School Washroom Design Considerations (Part 2)
Following on from the first installment of our two-part guide last month, this article will discuss how your choice of cubicles, taps and IPS panels can improve the standards of performance for school toilets.
According to official guidance which details the standards of performance for school toilets, there are typically three main options when designing cubicle systems to ensure they fit with the requirements of the room:
- Structural soffit/ceiling hung system – this is the preferred option for schools where ease of maintenance and cleaning are priority. These products generally cost more than floor-mounted systems, so cost and the design of the soffit will be the main considerations
- Wall and floor mounted system – this design is perfect for providing easy access for cleaning and minimising the risk of dirt and germs building up
- Cubicle partitions and doors are extended to finish at floor level – this is the ideal option for schools which preference pupil privacy over easy cleaning
Privacy in cubicles
The gap between the cubicle system and the suspended ceiling should be minimised or avoided completely and there should be no gaps between the partitions and the doors. This will help improve privacy when the cubicles are in use and, in turn, will discourage bad behaviour.
Water resistant material
The sheet material used for the cubicle must be water resistant so it can be thoroughly washed down without having a detrimental effect on the finish or performance.
In the case of an emergency inside the cubicle, such as a pupil who has fallen against the door which prevents it from opening, all cubicle doors should be able to open outwards or have a lift-off facility. This mechanism must not compromise the privacy of pupils during general use.
Cubicle locking devices
Locking mechanisms should be suitable for all users. They should be specially designed so that if force is applied to the lock it will break rather than damaging the entire cubicle system, as it is costs much less to replace a lock than part of the cubicle system.
This indicator must be clearly visible from outside the toilet cubicle and should be suitable for those with visual impairments and colour blindness.
First and foremost, all taps must be WRAS approved to ensure they ‘contribute to the protection of public health by preventing contamination of public water supplies and encouraging the efficient use of water’. Wall-mounted taps are the ideal design to avoid the dirt and germ build up that can happen with deck-mounted taps. The taps should be sensor operated so they can turn off automatically with less than one litre of use to avoid water wastage. This will also help avoid the risk of germs transferring as users will not need to touch the tap itself during operation.
Integrated plumbing system (IPS) panels
The material selected for IPS panels must be water resistant so it can be thoroughly washed without water seeping through to the wall/partition behind. All removable access panels must be locked with a master key to avoid any tampering or vandalism; only authorised personnel should have access behind these panels in order to fix any problems or for health and safety reasons.
We hope this two-part guide has given you more of an insight into what to consider when designing new school washrooms. Despite functionality being the primary purpose, our experts at Spectrum Interiors can also incorporate style into the design, so the washrooms deliver on both practicality and aesthetic appeal. Serving commercial clients throughout Manchester, Chester and Liverpool, we provide:
Simply contact our professional team today for further information about any of the services we provide.