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Specifying and installing ambulant accessible toilets: an essential guide

Most architects, designers and plumbers will have heard of the term ‘ambulant toilet’ – but even if you’re not familiar with this term, you probably know what it means just from experience.
Close-coupled ambulant concealed Doc M toilet pack
Close-coupled ambulant concealed Doc M toilet pack

What does ambulant mean?

Ambulant accessible toilets are toilet cubicles that have been specifically adapted for people with disabilities who are able to walk.  The word ambulant is derived from the Latin ‘ambulare’, which means ‘to walk’.  Ambulant toilets may seem like normal toilets with a few extra grab rails, but in fact, more goes into planning these spaces than you might think.
Back to wall exposed ambulant Doc M toilet pack
Back to wall exposed ambulant Doc M toilet pack

Who uses ambulant toilets?

Ambulant toilets can be used by a very wide range of people with disabilities that do not limit them to a wheelchair.  They may have mobility impairments caused by injury or illness, or they may be visually impaired.  Ambulant toilets are designed to provide an extra level of support, enabling disabled people to use the toilet independently.

What makes an ambulant toilet different?

Ambulant toilets have a number of key differences compared to non-accessible toilet cubicles – and it’s not all about grab rails.


Ambulant toilets are required to have a minimum width (800mm), and also more manoeuvering space than a standard cubicle or WC. 

Grab rails

Ambulant toilets are required to have three assistive grab rails positioned according to strict regulations, to assist the user. One of these rails will be fitted to the inside of the cubicle door, which should be outward opening to maximise the useful space inside the cubicle, and the door opening itself must be at least 650mm wide.

Light Reflectance Values

Ambulant toilets should adhere to the LRV requirements set out in Doc M, allowing for visual differentiation between the rails and the surface they are mounted on.

Toilet height

Any cubicle for use by ambulant disabled people must have a WC pan that conforms to BS EN 997:2012 – the key dimensions designed to accommodate the use of a variable height toilet seat riser. All WC pans offered by NYMAS Group conform to this standard. Here is an example layout showing the correct installation of a NYMAS Group AMBCCC Close Coupled Ambulant Doc M Toilet Pack:

Why and when do I need to spec an ambulant toilet?

Ambulant toilets are a requirement of the Doc M part of the Building Regulations. At least one ambulant toilet cubicle is required per separate-sex toilet accommodation. The presence of this facility helps avoid unnecessary travel to unisex toilet accommodation.  Careful planning of washroom locations is pivotal for a building’s design success. If there is only one cubicle in the toilet accommodation, then this must be suitable for an ambulant disabled person.

What comes in a NYMAS Group Ambulant pack?

NYMAS Group’s standard Ambulant Accessible Toilet Packs include:
  • 2x 600mm grab rails per pack – usually fitted either side of the WC Pan
  • 1x 450mm grab rail – to be fitted to the inside of the door, used as a closing bar
  • 1x Doc M pan
  • 1x Cistern (plus WRAS approved fittings pack)
  • 1x Ring only toilet seat
If necessary, you can request an additional single 600mm rail for vertical mounting.  Careful installation of the pack is critical to achieving Part M (building regulations) approval, and includes consideration of the activity space inside the cubicle as well as the placement of accessories such as clothing hooks and tissue paper dispensers. Full details of the Doc M layout requirement can be seen below:

What packs are available?

NYMAS Group have ambulant packs available in a range of formats (back to wall, close coupled etc) and colours, available in steel and stainless steel.  For the full list of available packs, visit our website and simply search ‘ambulant’ or click here. Finally, when it comes to accessible design, our experienced team is on hand to answer your questions.  Call us on +44 (0)1642 710 719, or email for expert advice and product samples.