06 April 2023
Reading time: 14 minutes
From budget constraints and compliance with regulations to space limitations and sustainability requirements, there are many factors to consider when designing and outfitting a commercial washroom.
Having worked with developers, architects, contractors, and specifiers for over two decades, Dolphin Solutions has been able to help our clients overcome their challenges with top commercial washroom solutions that are unique to their specific projects.
In this article, we will explore the top commercial washroom solutions that address these challenges, including budget friendly options, compliance with regulations, space saving solutions, matching finishes, green building certifications, last minute washroom solutions, wellbeing focused designs, high quality products, project deadline management, and sustainable washroom solutions.
- Washroom budget solutions
- Compliance with washroom regulations solutions
- Space constraints in the washroom solutions
- Matching finishes solutions
- Green Building certification solutions
- Last minute washroom solutions
- Wellbeing in the washroom solutions
- Quality washroom products solutions
- Washroom project deadlines solutions
- Washroom sustainability solutions
1. Washroom budget solutions
One of the main challenges of including washroom products in an architect’s budget is the initial cost of these products. Washroom products such as toilets, taps, hand dryers, soap dispensers, and other fixtures can be expensive, especially if high quality or specialised products are required.
This cost can be a significant consideration for architects and building owners who are working within a tight budget.
But architects also want to be able to save their clients’ money in running costs and maintenance costs after project handover.
To strike the right balance between cost and quality, especially when budget constraints are a major factor, here are some of the budget friendly top commercial washroom solutions you can include in your design:
- Choose a stainless steel finish rather than a special coating
- Select manual operated washroom products
- Specify individual washroom products over a combination unit
Discover more about how these factors will help you save money on a commercial washroom project.
2. Compliance with washroom regulations solutions
Meeting regulations for a washroom can be complex, requiring considerations such as accessibility, acoustics, ventilation, washroom products, and the washroom layout.
Some important British Standards include, BS 6465-2:2017 which provides guidance on the installation of sanitary facilities and space recommendations to minimise the risk of infection and promote good hygiene practices, and BS 8300-2:2018 provides guidance on designing buildings and facilities that are inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.
Exploring the guidelines and specifications developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) is a key commercial washroom solution to ensure the safety, reliability, and quality of washroom products and services for users, providing landlords, tenants, and facilities teams with peace of mind.
Consulting with an experienced washroom company that offers compliant products can also be helpful. We strongly recommend adhering to British Standards to ensure your washroom is fully compliant as they have been fine tuned over the years through trials and experience. Even Document Part M acknowledges that their design recommendations are based on user trials and validated desk studies.
It is important to avoid assumptions and to rather consult with subject matter experts when considering deviating from regulations.
3. Space constraints in the washroom solutions
Commercial washroom design requires careful planning to ensure that the washroom can handle high traffic volumes and that essential fixtures, such as basins, taps, toilets, and urinals, can be installed in a way that maximises space efficiency while still complying with building codes and accessibility requirements.
One of our top commercial washroom solutions for space constraints is a behind mirror system because it keeps all handwashing essentials in one place behind the mirror (tap, soap dispenser, hand dryer, paper towel dispenser, plumbing and electrics), which means you do not need to allocate floor or wall space for hand drying or other accessories or even water mains and conduit throughout the washroom.
Behind mirror systems can facilitate better foot traffic flow around the washroom, ensuring that people do not cross paths or bump into each other when walking towards hand dryers or waste bins.
To make the most of the available space in your washroom, another top commercial washroom solution is you may also want to consider using an accessible IPS panel. This allows you to make use of the space behind the panel where the concealed cistern for the toilet is located.
Recessed washroom products, such as recessed combination units, provide a space saving solution that can make your commercial washroom feel less cluttered. Combination units are also easier to clean.
A floating vanity or wash trough can be an excellent choice for maximising floor space, as it allows most of the floor to remain visible, giving the illusion of more space even in a small washroom.
With these top commercial washroom solutions in mind, you can create a functional and spacious washroom that meets your needs.
4. Matching finishes solutions
Matching special finishes from different washroom companies can be challenging for several reasons, such as inconsistencies in colour shades, variations in finish quality, manufacturing processes, and availability as some special finishes may only be available from certain manufacturers.
Different washroom companies may offer finishes with the same name, for example, brushed stainless steel, or mirror polish stainless steel. Still, the quality and appearance of the finishes can vary between manufacturers.
The same applies to choosing RAL colours. Although RAL colours have specific codes in the colour palette, RAL colours may also vary between washroom companies depending on the percentage of gloss applied.
This can result in finishes that look slightly different when placed side by side, making it difficult to create a cohesive design when using washroom products from two or more different suppliers.
Our top commercial washroom solution to overcome these challenges is to carefully research and compare finishes and special coatings from different washroom companies that are experienced in applying special coatings and work with these suppliers to ensure that finishes match as closely as possible.
The ideal washroom solution would be to specify all washroom products from a single supplier to achieve matching finishes throughout the washroom, but this may not always be possible. Therefore, we recommend asking each washroom supplier for a sample plate of their special finishes and comparing them side by side to ensure consistency in your washroom products.
5. Green Building certification solutions
It is highly likely that your goal is to achieve BREEAM Excellent, and even possibly Outstanding, for your project. However, this can be a challenging and costly endeavor when it comes to design and fabrication and tenants or landlords would expect nothing less.
Having a building that meets the BREEAM Excellent rating, as well as other certifications like NABERS UK, makes it more attractive to tenants who wish to be environmentally responsible. Sustainable buildings are also more cost-effective to operate due to water and energy saving.
The top commercial washroom solutions to meet these standards is to incorporate water and energy saving features as well as choosing washroom products that are repairable rather than replaceable which also promotes sustainability.
Start by familiarising yourself with the BREEAM flow rates and flush volumes to see the litres/min for each credit, and then choose taps, showerheads, toilets, and urinals that can achieve the flow rate or flush volume you require.
To achieve a high score with NABERS UK standards, using high speed, low energy hand dryers that can dry hands quickly with a smaller motor can help save energy. Additionally, sensor taps with reduced flow rates, like Dolphin’s DS112 slimline wall mounted tap, can also save energy, as less water needs to be heated when a user washes their hands.
Adopting these measures in the washroom will help you achieve BREEAM Excellent and NABERS UK certifications while promoting sustainability and energy efficiency in the building.
6. Last minute washroom solutions
Although the below examples represent only a few of the last minute challenges that may arise, they are nonetheless significant details that require careful attention. This is because they are fundamental components of commercial washroom design.
- Forgetting about access to behind the taps when specifying wall mounted taps.
- Not knowing or checking whether a specified washbasin from one supplier and a tap from another will work together and function properly. For example, it may not become apparent until the washroom products arrive on site that the tap length is longer than the basin.
- Overlooking the IPS panel for the cistern frame and flush plate.
- Forgetting to specify the location of soap, soap feed, and soap reservoir.
- Designing fixed mirror boxes without access for the behind mirror accessories.
Here are our recommendations for addressing the above mentioned challenges when faced with last minute decisions in order to resolve the problems quickly, efficiently, and without further delay.
- Installing the Strataplate for easy access in wall mounted taps.
- Review your design with your washroom supplier so they can create a mock-up and test the functionality of the tap and washbasin working together.
- Seek the help of a professional washroom company that can provide guidance on the best solutions for your layout and help you with a solution for accessing the cistern and flush plate as needed.
- If the soap system was forgotten to be included, it can still be possible to install a soap dispenser without damaging the existing washstation. Depending on the washroom supplier you choose, they may be able to offer custom designed soap dispenser systems that can be retrofitted to fit seamlessly into the existing washroom design.
- There are washroom companies that offer appliances that can be installed behind a mirror, even if the mirror is part of a fixed box system that can only be accessed from underneath. You can find a range of soap dispensers, hand dryers, taps, and other washroom appliances that can be installed without requiring direct access to the back of the mirror. This means that the appliances can be serviced from below the mirror without needing to open it.
Dolphin’s DP range of drop down soap dispensers and BC2003-BM behind mirror hand dryer can be accessed from underneath a fixed mirror, providing a solution that does not require changing the whole mirror to be hinged.
7. Wellbeing in the washroom solutions
The WELL certification process is rigorous and requires a lot of documentation and data collection. This can be time consuming and may require hiring specialised consultants or professionals to help with the certification process.
To maintain a WELL certification, ongoing commissioning and monitoring are required to ensure that the building continues to meet the WELL Standards which can add to the ongoing expenses of the development.
Although budget constraints may make it challenging to obtain a WELL accreditation, it is still possible to align your commercial washroom with the requirements and make it WELL ready. This means incorporating the WELL Standards requirements even if you are not yet able to pursue formal certification.
Designing a commercial washroom that meets most, if not all, of the WELL points can provide peace of mind, knowing that the washroom promotes wellbeing and meets the diverse needs of its users.
Under the Hygiene Support feature, you can easily achieve 4 points by meeting some basic requirements under each section:
- Providing washroom accommodation (such as waste bins in women’s and single user washroom stalls).
- Ensuring washroom accommodations (such as providing sensor taps, touch free soap dispensers and contactless hand drying accommodations).
- Supporting effective handwashing (such as choosing the correct tap projection that fits the washbasin size so that water does not splash outside the basin when the tap is fully open).
