New ‘best practice’ guidelines have been published that, for the first time, specifically address disabled student accommodation.

Simultaneously, Britain’s leading provider of disabled toileting solutions, Closomat, is announcing new developments that enable providers to comply, stylishly, with a unique package from specification, through fitting to future service & maintenance.

The options help enable providers to meet the growing number of disabled students, which now represents almost 10% of the student population in the UK!

BS8300:2018 Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment extends the remit of compliance covered under its predecessor BS8300:2009. The latest version is not specific to new build projects, and applies to all building types that require permanent sleeping accommodation for disabled people.

It also, for the first time, incorporates a specific set of criteria for student accommodation bedrooms. Under the new guidelines, up to 4% of bedrooms should be wheelchair accessible, up to 1% of rooms should include a fixed track hoist system, and up to 5% should be easily adaptable for independent wheelchair use. If only one accessible bedroom is provided, it should include an accessible shower room, with the preferred solution being a level access shower with shower seat if required, and include a WC. The adaptable rooms should have the space and design features to allow for addition of grab rails, shower seats, with ceiling height to allow for a track hoist (2.4m).

Closomat offers a range of contemporary ceiling track hoist systems that can be tailored to individual needs, enabling movement and transfer within a room, through to an en-suite, or beyond.

In the bathroom, it can provide a stylish wall track system, that integrates with a range of fixtures such as grab rails, height-adjustable or fixed washbasins, shower seats, enabling quick and easy adaptation to individual occupant needs.

Its range of wash & dry toilets take accessibility into higher realms of inclusion and intimate hygiene, with contemporary styled floor- standing, wall-mounted and height adjustable variants. Wash and dry toilets have the added benefit of satisfying cultural and religious considerations, regardless of the enhanced hygiene they provide against conventional wiping.

“Accessibility is a growing consideration in building design,” explains Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager. “Disabled student numbers have increased by 56% in less than a decade, so it’s a sector that accommodation providers need to consider, and address.

“As the new British Standard points out, because such accommodation is booked or reserved in advance, there is greater scope for it to be adapted correctly, as required, to suit an individual student. It goes so far as to advise that in effect a ‘show flat/ bedroom’ should be provided on build completion so people can asses how their requirement may be met!”

Closomat’s website is the ‘go to’ resource to help take the first steps towards efficient accessibility provision, including design guidance, white papers, CAD blocks, NBS specification clauses and case studies.

The information represents the combined wealth of knowledge amassed from over 55 years’ helping disabled people optimise their dignity and independence in the bathroom, at home and away.

“An even better experience for our customers” is extending through to the toilets in North Swindon.

The town’s Orbital Shopping Park has benefitted from a £multi-million investment to improve accessibility for all visitors- able and disabled. The ease with which visitors can now get to, and about, the shopping park has been delivered by better pedestrian flow, a new customer service centre, plus more, and new toilets- including a state-of-the-art Changing Places suite.

The Changing Places, supplied and installed by Clos-o-Mat- Britain’s leading provider of ‘away from home’ disabled toilet solutions- enables anyone who needs assistance when toileting to do so with dignity and optimum hygiene. Bigger than conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets, the Changing Places at Orbital also has more equipment, specifically a height-adjustable washbasin, ceiling track X/Y hoist and wall-mounted, height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench.

“When planning the refurbishment, we asked the local community what facilities they would like, and a Changing Places was suggested,” explained Jamie Turner, Centre Manager for Broadgate Estates, which manages the Orbital Shopping Park owned by British Land. “We aim to provide a safe, accessible and enjoyable shopping experience, and accessibility is top of our agenda.”

“People who use facilties such as Changing Places tell us that without them, they simply can’t do things most of us take for granted, like a trip to the shops. The options, without a Changing Places or similar, are to lie a loved one on the floor of a public convenience to change them- with all the associated safety, sanitary considerations that go with that, go home, or not go out at all” added Kelvin Grimes, away from home toileting project manager for Clos-o-Mat.

Clos-o-Mat is Britain’s leading provider of disabled toilet solutions in and out of home, including Changing Places toilets, enabling tens of thousands of people with special needs and disabilities to undertake their personal care with dignity, independence and optimum hygiene.

It is unique in offering, in-house, design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and after-sales service & maintenance, reinforced by a raft of technical support available on its website