Bathroom without barriers – a guide for designers

This guide is designed for all the people involved in the process of creating bathrooms for people with disabilities. Any advice and guidance contained in this publication is addressed to designers and assemblers. We hope that thanks to both the planning and implementation of innovative solutions for bathrooms for people of limited mobility will become much easier and more efficient. We want a bathroom without barriers to become a standard in public institutions or wherever people with disabilities operate.

We have created a guide based on the current legal regulations and best practices in this area. BSD (www bsd.sklep.pl) as a leading producer of grab rails and bathroom accessories adapted to people with disabilities would like to support the designers and installers and make its own part in the process of overcoming architectural barriers in the environment around us.

Bathroom without barriers-General characteristics

The bathroom is a space, which should used in a free way by each user, including a person with mobility problems. Bathroom without barriers take all its users needs into account. When planning a room adapted to the needs of a disabled or elderly person, it is important to implement a proper project, as well as use relevant equipment.

The design, construction or reconstruction of the sanitary-hygienic rooms for disabled should be based on the provisions of the Polish construction law, the regulation of the Minister of infrastructure of 12 April 2002 on technical specifications, which should correspond to the buildings and their location (Journal of Laws no. 75, item. 690 from 2002, as amended.), as well as international and EU law.

The basic principles that we should follow while designing and arranging bathrooms available for people with disabilities, whether in public or private space, are:

    1. to provide space for maneuvers with dimensions of at least 150 x 150 cm,
    2. to use doors without thresholds in this room and a route towards it
    3. to install at least one toilet bowl and sink, as well as one shower, if due to use of a building such devices are provided,
    4. to install grab rails to make the use of sanitary hygienic devices easier.

It is worth remembering that, in public buildings, at least one room on each floor space shall comply with these rules. In case of private areas projects, a bathroom without barriers is, in this context, an individual concept, based on the degree of user’s disability, degree of mobility limitations,manouvre area, or the wheelchair dimensions.

Minimum given size of an outer edge of a bathroom is about 200 x 240 cm, however, these values are very general, as a user may be limited with a structure of a building (windows, alcoves, bearing walls) while readapting the room . Therefore, if the space is not sufficient , it must be made larger, for example, combining a bathroom and a toilet. An essential condition for a disabled person bathroom design, besides the ergonomics and functionality, is taking safety rules into account.
The current technical capabilities, a wide range of specialized products and possible funding for the reduction of architectural barriers from various funds allow for a bathroom design, which practically fully empowers a person with a disability from the help of others.