DOC M or Easy Access Bathrooms
DOC M Compliant Bathrooms
When thinking about building a new home or renovating an existing one we are asked to think ahead to the future when getting around the way we do now may not be as easy.
We’re asked to think about entrances that are wheelchair friendly, low level light fittings, better lighting etc. But it is in the bathroom where we can do the most to ensure our homes are welcoming to all levels of physical ability.
To guide us when designing our bathroom to be easy to access, we are guided by the UK Government's guidelines, these are contained in a publication - Doc M, whilst it may sound like a James Bond prop it is infact the full set of regulations for ensuring public & private buildings are built in a way that alienates no one.
You can download your own copy by clicking on the logo above
(Bathrooms Kick off around page 50, cloakroom WC’s on page 72)
Here at JT Spas we take pride in fulfilling our mission to make luxury affordable, and by working with forward thinking manufacturers and suppliers we have a full range of bathroom furniture that looks amazing and also is designed to be easy to access no matter how limited movement may become.
Typically when we browse the internet seeking inspiration for bathroom design we are treated to windows into the real world day to day use of some of the worlds most glamorous homes.
Customise your search for bathrooms to those compliant with the Doc. M guidelines and the picture is somewhat different. The majority of the images we see are of brilliantly practical products, but with the focus on practicality the essence of what a bathroom should be is lost.
Your bathroom should always be welcoming, a true haven for you, styled just how you want it. This is our belief, we’re happy to say it won’t cost the earth either. This is also true if you are investing in the design principles contained in Doc. M.
These are practical plans, devised by a team of the best practitioners in the UK, but nowhere in that lengthy document do I find a clause stating that style & dignity should be left outside the bathroom door.
With this in mind, our Bathroom Designer wanted to share some thoughts about products that previous customers have used, to both add to the luxury of their bathrooms but that also lent some support when needed.
(The designs below are only a rough guideline, you should always consult approved professionals before embarking on any renovation project, please feel free to give us a call should you want any guidance with this.)
From the JT Spas Range we have used:
Phoenix Comfort Walk-In Bath 1700mm x 750mm
The Phoenix Comfort Walk In bath is stylish and comfortable for the whole family and visitors. The easy access shower door is a really good feature combining luxury with practicality. The door allows the user not to lift their leg any higher than 190mm.
The bath comes with an 8mm Toughened Safety Glass Screen, Fixed Shower Head, Adjustable Hand Shower, Thermostatic rim mounted valve and with diverter, overflow bath filler with waste and a removable luxury shower seat.
In the design you’ll notice I’ve included a stud wall around the bath to provide the user with an enjoyable relaxing bath with a little more privacy.
I placed the grab rail close to the entrance of the bath however this should be moved and placed to the most comfortable place depending on each individual users needs.
When it comes to the toilet we want to ensure that the height is correct, Phoenix Whirlpools have taken this into account when dreaming up the curves for their Emma collection of bathroom furniture, in this range we find the Emma Comfort Toilet with Luxury Soft Close Seat.
The Emma Comfort Toilet is 480mm high to make transfer to and from the toilet much easier. The Soft close toilet seat is a nice feature which makes subtle change to the awful BANG of a dropped seat!
I used silver grab rails with this toilet to match the minimalist hinges on the bath and shower enclosure. This keeps the theme of style and glamour flowing throughout the room.
Beside the toilet we have left more room than is specified by regulations to the side of the toilet, this is something we wanted to ensure that there was not only plenty of room for you to move around but also for any carers or assistants who may be helping you.
In the bathroom plan I wanted to include a separate shower, this will be more likely an area seeing everyday use.
To build a shower enclosure that is stylish, safe and accessible we chose the Phoenix Access Corner Split Door Enclosure - This is designed to make it easy for the user and carer to use. The trendy minimalist hinges strengthen this showers style as well as function. These showers do come in many sizes so you can build the best enclosure for you.
As you can see on the hand drawn bathroom design both doors open giving this shower lots of accessibility, when incorporating this shower into your bathroom take into account the doors opening fully, as in my design the bathroom door needs to be shut for one of the doors to open. Also on the other wall where I have a radiator, could be a problem to some users. The radiator could be moved to under the window to stop any obstruction.
I’ve used a low profile shower tray at 30mm or 40mm and you could tile up to the shower tray to give the feel of lowering the tray into the floor. Another option is to embed a shower tray into your bathroom floor, but this is beyond the scope of this article, we’ll look into those options at a later date.
The Shower fittings – We recommend TMV3 approved as they are valves that are engineered to a high standard so that they meet Government health and safety requirements for use in public places such as schools, hospitals, offices etc and would significantly reduce the risk of scalds occurring in the home or anywhere that hot water is delivered through mixing valves.
TMV2 – the government recommends the use of thermostatic mixing valves TMV’S for baths taps and showers for all housing. TMV2 certified valves maintain the preset temperatures even if the water pressure varies when other appliances are used, preventing domestic hot water scalding.
We have a variety of valves on our website that are TMV 2 & 3 certified in many different styles and designs modern and traditional. We also provide under bath and under sink TMV3 approved valves which may also be needed in certain circumstances.
One of the best things about designing your own shower is adding Body Jets and Rain Bars, as it can add that extra spa treatment experience in your own home for very little cost. This is a personal choice, but this is one feature I definitely I do enjoy and can have many health benefits one of which is to stimulate better circulation.
The seat is a drop down design to keep the shower area tidy when not in use.
I’ve placed grab rails here also and as there is a lot going on in the shower with the seat, grab rails and back massage jets we decided to go for an overhead shower head, which comes down from the ceiling and would stop giving a cluttered feel to the shower.
This model has an innovative feature that uses lights to change the colour of the water flow to show the temperature of the water, the main benefit of this feature is the increased bathing confidence.
The Basin – I have put a stud wall at the end of the bath to give it an enclosed feeling giving a little more peace & tranquillity while relaxing in the bath. With the stud wall being there I can also use it to mount a bench, keeping up with the minimal yet lived in feel to the bathroom. The bowl is a standard (Oblong Basin) Wash Bowl and TMV3 Valve with your chosen taps.
I‘ve added the little vanity space as everyone needs whether to brush your hair put on makeup or simply scrubbing your teeth!
Minor problems I see with this bathroom is that in our budget we left no pennies for storage and now a-days storage is everything!You could put a set of drawers under the counter and we have lots of tof units suitable, here is a selection:
Alternative options for storage and basins:
Please note this was only rough desktop exercise to help our customers and provide ideas and inspiration, this design should change depending on ability levels.
Before you start any major changes to your home always seek professional guidance as the regulations change frequently.
When consulting your local professionals always seek testimonials for similar work from people who you trust before entering into any agreement.