View Full Version : Designing showers for improved accessibility

14-09-16, 14:53

My name is Paul Barnes and I'm a 4th-year Industrial Design student at North Carolina State University. I'm conducting research for a design project that aims to create an improved pre-made curbless (AKA zero-threshold or roll-in) shower basin. My group and I are looking to design a product that is visually appealing, inclusive of interior design and construction factors, simpler to install, and most importantly increases accessibility and decreases fall risk. In the next generation of bathroom products, we see the potential for this research to make a real difference in increasing the availability of safer and more comfortable shower options to the disabled community.

To do this, we'll be interviewing the following participant groups:

- Shower users with disabilities
- Shower users with young children
- Older shower users
- Design showroom employees or managers
- Hotel managers
- Hotel housekeeping staff
- Interior designers and architects
- Kitchen & bath contractors and remodelers (general, plumbing, tile, glass)
- Homeowners who have remodeled

If any of the above apply to you, your input would be valuable to us. If you're interested, you can use this link to our survey (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdztaYGR73gVtIoWS3E_iP4oOxtWO9ILelo-OjazTzW2LMY7w/viewform?c=0&w=1). Interviews are very helpful, so please let me know if you're available to be contacted regarding scheduling one.

Feel free to respond with any questions or comments in this forum or at my email, dpbarnes@ncsu.edu. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can work with the community to address this challenge.

Example of a barrier-free shower:

14-09-16, 15:35
what happened to age 55-65? Try again mate!

14-09-16, 15:51
The other question is how much are you going to charge to come from North Carolina to 'Work with community' here in the UK?

14-09-16, 17:00
When he says work with the community I believe he means figuratively and not physically.

It's research to what seems to be a good cause potentially in aid of a dissertation? I personally am all for it - If it could potentially aid disabled people in the future it's something I think many could benefit from. Let's give the team a chance.


14-09-16, 21:27
Good catch, thank you for the feedback. I did check the link but should have gone through the survey before sending...I apologize for the lapse in professionalism. As of now we've fixed the survey and updated the link.

In regards to nukecad's question, we're doing a lot of local interviews and other research, but I was also referring to the online community of this and other forums. I don't mean to be presumptuous in this matter, and we wanted to reach out to you all because we value a variety of opinions. I'll also add that we've been in contact with a UK-based bath company with locations in North America about developing this product.

15-09-16, 10:13
i would suggest you do more research online. there are a number of companies who already do this work - at least here in the UK. The big issue for many disabled people is PRICE!! Sure if i had £10,000 I could have a lovely bathroom. But I don't have that money. Second problem, some of us are in rented accom, where the landlord has to either give permission or is under no obligation to fund the work himself.

15-09-16, 11:44
I had a new Shower unit with wet floor fitted in four weeks ago and it is fantastic.

Cost.....£0.00 as it was done through Occupational Therapist, Social Services and my Housing Association.

15-09-16, 16:33
The Local Authority can offer a Disabled Facilities Grant to people who need major adaptations to their home. It's means tested which means if you have savings you will have to contribute some or you might not be eligible for a grant.

The grant is open to home owners and social housing tenants via their landlord.

Invariable the Local Authority will combine a wet-room and external ramp into one job.

I gave up with trying to find a grant but it does mean I'll have to fund my own wet-room to the tune of £8,500.

Here are the plans - not ideal but it's level access even with a concrete floor. This style shower may be OK for now but if I get worse this might need to be revamped again. The square shape with the diagonals indicates where a shallow tray will sit to collect the spray. Notice there's no shower curtain or glass door/screen.


15-09-16, 16:47
Is that door wide enough LT?

I'm assuming that your not looking to get a wheelchair in there but you might want/need to in future.

UK building control recommend 830mm (minimum 800mm) clear opening for wheelchair access.

Just a thought; it may be as well to consider getting a wider door put in while you are having the work done.
Probably add another wodge of cost though.

15-09-16, 17:15
Well spotted. The door width is just 27 inches not the standard 30 inches as presently there's a 500mm radiator to the right of the door. In the drawing fhey've moved the heated towel rail to under the window on the right.

Knocking part of brick walls down involves electrician, plumber, joiner, builder plaster and decorator, carpet fitter. The bill would run into four figures to widen the door a few inches.

17-09-16, 09:52
What's next to the bathroom? If it happens to be a spare small bedroom/box room that you could live without, is it worth considering making a bigger bathroom. Obviously will be expensive, but would be future proof (and nicer to use now). As you say, just widening a door involves a lot of work. I reckon it makes a lot of sense for you to have a bathroom you could access in a wheelchair, think about really difficult days or if you were unwell/needed surgery, etc. Can happen to any of us. I know you've saved hard for your money, but you can't put a price on making life easier. Just a thought!

17-09-16, 13:41
I would have thought it would be more cost effective to have it done while works in progress than to leave it and then have all the upset again. Plus it will cost more to have it done at a later date.

17-09-16, 16:39
The bathroom door width was brought to my attention at the beginning before plans were drawn. It's probably taken 10 weeks to get to this design stage.

In the meantime I've revamped the hall and two bedrooms while there was a window of opportunity.

The trouble with wet rooms they devalue your house value. If I was to make the bathroom bigget I'd have to do radical work to the hall and 2nd bedroom.

You have made me think that I could add an en-suûte shower/ toilet as the toilet soil pipe is feet away then just install a standard new bathroom in original bathroom - it's wooden board flooring in the double bed room next door.

I need to have a ponder!

17-09-16, 16:49
Fliss I have to go to Salford Hospital on Monday morning to discuss surgery options. They've suggestef that my curvature of the spine could be fixed with steel rods in my lumber region.

It would take months to heal and on the downside it could paralyse me from the waist down or worse!!!