Problem Solver - August 2015
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Problem Solver Questions & Answers

Ensure Restrooms Can Handle Tough Conditions

Restroom structures have to be able to take a lot of use and abuse. Whether they're located at sites that are subject to harsh weather or they have to deal with the abuse of vandals—or even just the daily wear and tear of regular usage—restroom structures need to be built to stand up under pressure. By taking the time to plan your restroom structure purchase, making sure your choice is the best selection for your site's context, you'll be sure to find the right solution—one that can handle rough-and-tumble conditions.

Q: We are in a region that sees a great deal of severe weather events. What should we consider when purchasing a restroom structure to ensure it can handle the heavy snow of winter and strong storms of summer?

A: In the case of severe weather, the quality of your restroom structure—its materials and construction—really matter. Look for a restroom structure that has high-strength precast concrete roofs and walls that meet local building codes. Steel door frames and window frames that are cast into the concrete walls will ensure that no bolts or fasteners can come loose. This ensures the windows and doors can't be blown off or ripped off.

Concrete panels that are welded together will also be a benefit, as this makes the structure practically as strong as a small bomb shelter. This will ensure it can handle severe weather conditions, from heavy snow and wind, to hurricanes, flooding and mud, zone-4 seismic loads and more.

A precast concrete restroom is the best option if you're looking for an extremely durable structure. Even better, this type of building is typically prefabricated and delivered complete and ready for use, including electrical and plumbing. All-concrete construction ensures the building will not only stand up to abuse by the elements and humans, but also will withstand rot and rust, while being easy to maintain.

Q: We are concerned about vandalism in our park restrooms. What should we look for to ensure our restrooms can handle this kind of abuse?

A: Vandalism can be a big problem in some locations, and it takes a heavy toll on your park and its amenities. Facilities that have been vandalized or tagged with graffiti give a bad impression, leading visitors to assume that crime and other bad behavior might go unnoticed. A restroom structure that can deter vandals is a smart choice.

Just as with nasty weather, vandalism can be handled best by a precast concrete restroom. Concrete is more durable than many other materials and can withstand a lot of abuse—even gunshots.

It's best if you try to prevent graffiti and vandalism entirely. If you remove graffiti within 48 hours, studies have shown that there will be a near-zero recurrence rate. When you ignore the problem, on the other hand, the recurrence rate shoots up rapidly.

In addition to choosing hardy structures that can stand up to abuse, consider installing proper lighting and motion detectors. Well-lit areas are usually shunned by nighttime vandals.

Q: What about the interior of our restroom structure? Are there designs that can help prevent problems?

A: The inside of the restroom structure can be designed to help ensure your facility lasts a long time, and also to discourage vandalism. Look for soap and paper towel dispensers that are built into the wall. In addition, you can find wall vents, grab bars and toilet paper holders that feature tamper-resistant screws to prevent trouble.


CXT Inc.

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