Reading time: 4 minutes / Updated: January 16, 2023
You have just been commissioned to draw up a design for a prestige commercial washroom, and so the first question that comes to your mind is, “How to choose the best commercial washroom layout for my project?”
Planning a thoughtfully designed, well-constructed, and inclusive commercial washroom layout will require a deep understanding of the users’ needs, behaviours, and limitations. You must first consider the type of environment and then plan your design to cater to the needs of people using that washroom. But how do we determine what the needs are? – By looking at user demographics.
Let’s explore the different types of commercial washroom environments and analyse user demographics so that you can create the best commercial washroom layout.
Types of commercial washroom environments
When planning a commercial washroom, one size does not fit all. The washroom layout will depend on the type of environment, such as:
- Commercial buildings
Office buildings, hotels, healthcare facilities, gyms etc.
- Public buildings
Shopping centres, museums, stadiums etc.
- Transport buildings
Train stations, airports, bus stations etc.
Each environment serves a different purpose, so the washroom should cater to the relevant needs of users in those environments.
Top 3 tips to consider before planning a commercial washroom
Appropriate washroom layouts can be different for the younger generation compared to the older generation, so figuring out the likely age group of washroom users will help you decide the best commercial washroom layout and needs for that group.
For example, shoppers of all ages and demographics across the UK go to shopping centres. The age demographic consists of adults, children, and small infants who will enter the washrooms. To accommodate those who need baby changing facilities, commercial washrooms in shopping centres include a designated area with baby changing tables and child safety seats. These areas are also typically designed with enough space to cater for prams.
Unlike shopping centres, the age group in commercial buildings starts from the higher end of Generation Z to the Baby Boomers Generation. The best commercial washroom layout for these age groups will include a prestige, sophisticated, and modern design with an end of trip facility to accommodate those who need to freshen up before or after work.
Designing a traditional separate sex washroom may have been the norm a few years ago until gender-neutral toilets became a trending alternative to male and female toilets for the workplace. The best commercial washroom layout for gender-neutral washrooms is typically a superloo layout which essentially is an all-in-one washroom solution that includes a WC and all handwashing facilities in one privately contained space.
However, this controversial topic is leaving employees divided as surveys and research have revealed that at least two-fifths of UK employees do not want their employer to introduce gender-neutral toilets. Due to this reason, it may be safe to assume that this is the reason why we are seeing a comeback of separate sex toilets in washroom design.
3. Disability access
As we already know, the Equality Act 2010 states all organisations have a responsibility to provide accessible goods and services – including accessible washroom facilities. Suitable sanitary accommodation should be available to everyone, such as wheelchair users and people with ambulant impairments, which leaves you to decide on the ideal Doc M toilet layout to accommodate their needs.
The best commercial washroom layout for accessible washrooms provides accommodation for users with different needs, but obviously, not all commercial buildings have space for both ambulant and accessible toilets. Referring to Document Part M – Access and use of buildings and BS 8300-2:2018 – Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment – Buildings – Code of practice will guide you to achieve a compliant solution for your design plan.
Learn more about the difference between ambulant and accessible washrooms and the top 3 considerations when designing accessible washrooms.
There is so much more to commercial washroom design
The type of washroom layout will depend on the commercial environment (office buildings, shopping centres, airports etc.) because one size or style does not fit all. The best commercial washroom layout must accommodate the needs of different user demographics entering that washroom.
Places that accommodate a large volume of people will inevitably have higher foot traffic that requires sufficient sanitary accommodation to meet the capacity. Consider user demographics such as age, gender, and those with disabilities so that your design caters to their distinctive needs.
The best commercial washroom layout is well thought out that aims to provide users with facilities unique to their needs. People with children will need baby changing areas, wheelchair users or those with ambulant impairments will need accessible toilets, and employees who want to freshen up before or after work will desire an end of journey facility.
There is so much more to commercial washroom design, from the types of washroom products and their functionality to the psychological impact washrooms have on user wellbeing and wellness. Dolphin Solutions is keeping up with the design trends of commercial washrooms and can assist you in creating the best commercial washroom layout that will accommodate all the different needs you need to consider before drawing up your plan.