What are the optimal dimensions and layout for an accessible bathroom?
When building new bathrooms or completely renovating existing ones, it therefore makes sense to follow the guidelines laid down in the building standard. The building standard distinguishes between two different categories:
- Accessible buildings: The specifications for accessible bathrooms are aimed at older people.
- Wheelchair-accessible buildings: The criteria for wheelchair-accessible bathrooms ensure that a bathroom can also be used with a wheelchair – more space must be planned accordingly.
Here you can see an overview of the key criteria according to the building standard:
Accessible bathrooms: According to the building standard DIN 18040-2, every accessible residence should have at least one bathroom that is considered accessible. The minimum furnishings include a toilet, a washbasin and a shower. The available movement space in front of the toilet, washbasin and bath should be at least 120 x 120 centimetres in each case. To be considered wheelchair accessible, this rises to at least 150 x 150 centimetres of space.
Accessible toilets: The toilet should be at least 20 centimetres away from the wall and other sanitary fittings. To be wheelchair accessible, significantly more movement space is needed: 90 centimetres on one side, 30 centimetres on the other side and a seat height of 46 to 48 centimetres so that the toilet seat and cover can be easily reached from a wheelchair. The depth should be about 70 centimetres. An accessible toilet should be equipped with support handles that help wheelchair users to move from the wheelchair to the toilet.
Accessible washbasins: For the washbasin to be considered accessible, it should provide sufficient free space for the occupant's legs. This also means it can be used with the aid of a bathroom stool. Once again, the required dimensions for a wheelchair-accessible bathroom are even larger: The legroom should be 90 centimetres wide and 55 centimetres deep, and the knee space must be 30 centimetres deep. The minimum clearance underneath is 67 centimetres and the washbasin should be installed at a maximum height of 80 centimetres.
Accessible showers: The shower is of particular importance, as shower trays with raised edges, which used to be commonplace, can pose a tripping hazard. The shower should have an area of 120 x 120 centimetres and a maximum step height of two centimetres. To ensure that the shower is suitable for wheelchairs, a movement area of 150 x 150 centimetres should be ensured. The taps and fittings should be easy to reach and simple to operate.
Bathroom doors: The passage width should be at least 80 centimetres and the passage height 205 centimetres. To ensure that the bathroom is accessible for wheelchair users, the passage width should be 90 centimetres. It must be possible to unlock the bathroom door from the outside if necessary – so that, in the worst case, e.g. a fall or circulatory problems, help can be provided quickly. In addition, the door should open outwards. Sliding doors are also a good option.