Accessible adult change facilities…
A recent amendment to the National Construction Code requires certain new projects to include Accessible adult change facilities, which are modelled along the lines of the Changing Places initiative that extends the concept of accessible toilet facilities to cater for a wider range of disability.
Not all premises are new or even large enough to require compliance with the amendment, but there is one organisation that decided that voluntary compliance would be a desirable outcome so a wider range of people with a disability could be included in its activities.
Kevin Heinze Grow is a large charitable organisation dedicated to providing enabling environments for people with disabilities. It was established in Doncaster in 1979 by celebrity gardener Kevin Heinze, who promoted the value of horticulture as a basis for therapeutic programs that engender human health and well-being.
The centre commenced its operations in Doncaster with the support of the Doncaster and Templestowe Kiwanis Club, aided by the local (now Manningham) Council who assisted the initiative by securing a lease on the land in Wetherby Road, where the Centre still thrives.
A large team of professional staff supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, provides support programmes for over 70 individual participants – but more could be done. The Centre currently does not have the appropriate toilet facilities for individuals with profound disabilities, but who would benefit from the programmes. This is the need which inspired this project.
Architecture and Access, with extensive experience in accessibility, and experience in the design of Changing Places facilities, was a logical choice to consult. The project brief was quite simple – incorporate the requirements of the National Construction Code, but ‘give us something relocatable in the event the site lease terminates’.
The solution was inspired by shipping containers, the archetypal relocatable object, but nevertheless with some rigid spatial limitations.
The National Construction Code (NCC) requirements for Accessible adult change facilities are specific – defining both content and spaces to be provided. By expanding the footprint and the height so they still fit within the permissible limits of road authorities, and by using a structural system with some flexible dimensional possibilities, Architecture & Access has been able to fit what is required. This has included fitting an Accessible WC, basin, shower, and ceiling hoist, into a box with a verandah, that can be factory-built, transported to the site, placed on a purpose-built platform, and connected to services.
The project will be largely funded by a successful crowd-funding campaign, with some pro-bono input from a range of organisations – including Architecture & Access. ‘Collaborating with Kevin Heinze Grow allows the Architecture & Access team to realise our mission. Our goal is to create safe, functional and accessible environments that enable people to experience life equally with confidence and dignity’, says Aaron Stowe, Manager Architecture & Project Management Architecture & Access.
It is intended that artwork with a horticultural theme could be completed by any clients of Kevin Heinze Grow who possess an artistic flair.