A Comparative Study on the Legislation of Standards for Accessible Public Toilets of the United Kingdom and Hong Kong

By Kin Wai Michael Siu, Jiang Yan Lu and Annie W. Y. Ng.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Toilet is one of the most important constructed environments for human beings. However, as commented by the United Nations, whether this important space for sanitation is accessible for all is a critical issue for modern society. In recent years, to promote and implement equal opportunity, accessible public toilet has become a more common facility in modern cities. More countries and individual cities have also established their specific ordinances, regulations, codes of practice and guidelines for accessible public toilets. However, whether the quality of accessible public toilets meets the needs and preferences of users with different capabilities is still a question. Disregarding its success in economic development, Hong Kong is a city that is constantly being criticised by local residents and visitors alike about the quality of its public toilets. Persons with disabilities also always complain about the unavailability and inaccessibility of public toilets. A study on accessible public toilets has been conducted in Hong Kong since 2009. The study aims to review and then improve the quality of accessible public toilets. One of the key areas of the study is to compare the legislation of standards for accessible public toilets in different places. Through a review of the legislation of standards of accessible public toilets in the United Kingdom ― a country with well-developed legislation and standards for persons with disabilities to access toilets ― and then a comparison with those of Hong Kong, this paper aims to generate inspirations for the improvement of the standards of accessible public toilets and in turn to promote equal opportunity for all.

Keywords: Accessible Public Toilet, Legislation, Standards, Equal Opportunity

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.127-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 734.055KB).

Prof. Kin Wai Michael Siu

Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Kin Wai Michael Siu is Professor and Lab Leader of the Public Design Lab, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests are in public design, and inclusive and universal design.

Dr. Jiang Yan Lu

Assistant Professor, School of Design, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China

Jiang Yan Lu is Associate Professor of the School of Design, Wuhan University of Technology, China. Her research interests are in design standards and universal design. She was Research Associate of the School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Dr. Annie W. Y. Ng

School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Annie W. Y. Ng is now with the School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focus is in the domain of ergonomics and human factors, visual communication, and human-interface interaction.