The UK’s top events destination is responding to changing market forces by enhancing its accessibility provision.
The NEC in Birmingham has added a third Changing Places assisted accessible toilet to the 611-acre site’s visitor facilities, this latest outside Hall 2. Supplied and installed by Closomat, the WC compliments those already in place at the venue, also undertaken by Closomat.
All the Changing Places within the NEC meet the highest requirements outlined by British Standards (BS8300:2018): in addition to the basic space, and fixtures of full room cover ceiling track hoist, height adjustable adult size changing bench, and privacy screen, they feature height adjustable wash basins in place of fixed, and Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry toilets in place of conventional WCs.
“The NEC welcomes 2.4million visitors a year, to 500 events,” explains the NEC’s Senior Event Manager Julie Kimpton, who chairs the venue’s Accessibility Operations Committee. “On the basis that 20% of the UK population has a disability, it is logical that we ensure we have enough accessible toilets. We already have a dozen or so conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets; as part of a rolling toilet refurbishment programme, we took the opportunity to further enhance our provision for those visitors who need extra support, by designing in additional Changing Places. Our past experience with Closomat led to advising CBRE, our facilities services provider, to use Closomat again for this latest Changing Places.
“We already had Changing Places facilities outside Hall 20 (the location of Naidex, Europe’s most established event dedicated to the independent living and healthcare industries), and in the neighbouring Resorts World Arena, so it was logical to provide one in the Piazza, so no-one has far to go to find suitable facilities.”
Adds Kelvin Grimes, Closomat away from home project manager, “A Changing Places is designed to enable anyone who needs help- be it from a carer or equipment- to deal with their intimate care- to access appropriate facilities when away from home. BS8300:2018 notes that further provision of a wash and dry toilet in place of a conventional WC enhances the user’s dignity & independence. Not every Changing Places has one, so it is great to see the NEC being exemplar in its provision.”
Under British Standards (BS8300:2018), it is best practice to provide a Changing Places toilet in addition to conventional accessible facilities in buildings where the public spend time. The Government is also reviewing making them an obligatory requirement in new buildings or major refurbishments.
Closomat has become the leader in the design, supply, installation and subsequent maintenance of Changing Places; its website www.closomat.co.uk is now the ‘go to’ location for support information for all involved in the specification and build process, with NBS specifications, CAD blocks, white papers and guidance notes all available for free download.
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