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Why Accessible Washrooms Should Never Be An Afterthought

Accessibility should always be a key factor to consider when designing washrooms for businesses or public spaces, yet unfortunately, it can often be overlooked or seen as just a box to tick.

This standard of thinking is no longer acceptable, and a well-designed washroom should not only offer disabled access that is compliant with the law but that also consider comfort, functionality, and style. It’s important to ensure equal access to a safe and comfortable experience for all users and remove barriers for those with visible and non-visible disabilities.

In this blog post, we'll discuss why accessibility should never be an afterthought when the goal is to design a successful washroom.

The Importance of Inclusive Design

Inclusive design is the process of designing products, services and spaces that are accessible and usable by people of all abilities. It's important because it ensures that everyone has equal access, regardless of any disabilities they may have.

This is especially important in corporate spaces like offices. If disabled-access washrooms are not properly designed, people with disabilities may not be able to use them, which can be both inconvenient and embarrassing, and may even prevent people from being able to work at a company.

By making sure that all facilities are accessible, we can help to remove the physical and social barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in society.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 is a landmark piece of legislation that sets out to protect individuals from discrimination in various aspects of life, including access to public spaces such as washrooms. Specifically, it requires that businesses and public spaces take reasonable steps to remove any physical barriers that prevent disabled individuals from accessing their facilities.

When it comes to washroom design, failure to meet these requirements could result in businesses facing legal consequences for non-compliance.

But it's not just about following the law. Ensuring all individuals have equal access to washroom facilities is simply the right thing to do. Everyone deserves the ability to use public spaces with dignity and comfort, regardless of their abilities. Ensuring all spaces within a business are thoughtfully designed communicates a message of inclusivity and trustworthiness which can leave a lasting positive impression.

Good Design Serves the User

Accessibility isn't just about having wider doors, lower sinks and grab rails. It's about considering the needs of every person who may use the washroom.

The social model of disability is a theoretical framework that seeks to explain the experience of disability through social and cultural constructs rather than purely medical ones. It asserts that disability is not simply an inherent characteristic of an individual, but rather a result of the barriers and obstacles that society creates for them.

Applying the social model of disability to washroom design in public spaces means looking beyond simply accommodating individual impairments and instead creating an environment that removes barriers to access for all individuals.

Taking these factors into account, to achieve truly inclusive washrooms, consideration of varied needs should be intrinsic to the design process from start to finish. This ensures that the space can truly answer the needs of those with both visible and non-visible disabilities.

For true accessibility, consider the Movana cubicle, which is the only full-height cubicle door that opens outwards, using a credit card or coin. Should someone have a medical emergency inside a Movana cubicle, they can be safely accessed without breaking down the door.

It is clear to see why disabled access should never be an afterthought when designing washrooms. Good design removes barriers and serves the user, which means considering the varying needs of all people. By understanding this, you'll be able to create a washroom that is welcoming, functional, beautiful and reflects your brand positively.

If you're interested in creating inclusive disabled-access washrooms, book a consultation today:

We’re available via email at or give us a call at 020 3657 7615.

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