Bathroom and toilet design for people with special needs

Special education facilities have a toilet entitlement, which does not apply to mainstream schools. As a school board of trustees, you need to know the principles and requirements that apply to planning bathroom modifications for students with special education needs.

Modifying bathrooms for people with special needs

When planning a bathroom for students with special education needs, consider the following principles:

Any proposal to modify or design a bathroom space must be reviewed by:

  • your school staff
  • your Special Education occupational therapist or physiotherapist
  • your property advisor.

All plans must comply with the Building Code. However, it is likely that more bathroom space will be needed than required by the Building Code. This is because many students with special education needs require extra equipment, like a hoist or a change table.

Reference Designs:

Funding bidets for people with special needs

The Ministry only funds the installation of bidets in schools in exceptional circumstances. At least one of the following criteria must be met:

  • The student or staff member has a serious bowel or bladder issue and a bidet is essential for their ongoing medical care.
  • Independent toileting would not be possible without a bidet.

The total cost for a bidet, including plumbing and electrical installation, is usually over $2,500. You should include it as part of a special education property modification assessment. If your project does not qualify for this funding, you will have to fund it yourself.

Funding showers for people with special needs

You can get funding for a shower through special education property modification funding if it is essential to meet the student’s or staff member’s needs. A shower should usually:

  • be a wet-area shower within a toilet/bathroom space
  • allow full wheelchair access if needed.

Providing toilets for special schools

The toilet entitlement calculator for special schools and satellite units is made up of the following 2 tables. We use it work out the number and size of toilets to provide for non-mobile and mobile students.

Toilet entitlement calculator

The following table shows how much area is allocated to different types of toilets. These sizes also apply to toilets in mainstream schools and are factored into the school property guide entitlement calculator.

Area entitlement for different types of toilets

Non-mobile students

Mobile students

Works (W) – a fully accessible bathroom with one toilet

12.4m2

With change table (CT) – a bathroom with one toilet and a change table

8m2

Assisted (A) – a suitably sized toilet

2m²

Ordinary (O) – a single toilet

 

1.2m2

 

Hoist (H) – a toilet with a hoist

6m²

 

The following table shows the number of toilets required for a special school or satellite unit based on the number of students. For a mainstream school, use the toilet calculator in the Building Code (external link) .

Toilets required based on the number of students

Non-mobile students

Mobile students

Student
no.

Toilet
no.

Toilet
type

Toilet
area m2

Cum.
area m2

Student
no.

Toilet
no.

Toilet
type

Toilet
area m2

Cum.
area m2

1–3

1

W

12.4

12.4

1–4

1

CT

8

8

4–6

2

A

2

14.4

5–8

2

O

1.2

9.2

7–9

3

H

6

20.4

9–12

3

O

1.2

10.4

10–12

4

A

2

22.4

13–16

4

O

1.2

11.6

13–15

5

W

12.4

34.8

17–20

5

CT

8

19.6

16–18

6

A

2

36.8

21–24

6

O

1.2

20.8

19–21

7

H

6

42.8

25–28

7

O

1.2

22

22–24

8

A

2

44.8

29–32

8

O

1.2

23.2

25–27

9

W

12.4

57.2

33–36

9

CT

8

31.2

28–30

10

A

2

59.2

37–40

10

O

1.2

32.4

31–33

11

H

6

65.2

41–44

11

O

1.2

33.6

34–36

12

A

2

67.2

45–48

12

O

1.2

34.8

37–39

13

W

12.4

79.6

49–52

13

CT

8

42.8

40–42

14

A

2

81.6

53–56

14

O

1.2

44

43–45

15

H

6

87.6

57–60

15

O

1.2

45.2

46–48

16

A

2

89.6

61–64

16

O

1.2

46.4

49–51

17

W

12.4

102

65–68

17

CT

8

54.4

52–54

18

A

2

104

69–72

18

O

1.2

55.6

55–57

19

H

6

110

73–76

19

O

1.2

56.8

58–60

20

A

2

112

77–80

20

O

1.2

58

61–63

21

W

12.4

124.4

81–81

21

CT

8

66

64–66

22

A

2

126.4

85–88

22

O

1.2

67.2

67–69

23

H

6

132.4

89–92

23

O

1.2

68.4

70–72

24

A

2

134.4

93–96

24

O

1.2

69.6

73–75

25

W

12.4

146.8

97–100

25

CT

8

77.6

76–78

26

A

2

148.8

101–104

26

O

1.2

78.8

79–81

27

H

6

154.8

105–108

27

O

1.2

80

82–84

28

A

2

156.8

109–112

28

O

1.2

81.2

85–87

29

W

12.4

169.2

113–116

29

CT

8

89.2

88–90

30

A

2

171.2

117–120

30

O

1.2

90.4

91–93

31

H

6

177.2

121–124

31

O

1.2

91.6

94–96

32

A

2

179.2

125–128

32

O

1.2

92.8

97–99

33

W

12.4

191.6

129–132

33

CT

8

100.8

100–102

34

A

2

193.6

133–136

34

O

1.2

102

103–105

35

H

6

199.6

137–140

35

O

1.2

103.2

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