Every company designing a new non-domestic public or private building will have to provide separate single-sex toilets for women and men and/or a self-contained, private toilet as a minimum.
That’s a new announcement that Government is bringing forward a consultation on new regulations, in a change which comes amid dignity and privacy concerns from women and elderly people who feel they are being unfairly disadvantaged as publicly accessible toilets are increasingly being converted into gender-neutral facilities.
Concerns over the rise of neutral gender facilities has meant that public have been forced to share cubicle and hand-washing facilities, leading to increasing waiting in shared queues, decreased choice and a limitation on privacy and dignity for all.
New regulations and guidance will mean women, who may need to use facilities more often because of pregnancy or sanitary needs, will now be guaranteed appropriate facilities either through a separate single-sex space or through a self-contained, private toilet.
The action taken today builds upon the Government’s commitment and wider approach to the protection of single sex spaces.
In addition to single sex toilets becoming the default and minimum for new non-residential buildings and places undertaking major refurbishment, the guidelines will encourage the consideration of self-contained toilets, which are a fully enclosed toilet room with a wash hand basin for individual use.
This new approach will help to maximise privacy and dignity for of all, which will be explicit in the guidance.
A new short technical consultation to shape the changes will open tomorrow.
Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “It is important that everybody has privacy and dignity when using public facilities. Yet the move towards ‘gender neutral’ toilets has removed this fundamental right for women and girls.
“These proposals will ensure every new building in England is required to provide separate male and female or unisex facilities, and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy and safety of all.”