Changing Places toilets in theatres in England

The government has published its consultation response, which will make it compulsory to include a Changing Places toilet in new and significantly extended theatre buildings in England.

Changing Places toilets are designed to meet the needs of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as people with physical disabilities. The y have more room than a standard accessible toilet, with specialist equipment such as an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist system.

In 2019 the government ran a consultation on how to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets. It has now published its response to the consultation, which will make it mandatory to include a 4m x 3m Changing Places toilet in theatres with more than 350 fixed seats if normally seated. This will apply to new buildings or those subject to a material change of use. This will be required through changes to Approved Document M, the statutory guidance for Part M of the building regulations, which covers access to and use of buildings.

Ergonomic research will be conducted to establish whether 3m x 3m is viable for existing buildings, when they are subject to extension of gross floor area of 25% or more or for buildings undergoing a material alteration. Approved Document M will be updated further once this research is completed.

These changes will come into force in 2021. Read the full consultation response.

At the Budget 2020, the government announced a Changing Places Fund for the 2020/21 financial year, to assist in the provision of changing places toilets in existing buildings, although further details of this have not yet been published.