Building regulations, particularly for pupils with special needs
This factsheet has chosen a few of the relevant regulations and guidance from the Building Regulations and is by no means comprehensive. It is intended to provide some basic information and pointers for further investigation.
The current Building Regulations that apply in England and Wales are ‘The Building Regulations 2000’ and they cover most building projects. This means that they cover most new build and most modifications or adaptations to buildings. They are based on the 1984 Building Act and are to support the health and safety of people in and around all types of buildings. They also provide for energy conservation and for access and facilities for disabled people. These regulations cover all non-dwellings whether they are owned by the local council, a private landlord or the school itself.
They set out the requirements for all building projects. These requirements are shown in schedule 1 and are grouped under thirteen parts. The parts deal with different aspects of building design as follows:
All parts relate to school toilets, but Parts F, G, H and M are particularly relevant.
Part F looks at the different kinds of ventilation that can be used but specifies that in a non-domestic building all sanitary accommodation and/or washing facilities must have 3 air changes per hour. This is amended in the 2000 Building Regulations to say that 6 air changes per hour in sanitary accommodation are desirable. It refers to the following publication: Building Bulletin 87, Guidelines for Environmental Design in Schools, published by The Stationery Office for the Department for Education and Employment ISBN 0-11-271013-1.
Part G looks at hygiene. The number, type and siting of appliances is listed in the relevant documents for the type of building and in the Food Hygiene (general) regulations 1970. Statutory Instrument 1999 No. 2 is the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999, ISBN 0 11 080331 0 from The Stationery Office and states in regulation 3, that the basic number of sanitary fittings should be:
This section also states that for children over 11 years, where there is a room with fewer than 3 sanitary fittings, there should be a washbasin for every fitting: otherwise, there only needs to be two thirds the number of washbasins to sanitary fittings. It also states that separate washroom facilities for boys and girls needs to be provided for children over the age of 8, except for toilets provided for anyone who is disabled.
The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999, ISBN 0 11 080331 0 defines special requirements as:
Regulation 3 covers washrooms in non-dwelling buildings of a school and regulation 9 covers washrooms in boarding schools.
Part M covers access and facilities for all disabled people and this specifies extra arrangements relating to toilets which will benefit many children. All new build toilets or toilets which are being extended or undergoing a material alterations and are in non-dwellings need to be built or adapted to Part M Building Regulations.
There is now extensive guidance on the interpretation of these regulations from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister called “Approved Document M – Access to and Use of Buildings (2004 Edition), available from The Stationery Office or online from www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent.groups/odpm_buildregs/documents/page/odpm_breg.
This document gives the following useful guidelines in section 5:
Although Part M guidance is related to toilets for disabled people and not specifically for children, all schools must comply with Part M regulations and these requirements therefore support the provision of adequate school toilets. A child does not need to have a permanent disability to find the extra facilities helpful. For example, an alarm may re-assure a child who is afraid of being bullied and the regulations state that the emergency assistance call signal is located so that it can be easily seen and heard by those able to give assistance – not just outside the washroom door. Also, an accessible toilet has to be not more than 40m from a disabled person using the building, and, although 40m is a long distance, it is at least a standard which is enforceable which may help children with urgency or frequency for whatever reason.
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