A Detailed Guide to Disabled Toilets

Read our entire guide on disabled toilets, or jump to specific sections by clicking on the links below:

  1. What is a Disabled Toilet?
  2. What are the Dimensions and Height of a Disabled Toilet System?
  3. What is a Disabled Toilet Alarm System?
  4. How Can One Get Access to the Disabled Toilet Key if the Toilet is Locked?
  5. Is it a Legal Requirement for Public Spaces to Have Disabled Toilets in the UK?
  6. Do Disabled Toilets have CCTV Cameras?
  7. Are Aeroplane Toilets Disabled-Friendly?
  8. Is it Okay for an Able-Bodied Person to Use a Disabled Toilet?
  9. Where Can You Buy Disabled Toilets?

What is a Disabled Toilet?

A disabled toilet, commonly labelled an accessible toilet, enables differently-abled people to gain easy access to facilities that regular toilets also offer. The major differences, however, between a regular toilet and a disabled toilet are in the layout of the toilet, the available space, the flooring, the hand-grip equipment, the lighting, the alarm system, etc. This toilet, above all else, removes the disabling barriers and limitations that exist for people with disabilities in regular toilets.


What are the Dimensions and Height of a Disabled Toilet System?

According to the Approved Document M of the UK Building Regulations 2010, the disabled toilet dimensions and height should permit wheelchair users to easily approach, transfer to and use the facilities. The mandatory dimensions for a disabled toilet need to be 2200mm (7.22ft) in length and 1500mm (4.92ft) in width. On page 33 of the Approved Document M, you’ll find the illustration of a compliant disabled toilet. The height of a disabled toilet can range from 440mm (1.44ft) to 500mm (1.64ft), but it’s normally installed at 450mm (1.47ft).


What is a Disabled Toilet Alarm System?

In the case of an emergency, a disabled toilet alarm system allows a person in distress to raise an alarm. In this alarm system, the user can activate a light and sounder located outside the WC by simply pressing an alert button or pulling the cord (usually of red colour) of a ceiling pull unit. The alarm signal can be sent to a central monitoring facility.


How Can One Get Access to the Disabled Toilet Key if the Toilet is Locked?

A Radar Key (disabled toilet key) can open 10,000+ locked, disabled toilets in the UK. This large, silver-coloured skeleton key is also called an NKS Key (NKS stands for National Key Scheme). Authorised Radar keys are priced at £5, including the shipping cost. The Disability Rights UK shop and participating local authorities sell this key. Some councils give this key away for free.


The Equality Act 2010 safeguards the rights of all disabled people in the UK. And this is inclusive of the sanitary facilities that are provided. The provisions imposed by this act make it mandatory for public spaces to have disabled toilets so that disabled people have equal toilet access. For business owners, the right time to upgrade toilets is now, instead of planning a refit or building a new block sometime in the future.


Do Disabled Toilets have CCTV Cameras?

No, certainly not. Installation of a camera is not permitted in areas where people expect privacy. And a toilet is a place where people expect privacy. It’s possible (and reasonable to expect) CCTV cameras to be installed in the corridor outside a disabled toilet. But there’s no chance to have a camera installed inside.


Are Aeroplane Toilets Disabled-Friendly?

Most aeroplane toilets are not disabled-friendly. The airline industry says it’s not economically viable for them to retrofit existing passenger aircraft with disabled toilets. Even the supposedly accessible aeroplane toilet in the latest built wide-body aircraft with two aisles is relatively smaller than a disabled toilet on land. Generally speaking, the doors of two regular aeroplane toilets are opened and combined into one space. The bigger space is still not sufficient, and it is difficult to manoeuvre. Moreover, the grab bars are positioned at an inconvenient spot.


Is it Okay for an Able-Bodied Person to Use a Disabled Toilet?

This is a tough question to answer. And we’ll put an end to all arguments without even starting one. But the worst thing you can do is to use (or rather misuse) your able-bodiedness (yes, that’s a word now) to quickly get ahead of a disabled person as they amble slowly towards the door. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you?


Where Can You Buy Disabled Toilets?

Bathroom City stocks different types of disabled toilets. These products are not only suitable for disabled users, but they are also suitable for the elderly and able-bodied users. The Doc M bathroom pack is perfect for care homes, public facilities and hospitals. Other places for buying disabled toilets are here and here.