New Trends In Restroom Design
The trend in building layout is moving towards single-occupant design for multiple reasons. First, people feel the safest when they have the room to themselves in a public facility and if a caregiver or parent needs to accompany someone of the opposite sex, they don’t offend anyone. Secondly, the buildings are now moving away from separately sexed restrooms towards a unisex approach, which creates a higher throughput and ends the long battle of long lines for the women’s restroom. Lastly, if there is a slow season or the restroom needs to be cleaned, the maintenance staff can always lock down one of the restroom doors, which helps reduce maintenance costs to only maintain which is needed.
The trend of undercutting the door (typically 4 inches from the floor) is a growing trend to allow police or municipal staff to see if someone is occupying the restroom. In areas that have homeless issues, it allows visibility of an occupant sleeping or occupying the facility for long periods of time. It also allows someone walking up to see if someone is already in the room, which adds to the safety aspect of knowing what you are approaching and feeling secure.
Toilet Compartments And Exterior Sinks
Creating a single-occupant building can become a place for homeless to loiter. By moving the sinks to the exterior of the building, it forces people to use the facility and then leave to wash their hands. To incorporate cleanliness and safety into this design, we have built in anti-microbial components in our push plates to exit the restroom since hand washing isn’t an option. This trend has really helped reduce overall vagrancy and crime, and it reduces the overall footprint size of the building—therefore reducing cost.
Automatic Magnetic Door Locking System
Another way to help reduce maintenance costs is to reduce the amount of time it takes for staff to go lock and unlock the restrooms in the morning and evening. The trend is now to offer an automatic magnetic door lock, which is controlled by a time clock that will lock and unlock the restroom. This allows the maintenance staff more flexibility when they can stop by to do their hose- down maintenance. If someone is in the restroom and the magnet engages, there is a release button on the inside to allow the magnet to temporarily disengage, and then it will reconnect.
Are drinking fountains going to obsolete in the future? It seems everyone carries a bottle around these days. We are now adding bottle fillers to most restrooms, which is available with a filter. Most municipalities request a bottle filler above the hi-lo drinking fountain. Also, a water chiller can be added to provide cool water in areas of the country that require it.