Problem Solver - August 2008
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Adding Restrooms in Remote Locations

No matter what bears do in the woods, people who are out in your more remote locations—for hiking, skiing, camping or other activities—will be delighted if you provide some pleasant facilities. But installing restrooms at remote sites can be worrisome for park directors and site managers. Concerns about inclement weather, the impact of earthquakes, the effects of vandalism and graffiti or even just simple maintenance issues loom large in these managers' minds. Fortunately, if you find and install the right facility, you will have no need to worry.

Q: What kind of restroom should I choose for our more remote sites?

A: You'll do well with a pre-engineered facility. If your site is remote, you might want to find a building that can be shipped in sections, which will make it easier to get the structure to your remote sites.

Your major concerns will be the size of the structure, the fixtures and hardware, accessibility issues, vandal-resistance and ease of maintenance. But with your manufacturer's help, you'll be able to tackle these concerns and find a restroom building to suit your site. Manufacturers these days offer vault restrooms in a number of styles and with features to suit just about any situation.

And you're not limited to a simple restroom, either. You can find vault restrooms that also include storage areas. This will come in handy when maintenance crews make their pass through the facility to replace toilet paper, check for graffiti and other tasks.

If your site is less remote and includes plumbing, you can also find structures that include shower facilities, dressing rooms, attached shelters and concessions.

Q: We want to be sure our restroom facility will fit in with the rustic look of our site. How can we find a structure that will suit the setting?

A: Manufacturers produce many styles of pre-engineered buildings in a multitude of colors and textures, so finding a structure to suit your site will be a snap. If your site is a wooded forest preserve, you might want to consider textures like cedar shake, exposed aggregate or barnwood. Textures like fieldstone and river rock also look pleasant in rustic settings, especially in mountainous or rocky areas. And stucco-textured exteriors will fit in nicely in desert locations.

Q: How can we find a restroom that will be both pleasing to the eye and to the nose?

A: There's good news on this front. Smelly vault restroom structures are a thing of the past, thanks to updated technologies that have mastered the odor. Facilities fitted with vent pipes facing south to be heated by the sun create a continual air flow through the building. This carries vault air out through the vent pipe rather than the building, which means users won't have to hold their noses when they step through the door.

Q: How can I be sure my restroom structure will stand up to the nasty weather we get in the area?

A: Bad weather needn't concern you—if you get the right structure. Choose a facility with high-strength precast concrete roofs and walls that meet local building codes. Steel frames on doors and windows that are cast into the concrete mean no bolts or fasteners can come loose, which will prevent them from being blown off or ripped off by vandals.

Manufacturers offer buildings that can withstand all kinds of weather, from heavy winds and hurricanes to high snow loads, and even zone 4 earthquakes.

Q: Should I be worried about maintenance issues and vandalism?

A: You can deter would-be vandals and wanna-be graffiti artists by selecting the right materials. Concrete structures easily withstand vandalism, while brick and wood are more vulnerable. Dark and rough surfaces also deter vandals. A protective coating is also important—it allows graffiti to be removed without damaging the paint or surface beneath.

Once inside, vandals will be deterred by amenities that are built into the wall. This way, your soap and paper towel dispensers can't be ripped off. Wall vents, grab bars and toilet paper holders are all available with tamper-resistant screws.

Finally, be vigilant. Simple, regular maintenance schedules will go a long way in not only preventing vandalism and graffiti, but will also ensure your restroom remains clean and well-supplied. Maintain a regular schedule for your staff to clean the facility and check for maintenance issues and repair requirements. This will also ensure that when graffiti and vandalism does occur, someone on your staff will be quick to react.

CXT Inc.: