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Banish washroom woes: lavatory systems offer innovative solutions for public washrooms. (Energy & Engineered Systems).

It is estimated that eight out of 10 people who enter a building will use the washroom. Beyond simply making a good impression, providing convenient and clean washrooms can directly impact the bottom line. Think about your own experiences: Have you ever left a facility in a rush because you would rather hurry home to use your own washroom?

One reason high-traffic public washrooms have a less-than-sterling reputation is that many are in disrepair--and consumers are increasingly concerned about cleanliness. People don't want to touch faucets, doorknobs, or toilet flush handles because they seem like a playground for germs.

A challenge in every public washroom is the hand-washing area. In many cases, problems can be avoided by simply choosing the right type and appropriate number of hand-washing fixtures to accommodate high-traffic spaces. Tight areas tend to have too few sinks. In some cases, they are not durable and have been damaged by vandalism or excessive use. Repairs or replacements to traditional lavatories can be costly and are often neglected.

Complete lavatory systems are good solutions for a variety of washrooms because they are designed for high-traffic areas. They are durable, easy to install, and require little maintenance.

Lavatory systems are also efficient and can help conserve water and electricity. Valves can be set to turn water off after a certain amount of time, and infrared sensors can stop the flow automatically when not in use. Flow volume can be set to provide even greater efficiency.

Continuous solid-surface lavatory systems are durable, yet attractive. They have the look and feel of individual lavatories with the added benefit of a group fixture. Solid surface units are available in a range of colors and contemporary designs, and are extremely sturdy and impact resistant, Graffiti, chemicals, or stains can be easily removed with everyday cleaners or fine-grit abrasives.

These systems also reduce cleaning time and maintenance costs. Cleaning a bank of china lavatories is labor-intensive, as is repairing cracks or broken faucets on each individual unit. Lavatory systems are designed with continuous bowls and built-in spray heads with smooth flowing lines, rounded edges, and no crevices for dirt build-up. Soap dispensers can even be built into the unit so excess soap drips right into the drain, rather than on the counter, floor, or side of the bowl.

Potential installation problems are limited with lavatory systems because the units are mounted directly to the wall with up to 70-percent fewer plumbing connections and rough-ins. Pre-assembled lavatory systems install in about half the time of a row of individual sinks.

Valves and other components are concealed in the all-inclusive design, deterring potential vandals. Touch-free infrared controls are not only convenient and energy efficient, they can also eliminate faucet handles being broken.

The best solution for hand-washing fixture challenges is to seek advice from washroom product experts who can help determine the right products early in the design process. Simple measures, such as incorporating a lavatory system or other group hand-washing fixtures, can avoid headaches while reducing maintenance and labor costs over the long run.

Jason Renner is senior product manager at Menomonee Falls, WI-based Bradley Corp. (

RELATED ARTICLE: Improving Traffic Flow

A well designed washroom should take traffic flow and volume into account. Each application has its own unique challenges, and users' needs should always be considered. For example, elementary school washrooms with supervisory issues will have different design considerations than a busy airport facility that must allow space for luggage.

Accessories are often an afterthought. Proper accessory placement and selection encourages hand-washing and reduces traffic congestion. Soap and hand dryers or towels should be placed within the lavatory unit or nearby. Water dripped across the room poses a safety hazard. Durable, high-capacity accessories, such as toilet tissue or towel holders, can keep supplies available until they can be refilled.

The goal of any high-traffic washroom should be to keep traffic moving toward the entry/exit.

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Author:Renner, Jason
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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