Skip to main content

Sanitary compartment construction

February 21, 2019

Most builders would be aware that the NCC contains provisions that control which way a door can open in a toilet. For example, if a toilet is in a powder room and doesn't have a 1.2m clear space between the pan and the swing of the door, the door must open outwards, slide or if open inwards have lift off hinges.

A common question HIA’s building services team often receives is; where is this measured from and can the powder room have a hand basin or small vanity within the 1.2m space that’s between the pan and the swing of the door?

The following guidance will provide some assistance in answering these questions.

The Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions, F2.5 of NCC Volume One and 3.8.3.3 of NCC Volume Two, require that unless there is a clear space of at least 1.2m between the closet pan and the doorway, the door to a fully enclosed sanitary compartment (toilet) must open outwards or slide or be readily removable from the outside of the sanitary compartment.

What is a sanitary compartment?  The BCA defines a sanitary compartment as a room or space containing a closet pan or urinal.

Therefore, the first thing to consider is; does the room or space contain a closet pan or urinal? The provisions don’t apply to a bathroom that does not contain a closet pan.

Secondly, is the sanitary compartment fully enclosed? i.e. three full height walls or partitions, and a full height door or door without a gap that is big enough to allow removal of a person who may have collapsed in the compartment.

Thirdly, is there a clear space of 1.2m, measured between the door and the closet pan in the direction of the swing been provided?  Note the provision only applies to the closet pan, therefore other fixtures such as hand basins or vanities can be within the clear space.

If the sanitary compartment is fully enclosed and there is not a 1.2m clear space between the closet pan and the doorway, the door must open outwards, be a sliding door or be readily removable from the outside (e.g. via “lift-off” hinges).

For further information and configuration examples, read Constructions of sanitary compartments by ABCB or contact the Building Services team on 1300 650 620.