13 June 2022
Reading time: 2 minutes
Grab rails and drop-down rails that are associated with accessible washroom cubicles provide a fundamental purpose for persons with disabilities. They are safety devices to support users whilst standing, manoeuvring around the toilet cubicle, or transferring to and from the WC pan. Traditionally these fittings are immovable, but what if the need arises to remove them temporarily?
Dolphin supplies accessible WC sets, shower sets, and combined sets, and in this article, you will learn more about why support rails are essential, what types are available, the benefits of removable rails, the challenges Architects face, and the various standards outlined in the accessible washroom regulations.
Why are washroom grab rails essential?
Support rails play a significant role to assist persons with different types of disabilities including motor, cognitive or visual impairment. Horizontal or vertical accessible grab rails can help a person pull themselves up or down and provide extra support to hold onto when balancing themselves.
What types of support rails are available?
Grab bars may have different names associated with their design but essentially these are the various styles commonly used in accessible washrooms:
- Vertical grab rail
- Horizontal grab rail
- Curved grab rail
- Drop-down grab rail
- Drop-down grab rail with leg
- Angled grab rail
- D shape grab rail
- Removable grab rail
Removable support rails
Hotels are a classic example to install removable drop-down rails. The house count (total occupancy of the hotel at any given moment) varies daily, from a low occupancy rate to fully booked. Removable support rails are beneficial as they provide a flexible solution and can be tailored to suit guests without access needs, particularly at maximum occupancy with no accessible reservations.
At the same time, when rooms need to be booked for persons with disabilities, the support rail infrastructure is already in place thus enabling a simple and quick procedure to connect the parts again.
Hotels are successfully implementing the required 10% accessible rooms and washrooms into their buildings, welcoming disabled visitors (including wheelchair users). Both the Building Regulations and British Standards provide detailed specifications regarding the physical characteristics of accessible hotel rooms.
Challenges Architects face
Poor workmanship and non-compliant grab bars result in other problems such as lack of durability in hinged support rail fixing, pattress guidance, and inadequate installation. As a result, the rail may break off from the wall and what’s worse, it may injure the person holding onto it with a firm grip as it comes loose. The disaster this creates for commercial buildings or Hospitals is catastrophic.
Grab rail regulations
Document part M and BS 8300-2:2018 outline the design considerations and British standards for accessible grab rails and drop-down rails. There are further regulations that apply including European standards according to DIN EN 12182 (Assistive products for persons with disability – General requirements and test methods) and the Good Loo Design Guide.
Serious consequences arise when accessible grab rails are not manufactured or installed correctly. It is costly to replace support rails that have fallen off a wall and dangerous to those who are near the hazard
Dolphin Solutions supplies Doc M packs that include all the sanitaryware required for an accessible WC cubicle. Our products are compliant with the various washroom regulations, providing quality and style to meet your vision.
Our commercial washroom specialists are available to discuss your requirements and provide unique accessible WC solutions for your project.
Download our Accessible Washroom Checklist
This will help you identify what items you need and ensure the grab rails, other wheelchair fittings and layout dimensions are compliant.
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