New Changing Places Design Specifications 2020

  • March 30, 2020
  • Bruce Bromley

Changing Places Design Specification 2020It has been a very rewarding twelve months sharing my knowledge by assisting in the development of two technical standards. The first was the NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation Design Standard where I was a co-author. The second was these  Changing Places design specifications 2020 where I was the lead author.

Changing Places is very close to my heart having worked with Jack Mulholland, Helen Fearn-Wannan and Francesca Davenport since 2009 when the Australian version of the standard was developed. Our hard work paid off when it was included within the 2019 version of the Building Code of Australia.

What are Changing Places

Changing Places provide suitable facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. A Changing Places facility allows people with high support needs to fully participate in the community. This may include people with an acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, and motor neurone disease, as well as many other people with a disability.

Changing Places facilities provide:

  • a height-adjustable adult-sized change table
  • a constant-charging ceiling track hoist system
  • a centrally-located peninsula toilet
  • circulation spaces as defined in the design specifications
  • an automatic door with a clear opening of 950 mm at a minimum (1100 mm for beach and lake locations)
  • a privacy screen.

Changing Places 2020 Design Specification

What is new in the 2020 Version of the Changing Places Design Specifications

Revisions since June 2017:

A few requirements have been added to the Changing Places designs based on key learnings from Changing Places currently in operation. These changes will apply after 1st January 2020. This change will not affect facilities which are accredited or have building approval.


  • An additional layout shown as 1c layout has been prepared that shows a side entrance door and repositioning of the privacy screen
  • Room sizes are now provided as nominal dimensions to assist in the preliminary phase of design but are not binding, which allows designers to prepare layouts for any room shape or size as long as the required minimum circulation spaces are achieved.


  • A shelf has been added beside the toilet pan for personal products.
  • Shower type curtains shall not be used as a privacy screen.
  • Privacy screen height to be no less than 1400mm in height and length no less than 1750mm.
  • The distance between the front of the pan to the privacy screen has been changed to 900mm.
  • Toilet roll holders are now required to be provided on both drop-down grabrails.
  • Flat elliptical grabrails can be used.
  • Dropdown grabrails must remain locked in the upright position when raised.


  • The dimension of 675mm between the tap location and sidewall has been included.
  • Mirror heights have been amended.
  • Basin minimum shelf size of 300 x 400mm has been added.

Change Table

  • Operable heights of minimum 400-900mm have been included.
  • Paper change table cover and dispenser have been deleted and replaced with sanitising wipes dispenser.
  • A minimum length of 1800mm has been included.
  • A minimum circulation space of 1100mm has been included in front of the change table.
  • The shelf size to the change table has been nominated. 
  • The extent of lighting above the change table has been nominated.
  • Performance details for change tables have been added 


  • Shower seats to have front legs that extend to the floor.
  • Shower curtains to be provided as two separate curtains with retractable or swing away curtain rods. 

Ceiling Hoist

  • Clearance to ceiling hoist transverse rail has been added and minimum ceiling height has been deleted.
  • Performance details for hoists have been added

Circulation spaces

  • Fixtures allowed to intrude into circulation spaces have been defined


  • The dwell time of 9 seconds for doors to remain open has been included.
  • Door controls for standalone Changing Places facilities shall be recessed into walls to prevent vandalism.
  • Door control signage has been updated.

Clothes and Sling Hooks

  • Dimensions of clothes and sling hooks sizes have been included.


  • Exclusion zones for lighting over the change table have been identified.


  • Requirements for operating instructions have been updated.
  • A sign design has been prepared in accordance with NCC 2019 D3.6(g)(ii) that requires signage to be provided at accessible unisex sanitary facilities, other than one which incorporates an accessible adult change facility, to direct a person to the location of the nearest accessible adult change facility within that building. 
  • Typical change table operating instructions have been provided.
  • Typical hoist operating instructions have been provided.


  • have been provided as additional commentary to assist designers. Information within the notes is not mandatory.

New design requirements

A number of requirements have been added to the Changing Places design options 2020, which are based on key learnings from the Changing Places currently in operation.

These changes will apply from 1 April 2020. This change will not affect facilities which are accredited (as Changing Places) or have obtained building approval prior to 1 April 2020.

Key Changing Places design requirements featured in the latest designs include:

  • An additional layout ‘Design 1C: Without shower alternative door location’, which shows a side entrance door and repositioning of the privacy screen.
  • Room sizes are now provided as nominal dimensions, to assist in the preliminary phase of design. These sizes are not binding, allowing designers to prepare layouts for any room shape or size – as long as the required minimum circulation spaces are achieved.

Changing Places Consulting Services

Equal Access Disability Access Consultants has extensive experience in the design and development of Changing Places around Australia and have two registered assessors on staff.

  • Bruce Bromley | Changing Places Assessor CP001
  • Alison Shiels | Changing Places Assessor CP004

For more details on our consulting services and to see what Changing Places we have consulted on please select the following link  Changing Places Consulting Services

Acknowledging Jack Mulholland

Jack Mulholland Changing Places‘Changing Places’ or Accessible Adult Change Facilities would not have been developed in Australia if it were not for one of natures true gentlemen Jack Mulholland from Maroondah City Council. A wonderful, caring and passionate person who back in 2009 thought it was time people with disability, especially those with high support needs should not have to worry about going to the toilet when out.

He attracted the services of three accredited access consultants including myself who shared his passion to start developing a technical standard for ‘Changing Places’ in Australia. After 10 years, multiple standards updates and 132 ‘Changing Places’ later (as of March 2020), there has been a groundswell of acceptance for the need for ‘Changing Places’ culminating with them now being included within the Building Code of Australia 2019.

Thank you, Jack, for your commitment and passion to ‘Changing Places’, it has been a genuine pleasure working with you along the journey.

Bruce Bromley