Changing and shower facilities

Changing and shower facilities provided in public buildings should be accessible and usable.

The range, location and type of facilities that are required will depend upon the type and size of the building and its occupancy levels. These could include family changing areas, and private, unisex and communal changing rooms.

Single sex and unisex facilities should be located together with easy access from circulation routes and to the areas they serve.

Unisex changing and shower facilities provide the maximum of flexibility as a user can be accompanied and assisted by someone of the opposite sex.

Accessible facilities provided in single sex changing and shower areas allow people who are independent or who have a companion of the same sex to change in a communal area.

In swimming pools, poolside showers can be used by swimmers before and after using the pool.

In larger sports facilities, teams of wheelchair users may be anticipated. Changing and shower facilities need to be able to cater for these peak demands.

Accessible showers need to be suitable for wheelchair users. More details can be found in H1 (link to section). Where more than one facility is provided it should be handed (mirrored) to provide for the greatest flexibility of use.

Floor surfaces should be well drained, slip resistant and level.

Floor drains should be positioned where they will not interfere with the manoeuvring of a wheelchair. Wheelchairs need a level surface to manoeuvre and drains require a sloping floor to be efficient.

There should be sufficient floor space available for people to be able to use and position chairs to meet their needs.

Secure and convenient storage is needed for mobility aids, artificial limbs or sports wheelchairs which are generally not collapsible. Separate storage should also be provided for children's buggies and strollers.

For sport related announcements and building evacuation, changing areas need visual and aural communication systems.

Design considerations

  • Provide a range of facilities to meet the needs of all building users.
  • Locate single sex and unisex facilities together.
  • Ensure there is sufficient floor space available for people to be able to use and position chairs to meet their needs.
  • Ensure floor surfaces are well drained, slip resistant and level.
  • In sports buildings ensure changing areas have visual and aural communication systems for sport related announcements and building evacuation.
  • Provide secure and convenient storage for mobility aids, artificial limbs or sports wheelchairs
  • Provide separate storage for children's buggies.
  • Ensure fixtures and fittings installed within sanitary accommodation are accessible, arranged logically on one level and require minimum travel distances to use.

Building Code requirement

Building Code clause G1 Personal hygiene:

G1.3.1 Sanitary fixtures shall be provided in sufficient number and be appropriate for the people who are intended to use them.

G1.3.3 Facilities for personal hygiene shall be provided in convenient locations.

G1.3.4 Personal hygiene facilities provided for people with disabilities shall be accessible.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: