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Value engineering washroom soap dispensers can be a complex process due to various constraints and considerations. Specifiers face challenges related to budgets, decision making, trade-offs, collaboration, and time limitations.

While cost-effective options may initially appear attractive, it is crucial to consider factors that enhance the washroom design, save expenses, and improve the user experience.

Dolphin Solutions has been a trusted supplier of washroom products, including washroom soap dispensers, for countless commercial projects. We are well acquainted with the value engineering process and understand that specifiers are often seeking the most cost-effective solution.

This article aims to provide insights and empower readers to make informed choices that align with their budget and deliver the desired quality for their washroom projects.

6 factors that impact the price of soap dispensers

It may come as a surprise that premium washroom soap dispensers often offer superior cost-effectiveness in the long term compared to their budget friendly counterparts, therefore it is crucial to understand the factors that influence both cost and quality before making your purchasing decision.

This ensures that you do not end up in a situation where long term maintenance and costs outweigh the initial savings.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a washroom soap dispenser for your project:

  1. Soap dispenser functionality cost
  2. Commercial soap cost
  3. Soap dispenser reservoir cost
  4. Soap dispenser finishes and special coatings cost
  5. Soap dispenser installation costs
  6. Automatic soap dispenser power cost

Watch our video below about washroom soap dispenser extra costs:

Contact the team or visit our learning hub to find out more.

Images of infrared touch free soap dispensers and manual soap dispensers

1. Soap Dispenser Functionality Cost

Touch free soap dispenser

Touch free washroom soap dispensers incorporate electronic sensors and mechanisms to detect hand proximity and dispense soap automatically. The additional technology and components increase the manufacturing cost, thus contributing to a higher price.

Manual soap dispenser

The price of manual washroom soap dispensers tends to be lower compared to touch free soap dispensers. This is because manual dispensers do not require electronic sensors or complex mechanisms, reducing manufacturing costs.

Image of a 5 litre commercial liquid soap and foam soap

2. Commercial soap cost

While liquid soap can be a cost-effective option, foam soap is often preferred in larger commercial installations with multiple washroom soap dispensers. This is because foam soap is more efficient in situations where the soap needs to flow over larger distances, ensuring effective soap delivery to all the dispensers.

Soap dispenser reservoir in the vanity unit cost

3. Soap dispenser reservoir cost

There are several types of soap dispenser reservoir systems available for different washroom soap dispensers, and these options can have an impact on the overall cost of the soap dispenser and reservoir package.

In this section, we will explore the three types of soap reservoirs and examine their influence on pricing.

Soap bottle

A soap bottle serves as the most cost-effective and ideal soap reservoir for individual soap dispensers typically found in a superloo layout or accessible washroom.

See the Dolphin Wall Plate mounted infrared soap dispenser BCL636 that comes with a 1,000ml soap bottle specifically designed for an individual washroom soap dispenser.

However, installing a soap bottle for each soap dispenser in a washstation with multiple soap dispensers in a row may result in time consuming administrative inconvenience during maintenance and topping up processes, and it may require more frequent refilling compared to other soap reservoir systems.

Multifeed soap system – Bulk fill

A multifeed bulk fill soap system is an excellent choice for high traffic environments that have multiple washroom soap dispensers. One of the significant advantages of this system is the minimal cost associated with purchasing refillable soap containers.

See the Dolphin Multifeed System BC6300 which is specifically designed to supply up to 6 soap dispensers with its 6 litre soap container.

A challenge associated with multifeed soap systems is the potential risk of contamination by bacteria if they are not properly maintained and cleaned. This can lead to issues such as soap congealing and clogging the soap feed system, ultimately resulting in soap dispenser failure, which could incur significant repair costs.
Multifeed bulk fill soap reservoirs are not considered compliant with WELL standards unless the reservoirs can be easily removed, flushed, and sanitised during each refill.

Cartridge soap dispensing system

Cartridge soap, while being slightly more pricey compared to soap bottles or bulk fill multifeed systems, provides a range of significant long term benefits.

Not only does it comply with the WELL Standard, WELL v2, Q1–Q2 2023, ensuring high levels of hygiene and reducing the risk of bacteria contamination, it also offers enhanced maintenance and refilling convenience.

Cartridge soap contributes to sustainability efforts by minimising waste with its recyclable properties, and although the initial cost may be higher, choosing a cartridge soap system with your washroom soap dispensers proves to be a cost-effective solution in the long run.

See the Dolphin foam soap cartridge multifeed system DS800 which supplies up to 8 soap dispensers.

Soap Dispenser in white finishes and special coating

4. Soap Dispenser finishes and special coatings cost

The price of a washroom soap dispenser can be influenced by applying a finish or special coating. When considering special finishes for washroom soap dispensers, it is important to note that there are varying costs associated with options such as Polyester Powder Coat, Ceramic Coating, and Physical Vapour Deposition.

Among these, Polyester Powder Coat is generally the most cost-effective, while Ceramic Coating falls within the mid-range, and Physical Vapour Deposition is the most expensive.

However, it is worth mentioning that brushed satin stainless steel and mirror polished stainless steel are the most cost-effective options. These do not require any additional special treatments, yet they still maintain a beautiful aesthetic appeal that can complement any washroom design.

Surface mounted infrared soap dispenser

5. Soap dispenser installation costs

Further consideration to be taken in terms of the installation process and how much more money needs to be spent on installation as this can potentially add to the overall cost.

Let’s look at the installation cost variations between a surface mounted dispenser, a panel mounted version, a wall plate kit, and a behind mirror soap dispenser.

Surface mounted soap dispenser

Surface mounted washroom soap dispensers can be easily installed on vanity surfaces or washbasins without the need for complicated installation procedures. This makes them a convenient and time saving option, as the vanity or washbasin is already designed to accommodate these dispensers.

Surface mounted soap dispensers may be cost-effective but it is important to consider that provision should be made in the design to access the soap feed and reservoir, which are typically located under the counter. This can pose some discomfort and challenges for maintenance teams when they need to service the working parts from underneath.

Panel mounted soap dispensers

A panel mounted washroom soap dispenser is designed to be installed with an access panel, allowing easy access to the working parts of the dispenser for future maintenance.

Installing a panel mounted soap dispenser sometimes involves modifying the existing wall or structure to accommodate the access panel. This requires additional construction work, such as cutting or creating an opening in the wall, reinforcing the area around the panel, and installing the access panel itself.

These additional construction steps can increase the overall cost of the soap dispenser installation.

Wall plate kit for soap dispensers

A soap dispenser wall plate kit is specifically designed for wall mounted automatic soap dispensers and sensor taps, offering advantages such as easy installation, convenient access to the soap feed, water feed, and power supply, and convenience for future maintenance.

It provides a sustainable option and serves as an excellent washroom solution to preserve the integrity of your washroom design, particularly in washrooms with limited wall cavity.

Although the initial purchase cost of a washroom soap dispenser wall plate kit can be slightly higher, it ultimately saves both time and money in terms of installation and ongoing costs. Wall plate kits also help prevent potential damage to splashbacks during servicing.

Behind mirror soap dispensers

Behind mirror soap dispensers may be costly but they offer numerous benefits in commercial washrooms.

Behind mirror washroom soap dispensers save space, enhance aesthetics, improve cleanliness and hygiene, simplify maintenance, and provide customisation options within a mirror system.

By integrating the dispenser into a behind mirror system, these washroom soap dispensers create a sleek and modern appearance while ensuring a continuous supply of soap, making them an ideal choice for commercial projects.

Touch free soap dispenser next to a grab rail

6. Touch free soap dispenser power cost

Washroom soap dispensers that are touch free are available in either battery operated or transformer models, and there is a cost difference between the two.

A battery powered washroom soap dispenser is generally more cost-effective than a transformer. However, it is important to consider that the batteries will need to be replaced every few months. Additionally, in washrooms with high foot traffic, the batteries may run out sooner, making batteries less ideal in such situations.

On the other hand, a transformer operated washroom soap dispenser remains permanently connected to the power circuit. This eliminates the need for frequent battery replacements and alleviates concerns for facilities teams about continuous power supply to the soap dispenser, ensuring a consistent and uninterrupted user experience.

Panel mounted touch free soap dispenser and tap in a commercial washroom

It’s not just about the soap dispenser cost savings

During the value engineering stage, it is crucial to consider various factors when selecting a washroom soap dispenser. Instead of solely prioritising the cheapest option, it is important to evaluate soap dispenser functionality, type of commercial soap, type of soap dispenser reservoir, finishes and coatings, installation costs, and touch free power costs.

By carefully assessing these factors before choosing your washroom soap dispenser, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and desired quality for the washroom project.

Taking this thoughtful approach can result in long term financial savings for the client, enhance the washroom experience for users, and improve the overall design of the washroom space.

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