchen sink is the most popular type of kitchen sink in the UK, and there’s good reason for that. This popularity is due to the immense durability of stainless steel, making it far more scratch-resistant than other types of material used in sink construction. It’s easy to clean and maintain them too, ensuring that the surface will always remain as dazzling as the day it was installed. Finally, stainless steel sinks are versatile.

They’ll match a range of styles – from contemporary to traditional – and you’ll find a wide range of taps and other appliances that will match the look.So, in terms of practicality, a stainless steel sink is an excellent choice for the kitchen. But what about design?Thankfully there’s a multitude of options, from sinks that will fit the smallest kitchen to 2 bowl giants that increase productivity in even the busiest kitchens. Other options include various finishes and drainer options, while prices start so low that you’ll get superb value for money.

Belfast Kitchen Sinks

If your tastes tend to fall on the more traditional side, Belfast kitchen sinks may be the option for you. Also known as butler sinks, they got this name because the butler would be the one using it in a posh traditional home. Stylistically they can also be classed as ‘farmhouse’ style sinks. From a practical point of view, Belfast kitchen sinks are deeper than your average sink, giving you plenty of space in which to wash those larger kitchen utensils. Traditionally it’s depth meant it was easier to wash clothes in – or even a baby!

While the Belfast sink is generally one bowl, there are two bowl versions available too if you need that extra washing space. The makeup of the sink tends to be made of fireclay or glazed white porcelain, both of which give the sink a silky-smooth and quality feel. Prices start around £100.While the Belfast sink is generally one bowl, there are two bowl versions available too if you need that extra washing space. The makeup of the sink tends to be made of fireclay or glazed white porcelain, both of which give the sink a silky-smooth and quality feel. Prices start around £100.The pros and cons of Belfast kitchen sinks are very similar to ceramic kitchen sinks, but we’ll go through them again with a couple of additions.

Under mount Kitchen Sinks

Under mount kitchen sinks are exactly what it says on the tin in that they mount underneath the kitchen worktop. This gives more space around the sink as it’s a rimless, minimalist design. The lip is underneath the solid surface of the counter top, so it’s a straight shot into the sink. Also, the lack of a lip means it can be easily cleaned, as you can just brush food scraps straight into the sink bowl with no rim to collect dirt.

Installation can be a bit trickier than other sinks as it needs to be fully sealed and supported to hold the weight of a sink full of water and dirty dishes. Due to this, it’s highly recommended that you get a professional to complete the installation. It’s also advised that it be fitted with solid surface counter tops, such as granite, marble or concrete. Laminate or tile counters aren’t a good idea as the seams and grouting are weak points that won’t support the weight of the under mount sink.

Round Kitchen Sinks

Round kitchen sinks don’t seem to be a common site, but if you’re after something a little different then read on. They don’t take up as much space as other sinks, so if that’s an issue for your busy kitchen then maybe this isn’t the choice for you.

For smaller kitchens where space is at a premium, a round sink is the ideal size.With a round kitchen sink, you’ve got the choice of either having it fitted to the counter top or mounted under the surface.

Online or Offline

Again, there is no right or wrong answer about whether it is best to buy your new shower in a traditional high street store, or online. There’s a general perception that buying online is cheaper, but that’s not always the case when you add in delivery charges. Make sure you consider all of the options before making your decision. Most large websites have great customer service lines and online chat facilities so you can make sure you get all of your queries answered before hitting the “buy” button.

Accessories and Additional Features

If you’re in the market for a very basic shower, then thinking about extra features might not apply. Most of us like a little touch of luxury though, and there are lots of optional extras which can transform your average shower into something really special.

Some items are entirely practical, such as a pump which will increase the flow of the water from the shower head or a shower seat which will allow someone with mobility issues to shower in comfort. (We have a buying guide for that too).

Other accessories like televisions, fancy lighting or remote controls are becoming more commonplace, but are still going to add considerably to the overall budget and the complication of finding someone who knows what they are doing to fit it for you.

Cost – Purchase and Fitting

Setting a budget for any project is wise, and there isn’t much to choose between the costs of buying an electric shower and buying a plumbed in model. Large DIY superstores will sell both types of showers starting at around £65 to £75 for the most basic models. If you’re in the market for an all singing, all dancing shower cabinet with several shower jets, lighting and even a built in MP3 player, you could easily spend £1000.

Take a look around various websites to get an idea of prices before you set your heart on a particular type of shower. Fitting costs will bump up the overall total considerably. Expect to pay around £250 for a qualified electrician to fit your electric shower and provide the necessary cabling.

A plumbed in shower may be cheaper to fit, but this will depend on whether the necessary pipework is present already and if not, how complex it will be to fit. There are lots of variables in all of this, so make sure you get at least three plumbers in to quote for the work so you can be sure you’re getting a good value price.

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