Have you been assigned a task of designing an Accessible Bathroom? This blog is a good starting point to help you keep in mind the 7 factors you should consider before you start on your next bathroom project design. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
A paramount aspect of an accessible bathroom is ample space. Keep in mind that you’ll need to allow for wheelchair manoeuvrability, ensuring there is sufficient room for users to comfortably navigate and transfer between fixtures. This includes clear floor space around the toilet, vanity, and shower areas.
Flooring and Surface Materials
The choice of flooring and surface materials is crucial for accessibility. Slip-resistant surfaces are mandated by the New Zealand Building Code to mitigate the risk of accidents, especially in wet areas like bathrooms. Smooth, continuous flooring materials facilitate ease of movement for individuals using mobility aids.
The toilet area is a critical component of an accessible bathroom. The New Zealand Building Code requires that toilets are of an appropriate height and design to accommodate individuals with diverse needs. Grab rails, strategically positioned to provide support and stability, must also be integrated.
Accessible Basins and Vanities
An accessible bathroom should include a basin or vanity with an appropriate height and clear knee space beneath to accommodate wheelchair users.
Showers in accessible bathrooms must be designed to allow easy entry and exit. Level entry or low-threshold showers are recommended to eliminate tripping hazards. Remember to also specify for the provision of grab rails.
Lighting and Visual Contrast
Adequate lighting is essential in an accessible bathroom to ensure visibility and safety for all users. Keep in mind the use of contrasting colours to aid individuals with visual impairments in identifying fixtures and features.
Accessible Fixtures and Fittings
All fixtures and fittings, including taps, handles, and switches, should be designed to be easily operable for individuals with varying levels of dexterity. Lever-style handles, and touch-sensitive fixtures are examples of accessible design choices.
Designing an accessible bathroom is a crucial step towards creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for all individuals. By prioritizing elements such as spatial considerations, appropriate fixtures, slip-resistant surfaces, and adequate lighting, architects can ensure that their designs meet the highest standards of accessibility. Together, we can contribute to a more inclusive built environment that benefits everyone in our community.