The Importance of a Well-Designed Changing Room
Swimming pools and leisure centres are particularly harsh environments for changing rooms, including toilet cubicles and shower cubicles.
With high levels of foot traffic, and constant exposure to water, swimming pool changing rooms have an increased risk of wear and tear and damage. Additionally, these facilities are used by a range of people, from young children to senior citizens, meaning their design must be multifaceted in order to cater to a variety of needs.
A well-designed changing room is essential to ensuring durability for the large volumes of people using them, as well as suitability for all visitors and their differing requirements.
This primarily means keeping users comfortable, safe and happy with hard-wearing facilities that are fit for purpose. This is important because:
- Durable materials will last longer and in a better condition for greater user satisfaction and cost efficiency;
- All users are encouraged to access the facilities, including disabled and minority populations, as well as visitors with young children;
- Users are kept safe, with access to private and secure facilities for peace of mind;
- Accidents are prevented where possible for visitors and employees.
General Changing Room Considerations
In order to attain a well-designed changing room which encompasses the above points, there are some key considerations to be aware of. This includes the layout of the changing room; its hygiene and appearance; and ensuring regulations are met with facilities fit for their purpose.
Changing Room Layout
All of the amenities required by users should be incorporated into your changing room facilities; this includes both wet and dry changing rooms, shower cubicles, and toilet cubicles. One of the main considerations when planning for this is the arrangement of these facilities.
The layout of your facilities should make sense for users, with a wet and dry through route clearly defined to minimise accidents and foot traffic, whilst promoting safety and cleanliness. Changing rooms should not be visible from common areas, however.
Concerning their internal layout, changing rooms should also allow for privacy; this can be achieved through single-sex changing rooms. In family and unisex changing rooms, privacy should be attained through individual cubicles; this is known as ‘village style’ or ‘changing village’, and consists of various-sized cubicles to accommodate families, couples, and single users.
Where there is mixed use of a changing facility by adults and children, the layout of the changing room should also allow for supervision of children whilst also considering privacy and safety. Further advice on the safe supervision of children in changing rooms can be found by consulting the NSPCC’s official website and their Child Protection in Sport Unit.
Single-sex changing rooms can offer both changing bench seating and individual cubicles, with the inclusion of disabled cubicles, ensuring your facilities cater to large volumes of people and their preferences. Family rooms further require accessories such as baby-changing stations and nappy bins.
Toilets should be located away from changing rooms to promote hygiene, whilst shower cubicles designed for post-swim showers should be positioned close to changing areas for convenience.
Wet changing rooms, lockers, and pre-swim showers should all be positioned in close proximity to the pool; this ensures water isn’t traipsed throughout the facilities and personal items can be safely stored and conveniently retrieved.
Hygiene and Appearance
Public changing rooms should further be appealing to visitors – two ways to realise this is by focussing on hygiene and aesthetics within your design.
A fresh, clean and timeless look for your changing rooms will make a great impression on visitors for years to come.
Excelsior’s bespoke washrooms and cubicles for leisure centres and swimming pools are available in a range of material colours, finishes and printed patterns so you can achieve the desired look within your project budget.
Hygiene levels can also be improved by the materials used in your design. Consider materials with antibacterial or anti-vandal properties, alongside designs that are easy to clean, helping to establish the space as a hygienic environment for visitors.
Including facilities such as pre-swim showers will encourage user cleanliness, whilst floor drainage helps keep shower cubicles clean.
Excelsior works alongside architects and interior designers to fulfil your design visions, ensuring we strike the right aesthetic and promote hygiene whilst adhering to budget and time restrictions.
Ensuring Facilities Are Fit for Purpose
Finally, it’s important that the design of your facilities is centred around public use; this means meeting industry regulations for public buildings such as a sufficient number of toilets and hand washing facilities provided for the number of users.
For a leisure centre with a swimming pool, HSE legal requirements and British Standards outline the number of toilets and washbasins as follows:
- 2 toilets for every 100 males. Once 100 male users have been surpassed, there should be 1 toilet per 100 male users thereafter.
- 1 urinal for every 20 males. Once 100 males have been surpassed, there should be 1 urinal per 80 men.
- 1 toilet for every 5 females. Once 50 female users have been surpassed, there should be 1 toilet per 10 female users. Once 100 females have been surpassed, there should be 1 toilet per 50 females.
- 1 washbasin for every male urinal and another for every 5 male toilets.
- 2 washbasins for every 2 female toilets.
The following regulations apply for showers:
- 1 shower for every 10 males.
- 1 shower for every 10 females.
