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A national museum, originally envisaged as being “an inspiration for our country’s future”, has continued that philosophy in its latest refurbishment to deliver exemplar accessibility. 

St Fagans National Museum of History in Wales has included not just one, but two Changing Places assisted accessible toilets. And it has gone further: the conventional WC has been replaced in both instances with a Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry toilet (as noted in the latest relevant British Standard). The facilities mean that people, and their carers, who need support to address their intimate needs can do so, with optimum hygiene, safety, privacy and dignity. 

The toilets are located in the refurbished main building, and in the new Gweithdy building, which celebrates traditional skills. 

Head of St Fagans National Museum of History, Bethan Lewis, said, “Facilitating access and enabling participation for all our visitors is an essential part of what we offer here at St Fagans. We already had a stand-alone Changing Places on site, but as part of the redevelopment project, and on the advice of access consultants, we thought this was an ideal opportunity to enhance our offering.” 

Added Kelvin Grimes, Closomat’s away from home project manager, “Inevitably when people visit a museum they spend time there, and may very well need to use the toilet. That applies to all visitors, so it is appropriate the needs of all visitors are addressed as far as possible. To include as many people’s needs as possible, St Fagans chose to fit the Closomat in place of a conventional WC, to further extend the Changing Places’ suitability, and optimise dignity and hygiene for users.”

Closomat St Fagans

The two Changing Places are both 12m2, and have no special access requirements. For each, Closomat supplied a mobile adult-sized changing bench, height adjustable washbasin, ceiling track hoist, privacy screen and Palma Vita wash & dry toilet. The Palma looks like- and can be used as- a traditional loo; if preferred/required, the user remains seated when triggering the flush to benefit from integrated douching and drying. This removes the need for the user- or their carer- to manually clean with toilet tissue. 

Under Building Regulations and British Standards, a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Since their introduction a decade ago, 1000 have been opened across the UK. Under British Standards, a Changing Places is provided in addition to conventional (Building Regulations Document M) wheelchair accessible toilets, and provides 12m2 (3m x 4m), with additional equipment including an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench and ceiling track hoist. 

Closomat is Britain’s leading provider of helpful toileting solutions, at home and away, including Changing Places and their similar Space to Change facilities. Uniquely, the company can provide an in-house, ‘one- stop-shop’ complete package for ‘away from home’ assisted accessible toilet facilities, from design and commissioning, through to project management, supply and installation, and can also provide subsequent maintenance and repair.

Its website www.clos-o-mat.com is the most comprehensive resource available about Changing Places for campaigners, providers and specifiers alike, with a raft of support information including white papers, calling cards, CAD blocks, NBS specifications, video and case studies.

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