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Buildings: Standards

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what guidance his Department has issued to local planning authorities in relation to the provisions of (a) building controls and (b) planning regulations in respect of the minimum number of (i) male and (ii) female lavatories to be provided in new premises with a use class of (A) A1, (B) A3, (C) A4, (D) C1, (E) D2 and (F) sui generis; (292693)

(2) pursuant to the answer to Baroness Greengross of 21 July 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, columns 305-6WA, on building regulations, what minimum levels of provision of (a) male and (b) female toilets are required in (i) new licensed premises and (ii) other new non-domestic premises.

No guidance regarding the number of lavatories to be provided in new buildings has been issued specifically to local planning authorities and planning regulations do not cover this area. However, current Building Regulations, in Part G (Hygiene), require that “adequate sanitary conveniences” are provided in new buildings. The accompanying guidance contained in Approved Document G draws attention to the fact that the number of appliances may be subject to other legislation, for example, on workplaces, but that British Standard 6465, Part 1: 1984 also provides a basis for showing compliance with the requirement.

Changes to Part G of the Building Regulations will come into force on 6 April 2010 and draft guidance has been issued. The revised guidance, in reference to buildings other than dwellings, states that the minimum number of sanitary conveniences for staff in workplaces, including separate provision for men and women, should be in accord with the Approved Code of Practice that supports the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The Approved Document also refers to the alternative guidance set out in BS 6465:2006 for those building types not covered by the Approved Code of Practice or in workplaces where the applicant wishes to provide more than that minimum level.

Our Strategic Guide on “Improving Public Access to Better Quality Toilets” (March 2008) provided general guidance to local authorities for managing and improving public toilets. Local authorities have powers under Section 20 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to require toilets to be provided and maintained for public use in any place providing entertainment, exhibitions or sporting events, and places serving food and drink for consumption on the premises, but it is for each authority to determine how these powers should be applied according to the circumstances of each case.