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We're caught in a trap

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Selwyn Goldsmith (AJ 7.3.02) admits to being a tall man with a preference for a significantly higher wash basin rim height (950 mm) than the rest of us. He was disappointed to discover that the hotel he had booked into offered a choice of rooms with a lower wash basin height to suit the needs of wheelchair users, instead of meeting his needs.

The hotel in question was simply complying with Building Regulations, and in particular clause 4.10, Hotel and motel guest bedrooms in Approved Document M, which recommends that the wash basin rim in sanitary accommodation for disabled visitors and customers should be 750 mm above floor level.

BS 8300: 2001 supersedes BS 5619: 1978 and BS 5810: 1979. It incorporates the findings of a recent study commissioned by DTLR to verify this dimension, and recommends this height should be reduced to 720 mm-740 mm.

Mindful that designers and architects may need to tailor solutions to meet the specific needs of ambulant disabled people and wheelchair users, BS 8300 also includes recommendations on wash basin rim heights for both user groups. For ambulant users, a preferred height which would suit the majority (90 per cent) of users would be 760mm-780 mm. For wheelchair users, the corresponding figure would be 680mm-700 mm.

Theoretical results using anthropometric data for non-disabled people confirm that these ranges lie within the calculated ranges, with very similar margins to each side. The suggestion from David Bithell (AJ 14.3.02) that a basin on a rise and fall mechanism would seem to be preferable, demonstrates the potential for using data in BS 8300: 2001 to generate imaginative design solutions.

Tony McKendry, programme manager, British Standards

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