AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Jane Herbert on well-spent investment in washroom facilities…
As the UK staycation boom continues, the focus has never been so intense on the need for holiday park and campsite operators to provide top quality facilities. Footfalls are higher but the customers also ever more discerning, as the industry attracts a new level of clientele. Lee Robinson of Yorkshire based Cubicle Centre who have manufactured, supplied and installed many thousands of bespoke washroom cubicles all over the UK.
Lee advises: “Robustness and longevity of product is key to ensuring your washroom stays in tip-top condition throughout the season. “The smallest rooms in the building really can lead to the biggest frustrations,” Lee explains. “The main pitfall we see in washroom design is when someone has chosen an unsuitable material for cubicles and they end up being completely unfit for purpose.” The Cubicle Centre’s Cairngorm range is the perfect solution for high traffic areas and the ideal choice for many busy campsites, such as Pillaton Hall Farm in Staffordshire.
The Cubicle Centre designed the waterproof, hardwearing and easy to clean cubicles and matching vanity units, made from CGL (Compact Grade Laminate). The facilities at Pillaton were also made to be child-friendly, with low profile wash basins and urinals. “We were pleased with the completed washrooms in our new facilities block. Our customer feedback since the opening has been amazing,” says Pillaton Hall Farm owner, Dave Pearce.
Appealing to everyone in the family, as well as the needs of less able visitors, is an increasingly important design consideration. According to Lee, washrooms are now much more likely to include family facilities, as well as privacy screens. Having a specific dry area within shower cubicles is also a necessity. “Our washroom panels at a recent caravan park installation in Snowdonia are a good example of dry area provision within a shower cubicle,” says Lee. “The design includes custom bench seating within the units for both practicality and cleanliness.” Dorset-based Commercial Washrooms offer a full turn-key washroom refurbishment and cubicle installation service.
Managing Director, Andy Seddon, highlights their refurbishment of the washrooms at Oakdene Holiday Park in Dorset as an example of how design excellence means combining key functionality with aesthetics. “The main entertainment building at Oakdene is a busy environment with a high footfall,” explains Andy. “The owners were conscious that the new washrooms must be durable, hard wearing and easy to clean, but also knew how important it was to make these washrooms a warm and inviting space.” “Products must be robust and long lasting, whilst at the same time offering a top end look and feel. With large volumes of users in a short amount of time, cleaning, maintenance and replenishment of consumables are all key factors in washroom planning and design.”
A consequence of the Covid pandemic has been the huge increase in awareness and standards of hygiene in all public (and private) spaces. “The biggest uplift we have seen is the use of sensor taps and flush controls in order to make washrooms “touch free” and thus more hygienic,” says Andy. “Sensor taps are becoming more prevalent, and with the majority of these now being available as battery powered, they can easily be retrofitted into existing washrooms as an upgrade, without the need for electrical feeds to be installed.”
Commercial Washrooms were also responsible for a recent refurbishment project at Cofton Holiday Park in Devon. A dedicated shower and changing area was needed for non-resident guests using the outdoor swimming pool. New easily-maintained shower enclosures were installed with hygiene and waterproof performance taking prime consideration. The design features sensor flush controls on the toilets and urinals, sensor taps, and a sensor operated hand dryer.
A new PIR lighting system with low energy LED lighting was also installed. Removing touchpoints helps improve hygiene but as Andy explains, the use of sensor operated equipment also delivers other benefits too. “Sensors only let the water or electricity flow for a set period of time; this eliminates the risk of taps being left on, preventing flooding and accidental water wastage, and therefore generating huge water savings.”
As energy bills increase and we look for ways to save both money and the environment, eco-efficient and energy saving products are becoming more prevalent. Small changes can reap big dividends in washrooms, without the need for a complete refurbishment. Smarti Environmental, the UK’s leading waterless urinal provider, is urging holiday parks to play their part in the battle against water wastage.
The company is offering large organisations with 100 or more urinals, a free washroom trial for 3-months, including free installation of its retro-fit waterless valves. Smarti Environmental’s research shows that there are currently around 3.5 million water-supplied urinals in the UK, which collectively waste 217 billion litres of water each year, equivalent to 87,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. To put this into an individual perspective, Smarti Environmental says its waterless urinal valve cuts the annual cost of running a water flush urinal by more than 50%, even before plumbing costs associated with blocked pipes and floods caused by calcium build-up are taken into account.
Made from fully recyclable materials, the valves fit 98% of standard urinals with no need to change urinal bowls, and reduce the annual running cost of a typical three bay urinal by between £630 and £1,230 a year. Kimberley Hill, Sales Manager at Smarti Environmental, comments: “Businesses have a key part to play in reducing needless water waste, and one of the simplest and most cost effective steps is to switch to waterless urinals. This not only saves 100,000 litres of water per urinal, per year, but it also cuts related costs by more than half, and CO2 by 105kg per urinal. If all urinals in the UK went waterless, that would be the equivalent of removing 100,000 diesel cars from the road.”
Eco-credentials are becoming an increasingly important differentiator for modern holiday makers, as well as for those organisations who assign quality ratings and awards. Managing Director of The Loo of the Year Awards, Becky Wall, says that she has noticed a trend for both eco facilities and an increased level of hygiene provision in award entrants. Encouraging the highest possible standards across all ‘away from home’ washrooms throughout the UK and Ireland has been the objective of the annual Loo of the Year Awards since they began in 1987.
A Loo of the Year Award is an established benchmark of washroom provision and compliance to national standards. The Loo of the Year Awards has 61 different categories and the Holiday Parks division is always well-supported with many entrants taking part year after year. Many of the parks have been receivers of the higher grades within the Awards, and according Becky, as new grades have been introduced, the parks have replied by providing even better standards.
“In the 2021 Awards, 5.5% of the entrants were from holiday parks and they all received the higher grades - 79% Platinum and 21% Diamond grade,” says Becky. “The 2021 National Category Award Winners for Holiday Parks was won by Broadhembury Caravan and Camping Park for England, Llanberis Touring Park for Wales and Ord House Country Park for Scotland. The National Awards for Baby Changing Facilities in England and Wales were also won by Holiday Parks - Ludlow Touring Park and Pencelli Castle Caravan and Camping Park respectively.
Pencelli went onto win the overall UK trophy too.” Entrants for the 2022 Awards have until 31st July to throw their hat in the ring. Park or site owners wishing to further distinguish themselves, could follow in the footsteps of parks such as Broadhembury and consider Toilet Twinning. This charitable venture raises funds to provide clean water, safe toilets and hygiene training in some of the poorest communities in the world. In return for a £60 donation, toilets can be twinned with a family’s household loo in a vulnerable community overseas. Twinners receive a certificate to display, and the satisfaction of helping transform the lives of those in need.
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