Disabled access toilets, shower cubicles, and changing rooms should be provided with sufficient manoeuvrability and outward opening doors. Grab rails and an emergency alarm system with a pull cord should also be installed in disabled facilities; shower cubicles should additionally contain a wall-mounted tip-up seat and wall-mounted shower seat.
Alongside this, it is now required as of June 2020 for sports or leisure buildings over 5,000m² to install Changing Places toilets if they are newly built or undergo a major refurbishment. Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for disabled users.
Lighting and ventilation across all types of changing rooms and cubicles are also a requirement for safety and hygiene. To ensure your standard changing rooms are as economical and as hygienic as possible, taps and flush operations on toilets can be sensor activated, with hand wash taps and showers placed on timers.
Swimming Pool Cubicle Considerations
Washrooms and cubicles for swimming pools not only demand the above requirements, but oftentimes the hot, wet, and damp environment needs further management; this is where your material choice comes in. Further considerations include the sizing of facilities, and how to ensure users’ privacy.
Materials and Durability
Material choice is essential to durability.
Excelsior recommends Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) for leisure centres and swimming pools.
This self-supporting panel is composed of multiple layers of high-quality paper, impregnated with thermosetting phenolic resins, heated and compressed to form a singular panel.
Because of this, SGL excels in high-traffic environments, as it is resistant to impact and impervious to water penetration, minimising the risk of delamination. This ensures the technical performance of your washrooms and changing rooms for users, as well as making the space easier to maintain over time.
Flooring should be anti-slip in wet areas, such as in standard and disabled wet changing rooms and shower cubicles, as well as being durable against chipping or shattering, to minimise accidents.
Accessibility and Cubicle Size
Ensure your toilet, individual shower cubicles, and changing rooms meet regulations regarding their size. It is recommended that:
- Standard toilet cubicles are 1500mm deep and 800mm wide. Disabled toilet cubicles should be 2200mm deep and 1500mm wide.
- Individual shower cubicles should be 2000mm deep and 1000mm wide. Disabled shower enclosures should be a minimum of 2200mm deep and 2000mm wide.
- Disabled changing rooms are a minimum of 2200mm deep and 2000mm wide; this facility can be incorporated into the shower cubicle.
It is important that disabled toilets, showers, and changing rooms also provide sufficient manoeuvrability for wheelchair users. This is 800mm between surfaces in ambulant disabled toilets and circulation spaces of 1500mm in changing rooms.
Cubicles should provide sufficient privacy for users, whether this is regarding toilet cubicles, individual shower cubicles, or individual changing room cubicles.
Whilst floor-to-ceiling cubicles in many instances are not a viable option due to the high ceilings of leisure centres, privacy can be achieved by minimising floor gaps and protecting against unwarranted peeping. Anti-peep channels can further be incorporated into cubicles.
Our Leisure Centre Cubicles
Excelsior specialises in the provision of cubicles for commercial sectors, including the leisure sector. We have a number of cubicle ranges that are designed to handle high traffic and wet environments, ensuring longevity, integrity, and cost-efficiency in these spaces.
The HydroSQ2 Cubicle Range is perfect for high traffic, wet, and humid environments. Free-standing cubicles can be achieved with this range, offering increased flexibility regarding the layout of the changing room.
This range is our most recommended for swimming pool changing rooms.
A full height, floor-to-ceiling system, providing users with total privacy. The Skyline Range is suitable for areas where enhanced privacy and comfort is required by visitors, and is available in SGL material for durability in wet environments.
The Senator Range offers premium aesthetics, and is suitable for prestigious leisure facilities with swimming pools, including gyms, golf courses and more. This versatile range meets all types of project specifications and user requirements for optimal comfort.
The Mariner Range is designed for use in wet areas, offering durability in spite of damp and wet environments. Because of this, the Mariner Range is suitable for use across wet changing rooms and shower cubicles, further providing vandal resistance for reduced wear and tear.
Available in SGL, this standard height cubicle range performs well in the leisure industry. The T-Line Range is easy to maintain and has a minimal, slimline appearance that complements existing surrounding designs.
All of Excelsior’s ranges featured above are available with a full range of accessories and vanity stations. This means the manufacture of your cubicle system is complete under one roof, eliminating the stress of sourcing auxiliary embellishments.
Our accessories include:
- Warm air dryers
- Paper towel dispensers
- Toilet paper dispensers
- Toilet roll holders
- Soap dispensers
- Grab rails and handles
- Coat hooks and door stops
- Waste bins
- Anti-peep channels
Excelsior has specialised in the manufacture, supply, and installation of cubicles for the commercial sector since 1978. For the latest advice on how you can maximise your changing room space whilst ensuring durability and performance, contact a member of our expert team today.
Alternatively, take a look at our varied work for leisure centres and swimming pools to discover what we can do for you.