BATHROOMS & KITCHENS
APRIL 2018 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 35
Top 5 tips for washroom design with the recommendation that there is at least
1. Following the provision of clean surfaces and
hand soap, it’s lighting people love.
2. When a third of adults (32%) say they want
workplace/public loos to be better soundproofed,
that’s your invitation to do something about it.
3. While you’re not required to install hands-free
flushing, you’d be loved if you did. A whopping
61% of people want to be able to flush with the
swipe (not touch) of a button.
4. It’s either neutral or nothing. Almost a third want
this style of décor most.
5. Nearly half (48%) of people say they’re conscious
of the large gaps in cubicles which make them feel
their privacy is being compromised. Give them a
door that reaches the floor and they’ll surely thank
you for it.
colleagues and bosses.
The survey investigated a range of toilet taboos
and uncovered that almost half (49%) of Brits would
prefer to use a gender specific toilet, compared to
only 5% who would prefer to use a unisex toilet and
27% who were not fussed either way.
Awkwardness is cited as the main reason
employees dislike sharing (68% claim unisex loos
would be either somewhat or very awkward). At a
gender level, it’s women who most want to keep
their loos to themselves – 67% of females in work
do, compared to just over half (53%) of men in
employment. Women are also more likely to feel
awkward using unisex toilets at work than men
(75% say they’d feel somewhat or very awkward,
compared to 60% of men).
Gender differences in attitudes towards
cleanliness are also very likely to be behind these
results. When asked why some people didn’t
mind sharing at work but did mind sharing public
toilets, nearly a third (28%) of women said they
thought the other gender wasn’t as clean as they
were – nearly double the percentage of men who
thought the same thing (15%).
With the political debate leaning more
towards accepting unisex loos, employers have
a tough mission ahead to convince their staff to
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says an
SME employing between one and five mixed-sex
staff needs at least one toilet and one basin; for
six-25 staff it’s two loos and two basins; for 26-50
staff it’s three of each; for 51-75 staff businesses
four of each are needed, while a 76-100 sized
business needs five of each.
Schools have their own washroom guidelines,
one toilet per 10 pupils for those under the
age of five, while for those aged 11+ there
must be one washbasin per toilet. In special
schools there should be one toilet for every
20 pupils, regardless of age. Cubicle sizes are
also strict: All standard (non-disabled) cubicles
must have a minimum of 450mm diameter
manoeuvring space within the cubicle, with the
recommendation that the standard dimension is
850mm wide by 1500mm deep.
Disabled toilets are subject to a raft of regulation
to ensure all public cubicles can accommodate
wheelchair manoeuvrability. They must be at
least 2,220mm x 1,500mm wide and have a door
900mm wide, able to open 950mm outwards.
Basins need to be such that hands can be washed
while still seated on the toilet, grab rails must also be
present at specific heights.
Gaps between the floor and toilet cubicle doors
are also the cause of much consternation. Survey
respondents did not like the large gaps they find in
public or workplace loos, even though they don’t
need to be as big as they are (regulations merely
state a door should be able to be released from the
outside). For 22% of people, it’s purely the size of
this gap that causes them to dislike using toilets
outside of their home.
When it comes to specific facilities a washroom
must have, the regulations are vague, and
respondents seem to signal that this vagueness (and
its interpretation by employers) is not meeting their
expectations. Legally, workplace toilets simply have
to have ‘enough soap or other washing agents’ and
offer ‘a means of drying hands - e.g. paper towels or
a hot air dryer’. However, respondents feel this is not
good enough. A majority (61%) wants hands-free
flushing (not legally required); more than a third
(34%) also want improved hand dryers; while 22%
want bigger soap dispensers.
There’s one key area too that the legislation
overlooks entirely, but which adults seem to
care about a great deal: noise. Going to the toilet
(particularly at work) can feel embarrassing for
people if they feel they can be heard either in
the next cubicle or even in the corridor outside.
A significant 32% of people say they want better
soundproofing. So fearful are people about the noise
they create that nearly a fifth (18%) of adults have
actually avoided using a toilet if they think it has a
lack of soundproofing.
What Britons want
What is the most important feature that Britons
want in public toilets? The resounding reply is
simply ‘cleanliness’, with several respondents
spontaneously coming to this conclusion.
However, there is a lot more that businesses
and facilities providers can do to make their
washrooms more pleasant environments.
To download the full Formica Group ‘Lifting
the Lid on Washrooms’ report visit: www.