Access Central - Universal Access Consultants
Experts in Changing Places Facilities
Universal Design, DDA and Accessibility Consulting.
Access Central is part of Egress Group and is a boutique disability access consulting firm. We specialise in universal design, access audits, expert witness statements, universal access, building accessibility, compliance statements, insurance investigations, risk mitigation, performance-based building codes and interpretation of DDA legislation.
Access Central offers a range of DDA disability access consulting services to meet your compliance needs.
Lee Wilson from Access Central helped develop the first Changing Places Information Kit in 2014 and has been an active campaigner and advocate for Changing Places facilities.
Lee is a Changing Places Assessor (CP020), Livable Housing Assessor (20012), SDA Accredited Assessor (SDA00040) and an Accredited Access Consultant (236). He has also served as a volunteer Subject Matter Expert for the Australian Building Codes Board since early 2018.
Please read the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below to learn more about the Changing Places Accreditation process and the use of the MLAK system.
Access Central is a private business and not part of www.changingplaces.org.au.
Download the new Design Specifications
Our Articles on Changing Places
Learn more about Changing Places Facilities
Facility Management Magazine - Accessible adult change facilities mandated in new Australian buildings, published May 2019
Australia is the first country in the world to mandate a new class of toilets in the Australian building codes. As of 1 May 2019, accessible adult change facilities will be required for some buildings in the National Construction Code 2019, writes LEE WILSON.
"Accessible adult change facilities are based on the Changing Places design, which is a vital facility design for people with complex disability and toiletry needs.
The Changing Places campaign started in the UK in 2006, and there are now 1300 Changing Places facilities across the UK. Awareness is still growing, with more facilities opening around the world. Ireland, Germany, Canada and Sweden have all joined the campaign and in Australia, the first Changing Places toilet opened in Ringwood, Victoria in 2014."
Sourceable - The Case for ‘Changing Places’ Toilets Part 1, published June 2015
Changing Places toilets fill an important gap in the current building codes requirements. They cater to a different user group compared to standard accessible (or disabled) toilets.
Toiles are a necessity for everyone. Everyone needs a toilet in their home or workplace and when we go out we expect to be able to use a toilet when visiting a public space or building. This should be a basic entitlement for every Australian. But unfortunately, it’s not the case for everyone.
Sourceable - The Case for ‘Changing Places’ Toilets Part 2, published June 2015
Public toilets are a necessity for everyone, but are suitable toilets available for everyone’s use?
These facilities, known as ‘Changing Places’, cater to a different user group that the current building codes and access standards ignore. ‘Changing Places’ will greatly benefit the 200,000 Australians with a severe or profound disability and will allow them greater access to the types of facilities with hoists and change tables they need.
Lee Wilson's Blog - Changing Places Toilet Opens in Ringwood Lake Park, The 1st in Australia, October 2014
On a windy, cold drizzly day the bad weather couldn’t dampen the excitement of the first Changing Places Toilet opening at Ringwood Park Lake.
Changing Places toilets cater for a different user group compared to accessible toilets that are already required in commercial buildings. Standard accessible toilets are designed for independent use by an individual and do have sufficient space, or the necessary features required by many people with severe or profound disabilities.
Frequently asked questions
What are Changing Places?
The new design specifications say that "Changing Places provide suitable facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. A Changing Places facility allows people with high support needs to fully participate in the community. This may include people with an acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, and motor neurone disease, as well as many other people with a disability."
What's inside a Changing Places?
Changing Places facilities provide:
What does a Changing Places Assessor do?
Changing Places Assessors are independent contractors. They are not employed
directly by Changing Places Australia or the Victorian State Government DHHS. The role of the Changing Places Assessor is to conduct assessments of the design and inspect as-built facilities against the design specifications described in the Changing Places
Design Specifications 2020.
What is the Changing Places Accreditation process?
The process includes an assessment in three stages:
If the facilities are constructed, we can be engaged to undertake an As-built Final Review only.
What do we need to provide you for the Changing Places Stage 1 Schematic Design review?
We need the following to complete the Schematic Design review:
What do we need to provide for the Changing Places Stage 2 Construction Documentation Design review?
We need the following to complete the Construction Documentation design review:
What is the Stage 3 As-Built Final Review Assessment?
If we didn't complete the first two design review stages, we need a copy of all Construction Documentation.
An inspection will be undertaken to ensure the as-built works are consistent with the design documentation.
If everything is compliant, a Statement of Compliance will be issued, and you can then contact www.changingplaces.org.au to have your facility added to their website.
What's an MLAK?
Accessible facilities in public spaces are prone to misuse, vandalism and poor treatment by people who fail to understand their importance in society. To address this problem the Master Locksmiths Association of Australia (MLAA) developed a new master key system in 1994-95, and after a trial with Pittwater Council, this was rolled out nationally. This system is known as the Master Locksmiths Access Key or simply ‘MLAK’ for short.
Where can I get an MLAK?
People wishing to use these accessible facilities can obtain a key from MLAA or in some cases, from their local Council. In fact, some more progressive Councils will even provide these keys for free. To control the use of the MLAK system, eligibility has been restricted to:
Which toilets use the MLAK?
To help people plan their trips, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia maintains a directory of MLAK-enabled facilities across Australia. Information is also available on the National Public Toilet Map which provides details of over 17,000 publicly available toilets across Australia, including those with accessible features such as adult change facilities and those that use of an MLAK. Additionally, many Councils promote the use of the MLAK.
When are MLAKs used?
The MLAK system is increasingly becoming popular for these reasons in many public spaces, such as:
Are you Accredited Access Consultants?
Yes, Accredited Member of the Association of Consultants in Access, Australia (ACAA) - Member 236, Lee Wilson is also a Changing Places Assessor (CP020), a Livable Housing Assessor (20012), and an SDA Accredited Assessor (SDA00040).
Who is the ACAA?
The Association of Consultants in Access, Australia Inc. (ACAA) is the national, membership-based, professional association for people working in building accessibility. It is the national body for Access Consultants in Australia. ACAA accredits members who have reached the required level of experience and competency.
Are you Qualified Access Consultants?
Yes, key personnel have undertaken extensive studies in building surveying, access, performance-based fire & building code and project management. These include undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
How do you work with clients?
Simply email your project scope, address, client's details, drawings, building surveyor's checklist, architect's comments, etc., to our office and we'll review then and call you or email you to discuss your needs.
What is a DDA Consultant?
DDA stands for the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and has become a title for a person or product that aims to meet the needs of people with disability. As a DDA Consultancy, we work on many projects across Australia attempting to improve the physical environment for everyone.
Where is your head office?
We are located in the Waterman Business Centre, 72 / 44 Lakeview Drive, Scoresby, Victoria, Australia, but we also have satellite offices in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.
Changing Places Accreditation
Three Simple Steps to Accrediation
Other Access Central Services
Expert DDA, accessibility and universal design advice
Architectural Design Reviews, DDA Compliance, Product Assessments, Universal Design
We can check the design of any building project for compliance with all disability and building accessibility requirements. Reduce risk, engaged Access Central at all design stages of a project.
Performance-based compliance. Expert advice on Performance Solutions (Alternative Solutions)
All buildings are different and don't always fit the black & white building code requirements. We're experts at developing performance-based solutions and can help identify efficiencies and resolve accessibility issues.
Compliance Reviews, Access Audits, Inspections, Insurance Investigations, Event Accessibility
Sometimes questions come up on projects and designs change. Access Central can inspect any building, whether it is existing or under construction to clarify compliance requirements.
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