Image showing accessible bathroom and sanitaryware



Choosing the right sanitary ware is important in ensuring optimum access and ease of use for all users. It is important to consider type, design and location of the sanitary ware that considers different user needs. Where possible and appropriate we should promote the use of contactless taps, soap dispensers and toilet flush.

Useful references for sanitaryware include:

Locate toilets where they are most needed, in areas that can be easily reached and close to public spaces. Ensure toilets are located where they can be accessed privately, discreetly and with dignity and privacy.

Recommended standards:

  • Locate toilet in public area to ensure users have access without entering a clinical area, unless the toilets are for this specific area.
  • Avoid toilets on busy corridors as they can pose privacy & dignity issues.
  • Ensure doors open in a direction that obscures the view into the toilet and from any adjacent seating areas or circulation routes.
  • Ensure sanitary facilities in inpatient areas are accessible and can be used by all users, mindful of those with physical or sensory disabilities with or without assistance.
  • When considering the location of an ensuite bathroom in single or multi-bed bays, refer to detail in Health Building Note 04-01 (Adult In-patient Facilities) for further information. Also refer to for additional information found in
  • Procure 22 Repeatable Rooms which highlights sightline to WC pan etc.
  • Toilets should be freely accessible and provided along routes that are short in length and obstacle free.

Many falls happen around toilet/bathroom areas especially when moving onto and off the toilet. It’s critical that enough space is provided for all people to move freely within the space. Large cubicle benefits many people including those with young children or with buggies, as well as wheelchair users and those with guide dogs.

Recommended standards:

  • Wheelchair-accessible facilities must have handrails and grabrails in accordance with the Building Regulations. Grabrails provide support and stability when moving horizontally, from the sitting to the standing position. Grabrails should have a firm grip in both wet and dry conditions.
  • Provide sufficient space around all sanitaryware including toilets, basins, baths and showers for wheelchair access and assistance by others where necessary. Health Building Note 00-03: Clinical and clinical support spaces provides ergonomic data for a wide range of sanitaryware and spaces.
  • The principle communal entrance should have a level landing at least 1500mm x 1500mm outside the entrance. Within the entrance and with the door closed, there should be a clear turning circle of 1500mm diameter.
  • Ensure walking areas provide a clear zone of 600mm depth x 800mm width in front of appliances. This should be increased to 800mm x 1000mm in front of basins to provide more space for washing.
  • If a mobile hoist is used, more space is required. Discuss the exact equipment requirements with users and refer also to Health Building Note 00-03: Clinical and clinical support spaces.
  • Position wash hand basins in wheelchair-accessible WCs in easy reach of the toilet. The recommended setting out of all equipment in a compliant wheelchair-accessible WC can be found in Part M of the Building Regulations: Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M
  • Where there is more than one wheelchair-accessible toilet include a choice of layouts to suit left-hand and right-hand transfer.
  • When considering design, think about the use of ‘All Gender’ WC’s and appropriate signage.

The position and layout of bathrooms, showers and toilets is critical to ensure accessibility for all users. If not positioned correctly it can make the area inaccessible to some users.

The guidance below is based on Health Building Note 00-03: Clinical and clinical support spaces rather than Part M of the Building Regulations and BS 8300 due to the type of healthcare facilities. Approach should be considered in the wider context of overall building need to ensure a consistent approach throughout.

Recommended standards:

  • Position the toilet with its centreline 400mm from the nearest side of the wall. The height of the toilet should be 475-480mm above the floor for all users. Note for children, height of toilet should be 420mm.
  • Toilet pans should project 520-555mm from the rear wall for people who can walk and 700mm for wheelchair users. The extra distance eases the transfer from a wheelchair. (Part M and BS8300 recommends 750mm).
  • Independent wheelchair and assisted ambulant toilets need a backrest for additional comfort, it should not project more than 50mm behind the toilet seat hinge otherwise it could obstruct raising the seat
  • For standing users set basin heights at 780-800mm above the floor and 680-700mm for wheelchair users. Basins should not be deeper than 250mm to allow for sufficient legroom. Ensure pipes don’t block access.
  • Basins for users who can walk should have fixtures and fitting located within a 750mm zone of the basin. This includes hand dryers and soap and paper towel dispensers.
  • Shower heads should have an adjustable height within the range of 900-1900mm. This is an HBN standard which is greater than recommendations in both Part M and BS8300 as it allows for users who can shower standing, seated or by sitting on the floor.
  • Consider adjustable-height wash-hand basins so the sanitary space is accessible for all types of users.
  • Seek specialist guidance to help decide what type of sanitaryware is needed for a given location. There is a wide range of sanitaryware in a large range of sizes and configurations.

Visual contrast between surfaces and features in a building is important to help people with visual difficulties to assess and navigate their environment safely and identify features and potential obstacles. As toilets are often needed urgently, make toilets easy to find by clearly contrasting them with their surroundings.

Recommended standards:

  • Ensure all sanitaryware, which is usually white, contrasts sufficiently with the background wall and floor finishes so it’s easily seen, and key components are easily identified. Furniture in accessible WC’s needs to be dark blue in line with HTM guidance.
  • Make sure there is sufficient colour contrast between the floor and the toilet seat so it can be easily seen to help with patients’ independence and dignity.
  • Toilets and sanitaryware should be easily recognisable especially for those with visual and cognitive challenges.
  • To meet recommendations relating to colour contrast, it is important to consider the relative Light Reflectance Values (LRV) of the adjacent surface colours. A difference in LRV of 30 points is considered sufficient contrast.

It is important to ensure bathroom, shower and toilet fixtures and fittings are easy to use, secure, safe and cannot cause harm when used. Fixtures need to be secured well with clear instruction on use, particularly when using hot and cold water.

Recommended standards:

  • Ensure the hot water temperature is controlled at the point of use to prevent scalding. Consult a specialist engineer and appropriate guidance on a suitable temperature range for hot water.
  • Lever taps are easier to use for manual use. It should be noted that automated taps can be challenging to use for the visually impaired and those with cognitive challenges.
  • Where sensor taps are installed make sure they are of high quality, easy to use and fully maintained. Provide clear instructions on how to use them and ensure they meet infection control criteria. Sensors should be located where they cannot be inadvertently operated.
  • Make sure that lever and mixer taps have enough space to be gripped, operated and controlled by people who have limited dexterity.
  • Ensure the way taps are operated in kept consistent throughout the building.
  • Position a single mixer tap on the side of the basin nearest the toilet.
  • Use universally recognised colour codes on taps and other water controls to clearly show hot (red) and cold (blue) water.
  • Sanitaryware including taps should not provide a ligature point, especially in buildings where there are mental health services.
  • For safety reasons, box in all pipework around sanitary fittings with an access hatch provided for maintenance.
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