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What is an Accessible Adult Change Facility? BCA 2019

  • February 15, 2019
  • Bruce Bromley

A major inclusion into the ‘Building Code of Australia’ is the provision of Accessible Adult Change Facilities, but it has generated a number of  questions such as “what are they?”, “whom are they provided for?” or “why are they required?” due to the lack of industry knowledge. The benefits such facilities provide to the community is significant and hopefully, this blog will go a long way in explaining to everyone that consults to the built environment, why.

What is an Accessible Adult Change Facility?

An Accessible Adult Change Facility is a toilet and change facility that caters for users with high support needs and their carers where they require additional space, assistance and specialised equipment to allow them to use toilets safely and comfortably.

Accessible adult change facilities were developed and established in Australia back in 2009 originally as ‘Changing Places’. These were based on a model developed in the UK and have now been included in the 2019 Building Code of Australia to provide suitable facilities for people with high support needs who cannot use standard accessible toilets. We have also prepared a blog on the difference between an ‘Accessible Adult Change Facility’ vs ‘Changing Places’

NCC 2019 Guide to BCA Volume One
Specification F2.9 Accessible adult change facilities

Specification F2.9 is based on the Changing Places Information Guide and Technical Standard (June 2017 edition), copies of which can be obtained from the Changing Places website at: https://changingplaces.org.au/.
(Note: Changing Places is not in any way affiliated with, or endorsed by, the ABCB.)

Could you change your child on the floor of a filthy toilet?

An Accessible adult change facilities allow people to enjoy the day to day activities many of us take for granted’ and is considered best practice under the DDA. This may include people with an acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, motor neurone disease and their carers, as well as many other people with a disability.

child with disability that needs an accessible adult change facilit

People with high support needs and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury, often need extra facilities to allow them to use the toilets comfortably. ‘Accessible Adult Change Facilities’ and ‘Changing Places’ toilets are different to standard disabled/ accessible toilets with extra features and more space to meet these needs.

Each facility needs a peninsula toilet suite with drop down grabrails, an adult size changing table, hand basin, a ceiling hoist, sufficient circulation space and a safe and clean environment. The current versions of AS1428.1 do not require such adult changing equipment in standard accessible sanitary facilities.

Why Provide a ‘Changing Places’ and not just an ‘Accessible Adult Change Facility’

The provision of any Changing Place facility is considered to be above and beyond the current prescriptive requirement under the Building Code of Australia and include additional features to the ‘deemed to satisfy’ requirements within the BCA. Refer ‘Accessible Adult Change Facility’ vs ‘Changing Places’

The key differences are:

  1. Changing Places requires A wall-mounted privacy screen installed 900mm from the front of the toilet pan to provide dignity for people using the toilet.
  2. For sporting and aquatic centres a shower is recommended.
  3. Changing Places with Accessible Shower

  4. Changing Places requires that all ceiling fitting to be recessed to allow free movement of the hoist and avoid a conflict with the hoist track system.
  5. Changing Places requires a contrast to be provided between the toilet seat and pan ‘or’ floor, not both as required by the BCA
  6. Changing Places requires the backrest to be installed at an angle of 95°and 100° back to be taken from the seat hinge in lieu of the toilet seat.
  7. Changing places requires the integrated shelf within the basin to a 300-400mm length.
  8. The BCA does not mention delivery of the water through a mixing spout. Changing places requires ‘Hot Water’ to be provided, delivered through a mixing spout and controlled with a thermostatic mixing valve.
  9. Changing Places does not specify the long edge of the table to be installed against a wall
  10. Changing Places requires a ‘minimum’ safe working load of 180Kg, the BCA requires a ‘maximum’ load of 180Kg
  11. CP also provides the option of using an MLAK key door operation to reduce the likelihood of vandalism to the equipment. Users with disability can obtain an MLAK Key from Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia https://www.masterlocksmiths.com.au/mlak.php
  12. Changing Places requires a ‘minimum’ safe working load of 180Kg for the hoist and chhange table, the BCA requires a ‘maximum’ load of 180Kg.

It is important to note that ‘Changing Places’ facilities are not required facilities under the ‘deemed-to-satisfy’ provisions of the BCA however ‘Accessible Adult Change Facilities’ now are in certain circumstances as follows.

  • Shopping Centres with a design occupancy of at least 3,500 people, including a minimum of 2 sole occupancy units.
  • Sports Venues & the like where design occupancy numbers are at least 35,000 spectators OR where a swimming pool at least 70m in perimeter is provided and requires an accessible entry/exit under the BCA Part D3.1.
  • Museums, Art Galleries, Theatres & the like having a minimum design occupancy of 1,000 patrons.
  • Passenger use areas in Airports where the Airport accepts domestic and/or international flights, and where the Airport falls under the definition of a public transport service under the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (DSAPT).

Certified ‘Changing Places’ Facilities

But by providing a ‘Changing Places’ that includes some additional requirements to the Accessible Adult Change Facility the already well established network of ‘Changing Places’ will grow providing confidence for people with disability that the facility they will use has been built to teh highest level of compliance and certified by an expert Accredited Disability Access Consultant who understands the intricasys in Changing Places design.

Where Can I Find a ‘Changing Places?

The Changing Places website lists all facilities around Australia and can be found on the Changing Places Website

Why are Accessible Adult Change Facilities important?

Changing Places SignThousands of people with high support needs and multiple learning disabilities cannot use standard accessible toilets. They need support from one or two carers to use the toilet or to have their continence pad changed. Standard accessible toilets do not provide changing benches or hoists. Most are too small to accommodate more than one person and the only option is to change the individual on the toilet floor.

Without Changing Places toilets, the person with disabilities is put at risk, and families are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their daughter or son on a toilet floor. This is dangerous, unhygienic and undignified. It is now accepted and expected that everyone has a right to live in the community, to move around within it and access all its facilities. Government policy promotes the idea of ‘community participation’ and ‘active citizenship’, but for some people with disability, the lack of a fully accessible toilet is denying them this right. This is why Australia needs Changing Places toilets.

Each Accessible Adult Change Facility or Changing Places:

Must include the right equipment including

  • height adjustable adult-sized changing bench
  • a tracking hoist system, or mobile hoist if this is not possible.

Enough space

  • adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers
  • a centrally placed toilet with room either side for the carers
  • a screen or curtain to allow the disabled person and carer some privacy.

A safe and clean environment

  • wide tear off paper roll to cover the bench
  • a large waste bin for disposable pads
  • a non-slip floor.

Where should they be provided?

Changing Places child in a hoist

In addition to what is legislated in the BCA, the ‘Changing Places’ campaign is calling for Changing Places toilets to be installed in all big public places. This includes:

  • city centres
  • shopping centres
  • arts venues
  • hospitals
  • highway service stations
  • libraries and leisure complexes
  • large railway stations
  • airports.

Changing Places toilets shall be provided in addition to standard accessible toilets.

Video about Changing Places Australia

Download CAD, Revit & BIM Drawing Files

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Changing Places Registered Assessor

Equal Access Group have two registered Changing Places assessors who can assist with the development and delivery of ‘Changing Places’.

Bruce Bromley
Registration #CP001

Alison Shiels
Registration #CP004

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 78 ‘Changing Places’ later, 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
15th February 2019