7 design aspects to consider for your next public toilet building

Public toilet buildings are complicated, there are many small details that have a large impact.  Variations are stressful, result in unbudgeted costs and time delays, all of which can put the entire project into jeopardy.

To make the design process easier to navigate, we’ve put together a list of 7 things to consider when planning your next public toilet building.

Placement
First things first, where are you going to put your toilet building? What direction will it face?
The placement is incredibly important and must be very carefully thought out. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and there are many factors to consider.

The best thing you can do is seek advice from an expert at the beginning of your project. If your facility isn’t strategically placed, it can cause project delays and result in significant additional costs and unexpected variations down the track. We’ll take a deep dive into this in a future blog post.

Ventilation
How many times have you been into a public toilet and had to cover your nose because of the smell? Chances are, there were a few issues at play, one of them being adequate ventilation.

An essential element to consider is that your toilet building will have ample ventilation, this can be either natural or mechanical. The circulation of fresh air is essential, as it evacuates airborne germs and diseases whilst maintaining hygiene levels for users. Ventilation helps odour to escape ensuring a more comfortable user experience.

Building material selection plays a big part here. Where timber is used in construction of ‘wet’ rooms like these, it absorbs and retains odour as well as adding odours of dampness and decay over time.

Surfaces
A common concern we hear is the ongoing cleaning and maintenance of public toilet buildings. In order to meet and maintain hygiene and safety standards, it costs councils time and money.

Did you know that the materials and surfaces chosen can also have a significant impact on the cleaning and maintenance of these facilities?

What surfaces should you be looking for?
Flat internal cladding has a smaller surface area than corrugated cladding (pictured below), meaning there is less surface area to clean, this results in a reduction in ongoing cleaning and maintenance costs. This material repels bacteria and dirt such as Polymer, Composites and Metals, making it easier to clean and more hygienic for users. This is why it’s our preferred choice and what we recommend to our customers.

What are some materials and surfaces that you should be staying away from?
At the top of your list of things to avoid should be tiles and corrugated surfaces. Tiles can be problematic as the grout is known for absorbing dirt. Whereas corrugated surfaces also create spaces where dirt, insects and rubbish can gather.

Hand Washing
A key concern when it comes to public restrooms and amenities buildings is hygiene. What are some simple steps you can take to ensure your facility is as hygienic as possible?

Handwashing is a great place to start. Traditionally handwashing facilities have been located within the building itself. However, it’s worth considering having your handwashing station placed outside the toilet. Allowing users to wash their hands after exiting, eliminating the need for users to touch any doors, post handwashing, where they could potentially transfer or pick up germs.

This station should be equipped with an alcoholic hand sanitiser dispenser, offering a simple alternative. This eliminates the need for a hand dryer or paper towel making it cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Seat sanitation
Did you know that toilet seats can carry 50 bacteria per square inch?
To minimise the transfer of this bacteria, it’s worthwhile installing a seat sanitiser dispenser or wipes so users can clean the seat prior to use.

This is an added measure to ensure hygiene is maintained whilst providing users with peace of mind.

Doors
In recent years, there have been a variety of changes to doors in public restrooms, including the introduction of automatic doors. Many of these automations have been to improve hygiene standards. In some cases, a button still needs to be pressed to open the door, which minimises the effectiveness of these automations.

Instead, consider an outward opening door with a stainless-steel kick plate. This allows the user to exit the toilet building with minimal contact, preventing the transfer of bacteria.

Technological Innovations
You’ve sorted out the placement and materials for your facility, now you can move onto the user experience. Sensor technology can play a part in ensuring your facility is as hygienic and efficient as possible.

Additions such as sensor-operated flushing, hand washing, soap dispensing and hand drying all assist in providing a touch-free experience. Minimising the touchpoints within a toilet building plays a vital role in maintaining hygiene standards.

Even if you’re designing a touch-free facility, we still recommended installing your handwashing station outside the building to guarantee users will be germ-free after leaving the premises.

We hope you found this helpful and will help in your future planning.
There are of course many other elements to consider which we will touch on in future posts.

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