More Information on Public Toilets

**Anything in green is a clickable link**

Public Toilet Design

Our publication (2011) is a free 40-page guide that is full of user experiences, suggestions and ideas for anyone involved in public toilet provision.

Publicly Accessible Toilets – An Inclusive Design Guide (pdf)

The leading book on Public Toilets is:

Inclusive Urban Design: Public Toilets by Clara Greed. It covers design, legislation, planning, provision… a good place to start.

Public Toilet Provision

The above book is an excellent introduction to provision, but if you’re a Local Authority, Campaigner or Interested Party, you should look at the Government’s ‘official’ public toilet guidance document, from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG):

Improving Public Access to Better Quality Toilets: A Strategic Guide

Community Toilet Schemes

The above guide covers Community Toilet Schemes. But the Government also produced a follow-up report giving a case-study of a Community Toilet Scheme for guidance (and Westminster’s SatLav: a toilet-finding text service)

Improving Public Access to Toilets: Community Toilet Schemes and SatLav

Building Regulations

Legally, the only thing you need to comply with if you’re building public toilets (or those in restaurants, shops, workplaces etc) is the Building Regs. Part G is the relevant part.

British Standards

The British Standard for Toilets is BS6465: Sanitary Installations. If you have a subscription, or money, then definitely take a look. It’s essential reading for those creating new or refurbishing old toilets: Local Authorites, Architects, Designers, Builders & Town Planners.

It has 4 parts:

Part 1: “Sanitary installations. Code of practice for the design of sanitary facilities and scales of provision of sanitary and associated appliances” – which means ‘what toilets should I put in my shopping centre / workplace / restaurant / bus station / festival, and how many?’

Part 2: “Sanitary installations. Code of practice for space requirements for sanitary appliances” – I’ve never looked at this…

Part 3: “Sanitary installations. Code of practice for the selection, installation and maintenance of sanitary and associated appliances” — I’ve never looked at this either…

Part 4: “Sanitary installations. Code of practice for the provision of public toilets” – This is the exciting one – NEW FOR 2010! The first ever British Standard specifically for Public Toilets.

Government Research

One of the best bits of research is the 2008 DCLG Select Committee’s “Twelfth Report”: The Provision of Public Toilets. To view the research go to the second one down in this list at’s publication site. I’d recommend downloading it as a pdf, as the web version’s hard to get your head around.

Pages 1-37 of the page numbers (1-39 of the pdf) are a good introduction to the current state of public toilets in the UK.

Pages 38-41 of the page numbers (40-43 of the pdf) summarise the findings and recommendations of the investigation.

The rest of the document is written evidence and transcripts of oral evidence from a range of experts. This is excellent research.

Also from the list (or via this DCLG shortcut) is the Dept of Communities and Local Government’s Response to the Select Committee’s Recommendations, i.e. what the Government actually did.

(DCLG = Government, who do things. Select Committee = Parliament, made up of all MPs including opposition, who advise or want things, but the Government decides if it gets them. I found it difficult getting my head around what Select Committees were…).

An Urgent Need: The State of London’s public toilets (2006) was an investigation into the capital’s provision. Very interesting, and currently being reviewed.

Academic Research

Here’s a link to our own research project, Out of Order, which is part of the research project TACT3 (Tackling Ageing Continence) which in turn is part of the New Dynamics of Ageing cross-council research programme.

VivaCity2020 was an urban design research project by University College London (UCL), looking at the 24-hour City. Part 7. Public Conveniences looks at the Accessible away-from-home toilet.

It’s a huge piece of research, with a great publication called ‘The Accessible Toilet Resource’, that you can download for free here. I’m perhaps a little biased, since my supervisor on TACT3 is Jo-Anne Bichard, Research Fellow on Vivacity2020 Public Toilets project.

I’DGO – Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors – have a public toilet design guide as part of their Design of Streets with Older People in Mind series, based on research surveys completed by older people. It also includes its own list of references.

Here’s a chatty little Royal College of Art Dissertation (pdf) called Public Toilets: A Women’s Place (Designing Privacy into a Public Facility).  It talks about women in the public & private spheres, crime, vandalism and surveillance, and ending on a bit about Transformation Design (or Service Design).  It’s by ME!


The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste by Rose George. It sounds disgusting but it’s a great book; a sort of travelog of the world’s sanitation solutions, including London sewers, Tokyo’s hi-tech toilets, and third world initiatives. Really readable, even if you’re not interested in sanitation. My boyfriend read it, for example.

Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing by Harvey Molotch and Laura Noren is a selection of essays on various aspects of public toilets and gender. It’s New York based, but I don’t think it matters. I haven’t actually read it, but will and already assume it will be great.

At Women’s Convenience – Is a great book (and mercifully short) that clearly explains the issues of UK public toilet provision, produced by the Women’s Design Service. It’s 20 years old but still rings true, which says a lot… You can order it directly from them, here.


The British Toilet Association has a great website with lots of information on recent public toilet news, links to The Loo of the Year awards and material for their ‘Where can I go?’ campaign, for local groups wishing to fight for better facilities!

The BogBlog is a great site reviewing public and semi-public toilets (i.e. those in restaurants etc). It’s run by Fiona H who kindly posted a comment on this site.

The London Review of Toilets and The London Review of the Ladies’ are two delightful toilet-reviewing websites that border on the poetic. Reminds me of The Good Loo Guide from the 1960s, which, for 99p on Amazon, is worth every penny.

I think that’s enough for now…!

Still can’t find what you’re looking for?

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