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Gender-specific toilets to be required in non-residential buildings in England Published Date: 10/05/2024

New restaurants, offices, schools and hospitals in England will be required to have separate male and female toilets, in a move ministers say will combat growing concerns about “privacy and dignity” in gender-neutral facilities.

The law will mean newly built non-residential buildings require separate facilities, and cannot solely have “universal” lavatories.

Changes to building regulations will ensure that:

  • separate single-sex toilets facilities are provided for men and women
  • self-contained, universal toilets may be provided in addition to single-sex toilets, where space allows
  • self-contained universal toilets may be provided instead of single-sex toilets only where lack of space reasonably precludes provision of single-sex toilet accommodation

Housing Minister Lee Rowley said:

We know all members of society value safety, privacy and dignity, and this new legislation will help ensure the right facilities are in place for everyone.

It is vital that new buildings, particularly in public spaces, are serving the community with right toilet provision.

Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch said:

These regulations will guide organisations to design unisex and single-sex toilets, ending the rise of so-called “gender-neutral” mixed sex toilet spaces, which deny privacy and dignity to both men and women.

Today’s announcement will also create better provision for women so that our particular biological, health and sanitary needs are met.

This is following our work last week limiting the use of mixed-sex wards in the NHS and demonstrates how this government is committed to ensuring single-sex spaces are protected for all.