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Building Regulations for a downstairs WC

Hello all!

I am in a process of purchasing a new build property. As the builders have only started to lay the foundation of my property, I asked them if I could make some slight changes to the layout so it works better for me.

On the builders' drawing plan, there is a downstairs WC next to the kitchen. The WC is approx. 1.93m x 1.01m. Currently, on the drawing plan it shows the door is outward opening but I want to change it so the door is inward opening instead.

I sent this request to the sales guy last week and he got back to me today saying, 'the downstairs WC door has to open out as the Building Regulations state that we must allow unobstructed manoeuvring space within the room sufficient to turn a wheelchair.'

It made me laugh when I read that statement. The people who are going to live in this property don't use wheelchairs, and furthermore, if the regulations were the case, should I need to add a disabled ramp at the front and back doors to make my property more wheelchair friendly?

Anyway, my question is, is it true about the Building Regulations that a WC in a domestic property must have enough room for the wheelchair access?

The sales guy even brought up the NHBC who may not allow this change...

Any suggestions and advice are very much appreciated as always!

Many thanks
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Replies

  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    You probably need to look at P72 of this Building Regs Document:

    http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/br/BR_PDF_ADM_2004.pdf
  • I've not long bought a new build house, my downstairs WC has an outward opening door & there's a ramp to the front door allowing level access so sounds like they're telling the truth...

    All the houses on this estate are the same in terms of downstairs WC & level front access.
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
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    It is a legal requirement now that new builds are disabled friendly E.G. all sockets at about waist height, not just above skirting boards, doors to small rooms etc.
  • anselldanselld Forumite
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    It is true that new build must comply with various disabled access requirements in the Building Regs regardless of the intended occupants.

    NHBC are involved because they inspect the build vs the regulations and issue the guarantee.

    You can always get a carpenter to change the door opening after you move in.
  • FreecallFreecall Forumite
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    Your builder is correct, Part M of the Building Regulations refer.

    And yes, your builder will fit a 'ramp' which is actually called a level threshold at your primary entrance.

    Your comment 'The people who are going to live in this property don't use wheelchairs' completely fails to appreciate the purpose of the legislation. The whole point is that all people including those with mobility problems should be able to visit houses without fear of being unable to use the lavatory.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
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    Mine's like that, outward. I'm sure a sliding/pocket door would have made more sense, but more cost.

    It's also annoying as these new disabled friendly loos are plonked on the ground floor - and when your home is small it takes up a disproportionate amount of space. I think 1/3rd of my house is the loo/hall/stairs.
  • Jhoney_2Jhoney_2 Forumite
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    anselld wrote: »
    It is true that new build must comply with various disabled access requirements in the Building Regs regardless of the intended occupants.

    NHBC are involved because they inspect the build vs the regulations and issue the guarantee.

    You can always get a carpenter to change the door opening after you move in.

    ^^
    ...And revert it if/when you move out, so that the concept of fair access to all is not lost to future occupiers that may not have the mobility that we do.
  • oystercatcheroystercatcher Forumite
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    BartyBoy wrote: »
    It made me laugh when I read that statement. The people who are going to live in this property don't use wheelchairs, and furthermore, if the regulations were the case, should I need to add a disabled ramp at the front and back doors to make my property more wheelchair friendly?



    I'm sure you won't be laughing if you suddenly become disabled.
    Will you never have disabled friends or family who might want to visit ? We all become older.

    I have a friend who can't visit either of her children because all toilet facilities are upstairs.
  • Mine's like that, outward. I'm sure a sliding/pocket door would have made more sense, but more cost.

    It's also annoying as these new disabled friendly loos are plonked on the ground floor - and when your home is small it takes up a disproportionate amount of space. I think 1/3rd of my house is the loo/hall/stairs.

    It would hardly make sense to put them upstairs, would it?
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
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    It would hardly make sense to put them upstairs, would it?

    You say that, but I watched one HutH episode where a shop building was converted by the buyer to be a shop on the ground floor - and a flat on the first floor, accessed from the rear.

    Rear access was along a dark/unlit lane and in through the rear gate. There was then a large, metal, fire escape style set of stairs to the exterior to give access to the first floor ....and he'd had to put in the disabled loo as it was a "new build" due to converting it to residential.

    It was mad.
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