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When it comes to accessing the inner workings of taps, soap reservoirs, power supply, and various other components during washroom installations, architects and contractors have long faced a common challenge: Where to place the access panels?

In some instances, contractors and architects have had to design access points that lead to destructive or semi-destructive access to perform after sales repairs and maintenance.

Dolphin Solutions has turned this notion on its head with our groundbreaking Strataplate system, which revolutionises the placement of commercial access panels. Our innovative design allows for access panels to be installed in the most unique places, thanks to the flexibility and versatility of the Strataplate.

In this blog, we will unveil how a potentially destructive access can be avoided, and the practicality and benefits of Dolphin’s Strataplate, shedding light on how it effectively addresses the long standing hurdles faced by contractors and architects when installing commercial access panels.

Different types of access panels in washroom design

Dark green colours for Doc M accessible washroom fittings with access panel behind the waste bin diagram

Access panel behind the waste bin

A commercial access panel can be strategically placed behind a waste bin within the wall cavity. To access the plumbing and power supply components, one can simply lift the waste bin or choose to install a hinged door behind it, providing convenient and easy access.

End-of-trip facility with black finished washroom products and access panel behind the round mirror

Access panel behind the mirror

There is a possibility of concealing commercial access panels behind slim mirrors positioned above the washbasin, provided there is a way to hinge the mirror and create an access panel within the wall cavity behind it for items that may need to be serviced on an annual basis or if they fail.

In this particular scenario, the commercial access panel serves a valuable purpose behind the mirror, such as providing access to the power supply or housing the solenoid for the taps, for example.

The solenoid for the tap, as well as the thermostatic mixing valve, typically require servicing only once a year, allowing for their placement behind delicate and intricate designs, such as slim hinged mirrors that do not need to be regularly opened.

This ensures both functionality and aesthetic appeal in the washroom, as the essential components remain easily accessible while maintaining the overall elegant design of the space.

End-of-trip facility with access panel in the vanity unit

Access panel in the vanity unit

Commercial access panels can be conveniently situated inside vanity units, behind the cabinets. By utilising the Strataplate for surface mounted or wall mounted taps and soap dispensers, the conduit can run straight down, connecting seamlessly to the inside of the commercial access panel.

This configuration holds true even if the tap is positioned on the mirror, as the commercial access panel can be effectively placed underneath the wash trough.

This flexible solution ensures easy accessibility to the necessary components while maintaining a clean and organised appearance in the washroom, successfully achieving the desired design intent. In the past, achieving this level of functionality has often posed challenges, including the risk of cracked mirrors and damaged back-painted splashbacks.

Superloo washroom using touch free tap, soap dispenser, and had dryer with an access panel under a floating wash trough

Access panel underneath a floating wash trough

You can incorporate a commercial access panel within the wall cavity beneath a floating wash trough. For instance, if there is a protruding bin at the bottom, you can position the commercial access panel discreetly behind it, effectively concealing its presence.

Two different wheelchair accessible washroom with access panel underneath the washbasins

Access panel underneath a floating washbasin

There is also an option to install commercial access panels below or on either side of a washbasin.

Superloo layout washroom with the access panel next to the wall mounted pan

Access panel next to the WC

In a superloo layout, you have the flexibility to position the access panel adjacent to the WC, accommodating the tap, soap reservoir, power supply, and pipework. This applies regardless of whether you have tiled walls or wooden, panels, as the commercial access panels can seamlessly integrate into the design.

Learn more about where to place your soap reservoir.

Doc M washroom layout with access panel above the WC cistern

Access panel above the WC cistern

There is another option to consider in a Superloo layout. If there is a large opening panel above the WC and cistern, which is often the case when there is an IPS (Integrated Plumbing System) panel, it can serve as your commercial access panel by utilising its hinged design.

In this scenario, the water feed, soap feed, and power supply would run along the wall, following a curved path around the corner to connect with the components concealed behind the commercial access panel. By utilising the Strataplate system, you can achieve a horizontal conduit configuration, eliminating the need for vertical downward runs.

Inside the Alavo behind mirror system, with accesss to the taps, water feeds, soap feeds, and more

Do you need an access panel with a behind mirror system?

With a behind mirror system in place, like the Dolphin Alavo, there is no need for additional commercial access panels. This efficient design allows easy access to various components, including the soap dispenser and reservoir, behind mirror paper towel dispenser, tap, water feed, soap feed, foam soap compressor, power supply, thermostatic mixing valve, stop valves, filters, POU water heaters, SMART technology connections, and solenoid.

A behind mirror system simplifies the installation and maintenance processes, ensuring convenience and ease of use behind easily accessible locked doors.

If a behind mirror system is not installed, the installation of commercial access panels becomes necessary, along with all the associated logistics involved in its installation.

Access panel sizes illustrated drawing for commercial washrooms

Access panel sizes in a washroom

The depth, height, and width of commercial access panels will vary depending on the size of the soap dispenser reservoir, assuming that you are indeed placing the reservoir within the access panel, and whether you choose to include the power supply, water feed, stop valves etc. all inside the same access panel.

Let’s give you an example of the minimum size of a commercial access panel for Dolphin’s soap dispenser BCL636 with 1,000ml soap bottle without including the various pipework, connections, and components that can be placed inside an access panel.

The minimum required cavity depth when the access panel door is closed would be 100mm if the bottle is fixed to one of the sides in the gap of the wall. The recommended width of the access panel should be 300mm to accommodate at least 250mm to remove the soap bottle sideways when replenishing soap. In terms of height, 350mm is ideal for accommodating the BCL636 soap reservoir.

However, if this soap reservoir were forward facing with its plate fixed on the back of the wall, a minimum cavity depth of 140mm will be needed.These commercial access panel dimensions are also sufficient for including the power supply.

When drawing up the size of your commercial access panel, ensure that you consider and gather all the criteria first. This includes factors such as whether a power supply will be installed, the type of power supply (hardwired transformer or plug-in transformer), as well as the inclusion of the thermostatic mixing valve, solenoid, stop valves, and other relevant components. By considering these factors, you can obtain accurate dimensions for your commercial access panel.

Access panel for commercial washrooms in the vanity unit

Unlocking convenient and flexible washroom access solutions

Whether it is positioning the commercial access panel behind a waste bin, concealing it behind a slim mirror, incorporating it within a vanity unit or underneath a floating washbasin, or placing it above or adjacent to the WC, there are creative solutions for seamless integration to suit your commercial washroom design.

Each hidden access panel solution provides easy accessibility while maintaining a sleek and organised appearance in commercial washroom spaces, ensuring efficiency and aesthetics go hand in hand.

By embracing the possibilities offered by Dolphin’s wall plate kit, the Strataplate, and considering the specific requirements of each washroom design, contractors and architects can overcome the challenges associated with commercial access panel specifications and unlock a new era of washroom convenience and efficiency.

This marks a significant step forward in the industry, where practicality meets design, and the installation process becomes streamlined and hassle-free.

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