Practical advice on barrier free building

Things to know about a shower

Showers have changed a lot in the last 20 years. Nearly every shower used to have a 30cm high shower tray, with a multiple element sliding door, now more and more have a floor level, barrierfreedom shower tray. The creative advantage of floor tiles continuing into the shower produces new possibilities, even to creating “wellness bathrooms”.

Shower recesses with a wall panel, onto which the faucets and the heated towel rail at the back, are fitted fill the bathroom also in the middle of the room. Whereas ten years ago barrierfreedom showers merely had middle drainage that could  only be put in using small tiles, the showers today offer completely new possibilities, with the shower channel or invisible wall drainage, for example the laying of large  floor tiles in the shower.

The following criteria should be observed for a barrierfreedom and possibly wheelchair friendly shower:

 

  • flat flooring to the bathroom with a maximum of 2cms decline.
  • any transitions should be sloped.
  • installation of the drainage system should be especially flat – insertion is possible with a small structural difference (depending on the given circumstances).
  • shower doors can be avoided by cleverly positioned glass, partitions or bracket walls.
  • if necessary, folding partitions can be installed with contrasting handles.
  • good navigation is ensured with the 10mm lowered “tray” which has a special kerb, like a ramp.
  • another possibility is the completely flat shower tray with a small molding.
  • basically, the area for movement in the barrierfreedom shower should be at least 1.20 x 1.20 m and for a wheelchair friendly shower 1.50 x 1.50 m.
  • shower mixer taps, with a hand shower, which ideally include all round, fixed handrails : 85cms from the upper rim of the tray.
  • the mixer faucet should always point down in order to avoid danger of injury to the blind or partially blind.

 

An article by the architect Uli Müller, www.umaco.de