A Matter Of Convenience
As the saying goes, if you want to know what a venue is really like – check out the loos. Anyone who has ever been in an uncomfortable and poorly laid out public washroom will value the importance of good toilet design. The increased demands placed on heavily used facilities require careful consideration and planning. It goes without saying that well-designed washrooms should at least be clean, dry, well ventilated and user friendly.
Modern designs continue to become ever more stylish, sophisticated and eco-friendly, from urinals with television screens to all-in-one toilet, sink and vanity table units. But Mike Bone managing director of the Loo of the Year awards advises that it is often the little things that go a long way in providing outstanding washroom facilities. “Award winning holiday park toilets have the ‘wow factor’ as they provide attractive loos that make away from home toilet use a pleasure, not a concern,” says Mike. “Fresh flowers, excellent ventilation, dry floors, constant availability of toilet tissue and hand wash soap and a safe and hygienic environment separate winning loos from those that will deter visitors from booking again.”
Last year 67 per cent of the holiday parks that entered the prestigious Loo of the Year Awards achieved the highest Platinum grade for their washroom facilities. The awards provide a valuable monitor of the standard of the essential provision of park toilets. In addition to gaining an independent assessment and grading of their toilet facilities, entrants also gain recognition and benchmarking for their parks. Mike adds: “Holiday park guests are away from home and expect the standards in the parks toilets and showers to be at least to the standard they set at home. They will return to those parks that provide the toilet facilities that meet their needs and avoid those that don’t.” Paul Wonnacott, managing director of Vectair Systems agrees that holiday parks should be prioritising washrooms as part of the overall customer experience: “It is not just about the toilet actually being clean, it is also about perception. “With so many online reviews now being uploaded, holiday parks need to smarten up their washrooms.
Cleanliness is a key consideration when people book their holidays – if the washroom isn’t clean, is the kitchen? What about the rooms?” Vectair Systems manufacture and supply holiday parks with cleaning and hygiene products including soap dispensers, luxurious soaps, surface cleaners, air fresheners, odour removers and urinal screens. Paul reveals that ‘touch free’ equipment, where the individual doesn’t have to touch anything to wash their hands is a buzzword at the moment when it comes to current washroom trends. “Customers want easyto- use systems that are safe and effective. For example, automatic soap dispensers are popular now as they are ‘touch free’ and therefore are quick and hygienic,” says Paul. He adds: “The Ebola outbreak has been an important reminder to those who do have access to clean water and sanitation, of how lucky we really are. It also serves as a reminder to us as individuals to make sure we wash our hands regularly – and to venues to ensure they provide the right services for us to do that.” Another trend and one that has come over from Asia, is that washroom systems are quiet and discreet. Ladies washrooms especially require systems that don’t make a lot of noise, enabling females to dispose of sanitary waste discreetly.
Automatic sensor controlled sanitary ware and taps is another popular trend in washrooms at the moment. As well as being environmentally friendly, substantial cost savings can be made by limiting the water that is used from the taps, toilets and urinals and by preventing taps from being left running. Paul comments: “As for a trend that is still hanging on in there – we believe it is the co-ordinated washroom. Although not a trend in all countries, many European countries and holiday parks prefer their washroom dispensers to match, although the traditional white is perhaps now on par with new offerings like chrome and black.” For those that are considering upgrading their washroom facilities, it’s worth seeking expert advice from a reputable company that can advise on all aspects of construction, design and building regulations that should be adhered to.
“When considering a new build washroom block or refurbishing an existing facility there are many building related health and safety issues to consider,” explains Andy Seddon of Commercial Washrooms. “Depending on the scale of the development the project is likely to be affected by the CDM regulations as well as local authority building control. Our advice is to appoint and work with a reputable building firm, ideally one who specialises in commercial washroom and toilet refurbishment projects.” Commercial Washrooms is an off-shoot of Lan Services and specialises in a supply only service, supporting companies who wish to self-project-manage their washroom refurbishment or repair project. Andy advises that a full refurbishment of the washroom facilities should be undertaken approximately every 10 years. If the project is properly planned from the outset and the materials, sanitary ware, fixtures and fittings selected carefully for the intended environment and frequency of use then the washrooms should last this long with no trouble what-so-ever. It goes without saying that for the washroom to withstand the extreme use it will no doubt encounter over a decade, it should receive periodic inspection and the replacement of broken or failing parts and regular cleaning maintenance will also prolong the life span of any commercial washroom. Andy also recommends investing wisely in high quality equipment that is durable and hard wearing: “Exploring the different types and qualities of materials on offer is essential.
Editorial Contributors Include:
Bushboard Washroom Systems Tel. 01536 533620 www.bushboard-washrooms.co.uk
Dunhams Washroom Systems Tel. 01603 424855 www.dunhamswashrooms.com
Commercial Washrooms Tel. 01202 650900 www.commercialwashroomsltd.co.uk
Spectrum Cubicles Tel. 01244 333 488 www.spectrumcubicles.com
Vectair Systems Tel. 01256 319500 www.vectairsystems.com
Loo of the Year Aw ards Tel. 01403 258779 www.loo.co.uk