042 BP 0417

Building Products April 2017

BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS equally important as creating engaging teaching methods. When it comes to school washrooms, the key is to focus on design and specifying materials that are hygienic and easy to clean and maintain, while offering stimulating and colourful modern designs. In a washroom environment with high levels of humidity and strict hygiene and maintenance requirements, surfacing design solutions such as laminate panels are recommended. First of all, the material itself is non-porous and thus offers extremely hygienic and full waterresistance properties – ideal characteristics for toilet cubicles and wall cladding applications. Additionally, laminate surfaces are also durable and resistant to impact, staining and scratching, helping to reduce the frequency with which school washrooms would need to be refurbished. Second of all, the use of laminate wall panelling, and especially large formats, enables the reduction of joints, which helps preventing the accumulation of dust and germs. With illness accounting for 60.1% of all school absences, installing floor to ceiling cubicles or wall panels simplifies the cleaning process and makes it more 42 BUILDING PRODUCTS | APRIL 2017 efficient, ensuring pupils and staff are staying healthy. Furthermore, as cleaning expenses represent 30% of the total running costs of a UK school6, the savings there could be substantial. In terms of aesthetics, when looking at the influence of design on students’ learning and performance, the University of Salford found out that colour alone could increase a student’s ability by as much as 12%. This approach could be applied throughout the school and in the washroom areas, as well. Fresh and modern washroom interiors can help eliminate toilet avoidance, preventing any potential health issues that would impact learning development and performance. Furthermore, according to the RIBA study, an overwhelming majority of teachers interviewed (65%) believe that good school design can reduce bullying and pupil misbehaviour. Research conducted by the Design Council in conjunction with the Department of Health suggested that undesirable behaviour can be a reflection of the environment. In the case of washrooms, making sure that the facilities are clean, in working order and appealing can also help schools prevent bullies and vandals to act out. The specification of materials that are hygienic and easy to clean for washrooms enables schools to provide their students and staff with welcoming facilities, enhancing the occupants’ comfort and well-being. Using low maintenance and longlasting products reduces the need for refurbishment, allowing the reallocation of budgets towards teaching resources, thus improving teachers’ morale and pupils’ achievements. Lastly, keeping the entire school design, washroom included, at the core of an institution’s priorities helps create school identity and a sense of belonging for all players, ultimately boosting the performance of the entity itself. Phil Wise is European Marketing Director at Formica Group <<< Continued from page 41


Building Products April 2017
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