place Map Find a toilet



Radar key

A scheme operates across the UK where locked public toilets can be accessed using a RADAR key. These are available from RADAR, local authorities and disability organisations. The keys cost around £3.50 and are only available to registered disabled people. Visit the RADAR website.

Changing benches

Height adjustable changing bench

This is a flat plinth used for changing pads/adjust clothing. It can be raised to a safe working height for carers or lowered for side transfers from wheelchairs for children. It is usually supplied with side safety rail and some can also be used for showering. They can be wall mounted or free standing, and can be operated either electrically or manually.


Ceiling track hoist

This electric equipment is used to lift people. It is permanently fixed to the ceiling of a particular room/space.

Gantry hoist

This is a static piece of equipment used to lift people. It is attached to the floor, and has an ‘A’ frame and a motor. It is often a short-term or temporary solution.

Mobile hoist

This is a hoist to lift people. It has castors and can be used in different rooms/spaces. It is not suitable for moving people over long distances. The hoist can move manually or it can be powered by electricity.

X/Y ceiling track hoist

This is an electric hoist to lift people. It is permanently fixed to the ceiling and allows a person to be lifted or transferred to/from any area within the room. The hoist motor moves across both the X and Y axis so that it covers the whole room and provides access to all the facilities – for example, the toilet, the changing bench and the wheelchair.

Spreader attachment (bar)

A sling can be attached to a spreader bar to allow people to be transferred by hoist. The spreader bar can have 2, 3 or 4 points of attachment. Attachments can be via a click or toiletp system. toiletp systems are compatible with a wider range of different makes of slings.


A sling is the piece of equipment designed to transfer a disabled person using a hoist.The slings must be compatible with the hoist.

Supporting equipment

Drop down grab rails

These are support bars that are attached to the wall and fold back against the wall when they are not being used. They can have an attachment for a toilet roll.

Toilet back rest

This is a padded back rest to provide support. It cannot be used with a seat lid.

Toilet design

Colour contrast

This describes using different colours to draw attention to particular features – for example, painting door frames a darker colour to highlight them and help people locate where the door is.
This is particularly helpful where bathrooms are entirely one colour – for example, white, including sanitary ware.

Height adjustable/moveable sink

This describes a sink that can be raised or lowered to suit the person using it. A sink like this can also move along a wall bracket so that it can be next to the toilet or away from the toilet to allow room for carers.

Peninsular toilet layout

This is where the toilet is not located next to a wall, which means that wheelchair users can transfer from either side of the toilet. It also provides space for carers to stand on either or both sides of the toilet.

Accessible toilets

British standards

Part M
The current requirements in relation to accessible toilets are contained in the Building Regulations, Approved document M – Access to and use of buildings (2004 edition), section 5: sanitary accommodation in buildings other than dwellings. You can download approved document M from the Planning Portal website.

Changing Places toilet

This describes a fully accessible toilet with a height adjustable changing bench, a hoisting system, a peninsular toilet, and enough space for the disabled person, his/her wheelchair and two carers.

Accessible toilets –preferred term
Disabled toilets –related term

These are standard accessible toilets that need to be suitable, not only for disabled people, but for all people who use the building. For disabled people, suitable toilet accommodation may take the form of a specially designed cubicle in separate-sex toilet washrooms, or a self-contained unisex toilet. For wheelchair users in particular, a self-contained unisex toilet is always the preferred option since, if necessary, a partner or carer of a different sex can enter to give assistance. For wheelchair-accessible unisex toilets see below.

Unisex toilet

This is a toilet that can be used by either male or females. For example, a parent can use it with either their son or their daughter. Wheel-chair accessible unisex toilets should always be provided in addition to any wheelchair-accessible accommodation in separate-sex toilet washrooms. Wheelchair-accessible unisex toilets should not be used for baby changing.

Dignity curtain

Related term – modesty curtain, privacy screen
A curtain that can be drawn to allow privacy for the disabled person and carer when either of them use the toilet.


This is the area of medicine that offers treatment for a person who is overweight. Weight limits should be considered when supplying equipment for public toilets.

Colostomy shelf

A shelf that can be used by a person who needs to stand by the toilet to change a colostomy bag.

Manual handling

Related terms – moving and handling; lifting and handling
Any transporting or supporting of a person by hand or bodily force (including lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving).


Movement between a disabled person’s wheelchair and another position or piece of equipment – for example, moving someone on/off the toilet or changing bench.


Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)

Businesses that provide toilet facilities to the general public will meet the definition of a ‘service provider’ under Part III of the DDA. Public toilets, for example are a service within the definition of the Act.
As from October 2004, service providers have to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or find a means of avoiding the physical features of their premises that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to gain access to the service.