Feature Article - September 2018
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A Necessary Service

Restroom Structures Take On Different Situations

By Deborah L. Vence

Do's and Dont's

When choosing restroom structures, keeping in mind some do's and don'ts is important.

"My big do is to look at the fixtures you are using," Earlywine said. "If you are in an area that's water stressed, you can save a ton of water."

Earlywine also included the following do's and don'ts:

  • Do spend at least a little bit of time and/or money on making the interior look nice. A fresh coat of paint, something other than white, can liven up the space and make it more pleasant for the visitors who will be literally staring at the walls for extended periods of time.
  • Do position the restroom in a place where it is easily accessible and in an area in which utilities are close by as that can significantly reduce the cost of the project. Having the restroom in the ideal location may not be ideal if it doubles the cost of the restroom project.
  • Do research the options. There are many different solutions for providing restrooms to the public. Making a decision simply because it is easy to procure could be a bad decision negatively affecting the area for decades.
  • Do not assume that the utilities have to be present in order to provide a restroom.
  • Do not automatically assume that public restrooms need to have stainless steel fixtures. If the area has a history of heavy vandalism, then vandal-resistant fixtures are likely needed. If not, porcelain fixtures will save a lot on cost.
  • Do not skimp on cleaning the restroom. Most people do not like cleaning restrooms, but it is a vital service and will be very appreciated by the public. A restroom is kind of like a car. Cleaning and maintaining it may be a chore and cost money, but it is a valuable asset that provides a great benefit.

Meanwhile, Kaufman added his take on a few critical do's as well. He noted the following:

  • Locate the restroom near vehicle access for security vehicles to pass by.
  • Size the restroom fixture count to add more fixtures for female use due to usage time.
  • Use architectural design materials that can stand the test of vandals and abuse.
  • Use proven components that last 50 years to minimize maintenance by paying more for them up front.
  • Select anti-microbial components to reduce health issues.
  • Design the restroom with non-absorbent finishes to eliminate odor.