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by Pei Wen Tan March 26, 2021 4 min read

What are ambulant toilets and when are they necessary?

When you hear the term ‘ambulant toilets’, what comes to mind? Chances are, you might be thinking of an accessible bathroom, but the difference between accessible and ambulant toilets is quite large.

People with ambulant disabilities are able to move around and are not confined to a bed or wheelchair. This may include those with arthritis, sensory loss, or those who need a walking frame. Because of this, they do not require the amount of space that an accessible toilet offers.

On the other hand, people who require accessible bathrooms generally use a wheelchair or may have other accessibility requirements, and thus need more space to move around in, and features such as lower mirrors and wash basins, grab rails, a contrasting seat colour, and braille signage.

Accessible bathrooms are more common as many restaurants and public places are required to have them under regulations. The Disability Discrimination Act states that any person with a disability has a right to have access to places used by the public.

Specific disability access laws were adopted with the introduction of the Disability (Access to premises – buildings) Standards 2010, which requires there to be at least one unisex accessible bathroom in public places.

Under these disability access laws, people with a disability face less societal discrimination as they are able to access sanitary facilities, making it easier to integrate into public society. Because of the prevalence of accessible bathrooms, you’d likely know what they look like. But what about ambulant toilets?

Difference between accessible and ambulant toilets

Accessible and ambulant toilets have different requirements that must be followed. When installing these bathrooms – of which accessible bathrooms are required by law for many places, and ambulant toilets required for restaurants/cafes with more than 20 patrons – it is important to keep these requirements in mind.

For an ambulant toilet, there must be a minimum circulation space of at least 900mx900m on either side of the door, and a minimum 900mm to 920mm width inside the cubicle. The doorway must have a width of at least 700mm.

For ambulant toilets, there should be a minimum distance of 900mm between doorway or door swing (where the door swings inwards) and where it’s closest to the toilet pan. There should be two grab rails on either side of the ambulant toilet which can support a force of 1100N so that the users can easily support themselves when using the bathroom. There must also be an accessible toilet roll holder.

Ambulant toilets must have a coat hook, and a 45mm long privacy locking snib lock lever. The washbasin must also be outside the circulation space in the cubicle.

As mentioned above, accessible bathrooms are required to have features such as lower mirrors and wash basins, grab rails, a contrasting seat colour (30% luminance contrast to the wall/floor), and braille signage.

For accessible bathrooms, the requirements for the circulation space on either side of the door is increased to 2300mm to 1900mm, and the toilet itself should be of the ‘peninsular’ kind (meaning that there is at least 1 metre to the sides) and sit at 460mm-480mm above the ground. The lid should remain standing when lifted. The doorway must have a width of at least 700mm.

Similar to ambulant toilets, there should be two grab rails on either side which can support a force of 1100N – but for accessible bathrooms, a grab rail is also required at the back for further support. An accessible toilet roll holder which is located 700mm from the floor and within the distance of 300mm of the front of the seat is also required.

As with ambulant toilets, the washbasin should not infringe on the turning circle, and the rim of the basin should be within 800mm to 830mm above the finished floor level. There must also be an integrated shelf that is a minimum of 300mm long.

Exposed heated water supply pipes should be insulated, or otherwise located in a manner that does not pose a hazard. Along with drainage pipes, they must not encroach on the space under the basin so as to allow for the footplate of a wheelchair or knee space.

Accessible bathrooms also require the water taps to have lever handles or sensor plates. The soap and paper dispensers must have one-hand operation. The doors must be easy to open

This is integral that you follow all the requirements to ensure that you are not breaching the regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Where are ambulant toilets used?

As mentioned above, ambulant toilets are required in some public places, such as restaurants or cafes with more than 20 patrons. You are more likely to find accessible bathrooms in public spaces, as these can be also used by those who require an ambulant toilet.

If there is someone in your household who would benefit from an accessible or ambulant toilet, you should look into installing one into your home.

It is now easy to find the necessary components of an ambulant toilet from stores selling bathroom fixtures and fittings. At Zure, we have a collection of ambulant toilets and accessories, such as hinged and angled grab rails, grab rails with towel holders and toilet roll holders, and back rests.

Our grab rails are available in different lengths and widths, from 200mm to 900mm, with thinner or wider widths. These grab rails can be installed to either side of your toilet, or in the shower or bath. They are available in a multitude of colours and styles so that you can easily match them to your aesthetic.

There’s no need to compromise on style when building an ambulant toilet with the wide range of options available, from brushed rose gold, gunmetal, or matte black. Classic stainless steel or white grab rails are also available.

If you are embarking on a bathroom renovation and looking for ways to make your bathroom ambulant-friendly, look no further than the ambulant toilets and accessories offered at Zure. With a multitude of options, you’ll be able to easily build the bathroom you want.

Pei Wen Tan
Pei Wen Tan


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