This curiosity was snapped by a friend in a pub in Wembley, who said that ladies have often climbed in having decided that a soak in a bath in a pub washroom was a good idea. At least the taps have lever handles. I'd love to see the accessible loo in this place... if it has one.
The Inclusive Hotels Network is a group of inclusion-minded hotel operators, product designers and retailers, access consultants and architects who meet once a month to share knowledge and experience of designing, building, managing and staying in hotels. We're putting our heads together to develop best practice guidance about the subject. Anyone with an interest is welcome to join, and you can find out more here: Inclusive Hotels Network.
This month our meeting was hosted by the Bath Room, which is an oasis of baths, bidets, basins and loos, and some rather fancy taps. Rather like Renton, but for different reasons, many people would happily 'settle for anywhere' when they need to spend a penny, provided that they can use it. Knowing that there's a properly accessible unisex accessible facility at a venue or place of interest can be critical to a person's decision to visit it. If your restaurant / creche / hotel has one then let people know about it!
The Bath Room is a showroom and information centre for designers and architects, with plenty of accessible products as well as the tap above. We heard from the Bath Room's experts in hotel and education design about how they are developing accessible washroom and hotel guest room solutions with aesthetic appeal as well as functionality and regulatory compliance. This is especially important in hotel guest rooms: why should the accessible bathroom look any less lovely than those in other suites? Raw silk toilet roll is perhaps a step too far, but if the guest experience is luxury then it should be just as luxurious in the accessible rooms. Concept Freedom by Ideal Standard may well have Chanel No. 5 in the Cisterns.
And before you judge anyone coming out of an accessible loo who doesn't look like they have a disability, have a read of this by Sam Cleasby.
The gold tap at the top of this post is not accessible but would be if it were operated with lever handles.
Scientist Dorothy Bishop is known for her work in childhood language disorders, but often blogs about all sorts of other issues. Her post about The Bewildering Bathroom Challenge reminded me of my collection of photographs of broken taps in public washrooms. Dorothy's piece is specifically about taps in hotel bathrooms, but I have found that the more 'designed' any tap is, the more likely it is to be broken, because people really struggle to work out how to operate them. Dorothy quotes from a website that's no longer available and not named, but was presumably a designer or manufacturer of taps:
I expect that these 'intriguing' taps frustrated rather than delighted restaurant and hotel visitors. This page (University of Cambridge Inclusive Design Toolkit) shows that approximately 5% of the UK population could be excluded by tasks that require dexterity. Good, inclusive tap design is possible, so why exclude and frustrate your customers, staff, or clients by specifying 'intriguing' taps?
Note the knob-type tap controls below, which are not allowed for sanitary conveniences under Part M of the Building Regulations. This photograph is of a tap in a staff kitchenette, and while taps are not specifically mentioned in clause 4.16 of the Approved Document, 4.16a requires that "All users have access to all parts of the facility".
Separate, wall-mounted hand dryers are installed in the rail station washroom where this picture below was taken. Concealed hand dryers are a neat idea, but are counterproductive if customers cannot find them. I wonder whether the integral soap dispensers are too difficult to refill, or whether they are broken due to misuse?
Next month I'm off to the Bath Room in Clerkenwell, so watch this space for some good examples.