Space is often limited in commercial washrooms. Faced with pressures to make the working environment as productive as possible and retail environment as profitable as possible, architects seldom allocate more room to WCs than is absolutely necessary. As a result, the interiors can sometimes feel cramped and users may feel uncomfortable when sharing facilities with others.
The matter of space is especially important now, at a time when social distancing is so vital for public health. In this article, we’ll take a look at how washrooms can be equipped to maximise space and to minimise the need for visitors to navigate around one another.
Optimise Space with the Right Washroom Products
1. Recessed Combination Units
In a washroom where space is limited, the ideal washroom dispensers would not protrude at all into the room itself. This is entirely possible in cases where the surrounding walls sufficiently deep cavities to accommodate recessed washroom products such as paper towel dispensers, hand dryers and bins.
Recessing these units in the walls means that they sit flush with the wall décor and, therefore, do not obtrude into the main part of the room. This helps to maximise floor space and elbow room, improving the flow of people around the washroom and thereby facilitating social distancing.
2. Behind the Mirror Products
Often, washrooms will feature mirrors over hand basins. Since most basins will inevitably encroach into the floor space, the space over them is generally ‘dead’, so sanitary products can be mounted here without further impingement on the flow of foot traffic.
A particularly effective, multi-functional approach is to place key items such as soap dispensers, hand dryers and paper towel dispensers behind the mirrors, rather than beneath or between them. Besides giving the room a sleeker, minimal appearance, this also helps to keep dispensers well protected against accidental knocks and scratches.
A further benefit of this approach is that each basin area then becomes effectively self-contained, so users don’t have to move around one another, share dispensers or take turns waiting to use key items. Again, this improves speed, efficiency and flow. This is particularly true of paper towel dispensers and hand dryers; when placed behind each mirror, they remove the need for users to queue to use hand dryers, which might typically be mounted at the end of the row of basins or on a separate wall.
One other benefit of drying hands at the point of use is the reduction of water drips on the floor created as users with wet hands move around the washroom. These drips on hard floors are a potential cause of slips and falls.
3. Consumables and Storage Solutions
Commercial washrooms need to be kept well-stocked with consumables, but storing the various products can put further demands on floor space. Installing lockable cabinets beneath basins can be one simple solution. Another is to choose a behind-the-mirror cabinet, which performs the dual function of storing spare consumables and housing a choice of dispensers.
4. Slimline Waste Bins
Conventional floor-standing bins can reduce available floor space and create bottlenecks near to doorways. In busy environments, they also tend to cause people to converge around them, which isn’t conducive to effective distancing.
One option is to equip the room with electric hand dryers rather than paper towels, which reduces the need for waste disposal facilities. Another is to install slimline waste bins, which substitute depth for height and width and therefore protrude less into the room.
Some slimline bins can also be wall-mounted, by lifting them up which makes floor-cleaning quicker and easier. If they can also be recessed, this will free up further space and improve the flow of people through the washroom.
5. Use Natural Lighting and Neutral Colours
Whilst these measures can help to maximise the physical space in a washroom, there are other steps that can be taken to improve a room’s appearance and to minimise any feelings of claustrophobia. Installing plenty of mirrors is a well-proven technique for giving the impression of more space. Similarly, the use of natural daylight and pale, neutral colours can also help areas feel more spacious.
Browse Our Range of Space-saving Washroom Solutions
At Dudley Industries, we offer a range of solutions that can help to save space in commercial washrooms. Please use the following links to browse the relevant ranges.
Recessed wash stations: Our standard stainless steel was station combines a soap dispenser, tap and a warm air hand dryer. It requires a 100mm recess and can be fitted in stud walls.
Washroom Waste Bins: The range includes a recessed slimline bin, pedal bin and floor-standing bins of various sizes.
Please download our Washroom Solutions brochure here.
The Dudley Industries Washroom Guide provides product specification advice for different washroom environments. It sets out the ratio of basins and cubicles to employee numbers, and a host of other regulatory requirements.
For more advice on how to maximise space in your washroom, get in touch with the team at Dudley Industries.