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Designers sometimes struggle with the challenge of creating truly inclusive and accessible washrooms, as they strive to ensure they have accounted for everything needed to make their design compliant.

A question that often arises is whether hand dryers for accessible washrooms are a legal requirement.

At Dolphin Solutions, we have enhanced our expertise through years of experience in supplying Doc M washroom products, reviewing accessible washroom design plans, and providing onsite washroom consultations, allowing us to provide the answers to help our clients.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about accessible hand dryers in wheelchair toilets including what the British Standards and UK regulations say about this topic, the recommended hand dryer mounting height, hand dryer locaiton, and whether including an accessible hand dryer is a legal requirement.

Sensor mini hand dryer with HEPA filter

Hand dryer installation regulations UK

Both BS8300-2:2018 and the Good Loo Design Guide recommend the provision of accessible hand dryers in addition to paper towel dispensers in a wheelchair toilet.

Although not a legal requirement, the WELL Standard WELL v2, Q1-Q2 2023 endorses hand dryers with HEPA filters as part of the Hygiene Support feature to accommodate users with diverse needs and improve hygiene in the washroom.

Read more about the advantages of HEPA filter hand dryers.

But what does Document Part M of the UK Building Regulations say?

Installing hand dryers is not a requirement but Document Part M does emphasise that the washbasin and other accessories should be within easy reach of a user to ensure that individuals can comfortably wash and dry their hands while seated.
What Document Part M does show in the form of detailed diagrams is the possible positions and heights of hand dryers in a unisex wheelchair-accessible toilet design.

These drawings ensure that the accessible hand dryer has its minimum dimensions covered when planning and arranging the fittings. This includes the hand dryer mounting height.

Roseless Doc M WC pack with hand dryer dimensions

What are the hand dryer dimensions?

According to Document Part M and BS8300, the recommended hand dryer height from the floor is between 800 mm to 1000 mm to the base of the hand dryer.

Hand dryer installed near the door shown in a wheelchair accessible toilet

Where should the hand dryer be installed?

If both hand drying appliances are chosen, it is preferable to install the accessible hand dryer on the side of the washbasin nearest to the door, while positioning the paper towel dispenser closest to the washbasin and WC pan.

Document Part M illustrates an alternative fitting arrangement in which the hand dryer location can be positioned beside the independent tall mirror.

What else do you need to know about installing hand dryers?

  • It is recommended that the accessible hand dryer can be operated through a motion sensor or an easily reachable and manageable push button.
  • Hand dryers that require users to insert their hands into the top should not be installed.
  • It is worth considering that the noise produced by automatic hand dryers may pose challenges for individuals with sensory or neurological processing difficulties, or those who are particularly sensitive to noise.

Watch our video below:

Contact the team or visit our learning hub to find out more.

Accessible washroom installed with a hand dryer and other washroom products

Understanding Regulations and Best Practices for Hand Dryer Installation

From our interpretation of the UK regulations and British Standards, as well as our experience supplying various accessible washroom projects with and without accessible hand dryers, we can conclude that installing an accessible hand dryer in a unisex wheelchair-accessible toilet is not a legal requirement.

However, including an accessible hand dryer and a paper towel dispenser is considered best practice according to British Standards, as it provides better accessibility for persons with disabilities.

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