Building Design

Getting HC toilets out of the gang toilets

For years, I have watched people with disabilities or assisting others in the restroom struggle with the floor layout of gang toilet style restrooms in public spaces. Architects love to put the handicap toilet at the far end of the toilets because it is easy to make a large stall. And on paper plans, this looks great. But in reality, there are people in the circulation space of the restroom, moving about, not paying any attention to the needs of somebody using a walker or a wheelchair thus impeding their ability to maneuver through the circulation space.

When there is a line of women waiting to use the toilets, it is a complete disaster. The entry to the restroom gets clogged up by the line of women waiting to use the facility, making access and egress impossible. Women with small children and babies are challenged as well.

For years, I have designed restrooms with layouts that put the handicap stalls near the door/entry to the toilet room, only to get forced to change it to the far end by my employer or the client. I have no final say. This is an inadequate solution because it doesn’t solve the entry jam up problem.

In recent years, this has begun to change. Now many cities and building codes are changing to require single-hole (room with one toilet) toilets to be provided for everybody, which has made it possible to design and force employers and clients to remove the handicap toilet stall from the gang toilets and put it off the main hall or space. This allows anybody needing extra space (handicap in wheel chair or using a walker), or somebody assisting an elderly person or a small child, or needing to change a baby’s diaper – to have easy straight-forward access to a toilet.

1 Comment

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    January 10, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Very good post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..

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