04 May 2022
A public washroom is now more than ever one of the most important spaces to implement extra sanitary measures as people have become more conscious of their exposure to potential health risks in their surroundings. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the swing from traditional washrooms to superloos, we have also seen far more emphasis on superloos being incorporated into design plans over the past few years due to gender neutrality and inclusivity.
But do these factors mean gender-specific washrooms are disappearing altogether? No. There are still massive projects incorporating gender-specific washrooms in their designs because there are safety issues in public places such as shopping centres, airports, and railway stations where a superloo is simply not practical.
Dolphin has been working with superloos for over 10 years and in this article, we will explain what a superloo is, why it is popular, how it compares to a traditional washroom layout, and superloo dimensions.
What is a Superloo?
A superloo is a compact toilet cubicle that includes a toilet, washbasin, and a hand drying facility. Essentially it is a fully kitted out washroom in one enclosed cubicle and is known as the modern-day WC providing a neat inclusive washroom package that is trending fast in the marketplace.
Why are they popular?
Superloos are a great choice to incorporate into your washroom design as they offer the necessary WC fittings, maximum privacy, and hygienic advantages. Not only does a superloo offer these tangible benefits in one space but it also demonstrates that your washroom is improving the access to services for all gender identities.
Some buildings have smaller spaces and Architects must be savvy to optimise each area for its intended use. Therefore, adopting the all-in-one toilet cubicle will not only achieve washroom requirements but will maximise the limited space you have to work with.
Superloos are an excellent alternative to traditional washroom layouts as they also reduce the need to have separate male and female washrooms. Various styles and products will achieve your vision for a prestige washroom and are available for a range of budgets that accommodate simplicity, room size, and fittings.
How does a superloo compare to a traditional washroom layout?
The convenience of traditional gender-specific washrooms means a quick in and out time to utilise the facilities as intended. In addition, it allows people to use only one aspect of a washroom for example a washbasin to wash their hands or using the mirrors for grooming whilst others are in the WC. The waiting time is reduced as there is access to more facilities.
This design is effective because an individual cubicle is narrower which provides more floor space to install several of them. The extended vanity unit also provides space for more washbasins and having fewer hand dryers and waste bins installed will still be sufficient to meet the washroom occupant ratio requirements.
The number of toilets planned must be based on the density of the occupants in the building. According to BS 6465-1:2006 + A1:2009, the provision sets a 60%:60% male/female split which means there is 20% excess provision to cater to unequal male/female populations.
This basic construction is still effective today, but there are some unpleasant elements that exist when utilising the various facilities. Users may feel anxious in a washroom that feels overcrowded and because washrooms are designed differently, the standards of providing a certain level of privacy are not the same.
Users may also feel uncomfortable standing next to each other due to health concerns and may even be susceptible to infections such as gut infections, urinary tract infections, and viral infections. If a washroom smells bad, users will perceive it as dirty. As the cleaning team goes in, the washroom is generally closed off to all users which creates huge discomfort and inconvenience, resulting in a negative stigma.
All amenities are provided in one toilet cubicle as superloos are self-contained and built for single-occupancy. They provide the ultimate privacy solution, and you can still achieve that wow factor with various design options available. Letting agents have recognised superloos as being the best type of WC in many applications to acquire new tenants leasing their space and promoting the retention of top talent.
Its contained layout offers the ultimate hygienic solution by minimising the transmission of germs particularly in high traffic areas. Superloos reduce close personal contact that can be found in traditional toilet cubicle washrooms, and they are very easy to clean due to the neatly tucked away features. The added benefit of having the hand washing and drying facilities in one enclosed space prevents users from splashing each other at the vanity unit should they shake their hands dry after a wash.
Although occupancy can be based on 100% of the population in the building, consideration should be given to increasing the number of superloos by 20% – 25% because they are generally occupied for longer periods of time. This means you do not necessarily save floor space as it depends on the number of occupants in the building and therefore, additional superloos may be required.
The private space may also tempt users to dilly-dally in the toilet cubicle whilst others are waiting. As washbasins are included in superloos, extra time is added to using the lavatory to perform handwashing which could potentially result in long waiting queues.
Superloos require more attention to acoustics. It is renowned that people use taps and hand dryers to create white noise to block out sound in their cubicle or block out the sound they do not want to hear from the cubicle next door.
How small can a superloo design be?
This is a rather loaded question because there are many different factors to consider depending on your budget, washroom layout, and fittings preferences. There are regulations in place that provide minimum superloo dimensions and can guide you to develop a safe, compliant, and accessible washroom within the specifications.
Ultimately, the space required would be determined largely by the size and type of the main sanitary facilities, the fitting arrangement, the activity space, and the circulation space for the fittings.
Are Superloos the new toilet cubicle?
Any successful company makes a name for itself when it prioritises washroom design as users equate the accessible layout and hygiene consciousness with that of the entire business.
This not only communicates to its users that the business cares about their experience, but it also promotes the company’s stance on providing a hygienic environment, consideration for gender identities, and providing maximum privacy ensuring a pleasant and considerate place to visit.
Our motto at Dolphin Solutions is you can always tell how much a company cares about its employees by the design of its washroom.
Taking measures to reduce a superloo cubicle may provide more floor space to lease outside the core, but you must also consider creating a comfortable, easily accessible, and aesthetically pleasing washroom space to better a user’s experience. If you are aiming to achieve high value in presentation, then combining space and quality is essential.
Do you want to know more about superloo dimensions in the UK? Exploring various factors such as the floor space, the type of sanitaryware, the fitting arrangement, the activity space, and the circulation space can assist you to determine just how small you are prepared to go.