- Providing handwashing supplies and signage (such as installing sealed soap dispensers fitted with disposable soap cartridges).
Top commercial washroom solutions, such as touch free soap dispensers and contactless hand drying facilities, can help you meet WELL Standards and promote wellbeing in your commercial washroom. Incorporating the WELL requirements also improves the functionality and ergonomics of a washroom which provides a better user experience.
Use the most recent version of the WELL Building Standard v2, Q4 2022 to prepare your washroom for WELL certification.
8. Quality washroom products solutions
The market is currently flooded with cheap and poorly made washroom products, which may appear similar to prestige products but are of inferior quality and made from substandard materials.
Low quality washroom products can lead to rapid breakdowns. Even if spare parts are available to fix the issue, some suppliers may insist on replacing the whole product which inflates the client’s costs and causes unnecessary inconvenience and delay.
Investing in good quality washroom products, especially in touch free options, is the most effective top commercial washroom solution with many advantages. These products typically have a longer lifespan and spare parts available for repair, rather than replacement. Compared to manual counterparts that endure human contact, touch free products like sensor taps are more durable and less prone to breaking.
While the upfront cost of sensor activated washroom products may be high, they offer a reliable and cost-effective washroom solution in the long run.
If cleaning and maintenance of washroom products is a concern, specifying 316 grade stainless steel instead of 304 is advisable. This is because 316 stainless steel is marine grade and more tolerant and durable when subjected to cleaning chemicals and heavy usage in high traffic washrooms.
While cheaper washroom products may be available and can save money on the initial cost of a washroom project, investing in high-quality products will save a lot of money in the long run. A quality product can be repaired rather than replaced, offering a more sustainable solution, and reducing frustration with failed or ineffective cheap fittings. It is certainly the top commercial washroom solution for your budget.
9. Washroom project deadlines solutions
Architects and contractors face a number of challenges when it comes to meeting deadlines, including the complexity of the washroom design process, unforeseen site conditions, changes in project scope, and delayed deliveries.
Missing the Stage 4 deadline can cause significant delays and impact the overall timeline of the project. Incorrect or incomplete information can also have a detrimental effect, causing contractors to price the project incorrectly and leading to unforeseen expenses.
Confusion can also arise when revisions are made, and details are missed, further delaying the project, and potentially increasing costs.
Getting information out in time for a tender is crucial for the success of a project. To address this challenge, our top commercial washroom solution is to provide accurate information from the outset to avoid confusion, as well as the time and expense of value engineering later on in the process. This includes ensuring that the NBS specification is as detailed as possible and being directly involved with your commercial washroom supplier in the early stages.
Handing over relevant dimensions and specifications is essential, as is specifying colours and special finishes that accompany the exact product code. Additionally, determining details of whether the client desires a SMART Washroom System can help avoid misunderstandings later in the process.
To ensure that the information is accurate and complete, it is advisable to consult directly with the washroom company. They can provide a sanitaryware schedule, which is essentially a checklist of everything you need in a washroom. You can tick off each item you require and specify the details as you go through the list.
Overall, involving a washroom company with a team of experienced experts in the process and providing comprehensive and accurate information from the outset can help prevent potential issues, ensure the success of the project, and lead to a longer lasting, more sustainable solution.
10. Washroom sustainability solutions
Commercial washrooms experience high foot traffic and water usage, making them significant contributors to the overall environmental impact of a building. Therefore, designers need to carefully plan their washroom projects to ensure that the washroom products and features are sustainable and minimize negative environmental impacts.
Incorporating SMART washroom technology is the ultimate top commercial washroom solution to becoming more sustainable. It allows you to monitor water consumption and take necessary actions to adjust settings. By measuring and analysing this data, you can identify and modify washroom behaviours, predict cleaning and maintenance requirements, receive fault reporting notifications, and more.
Additional top commercial washroom solutions are opting for products manufactured as close to the site as possible which can minimise embodied carbon and promote responsible sourcing practices.
It is crucial to check the product’s recycled and recyclable content by looking at the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) or Life Cycle Assessment report to ensure they are sustainably made. Repairable products are also a more sustainable option than replaceable ones.
Top commercial washroom solutions also include looking at the finer details of the functionality of the washroom product. Choosing toilet cisterns with a Delayed Action Inlet Valves can help to conserve water (approximately ½ a litre per flush), providing a water efficient solution.
Choosing products that do not have a special finish is also recommended as adding a special finish can increase carbon emissions during application and impede recycling. Instead, specifying products in their raw form (stainless steel) is a more sustainable and eco-friendly top commercial washroom solution.
For every washroom challenge there is a solution
These top commercial washroom solutions can make a significant difference when it comes to ensuring a high quality, compliant, and sustainable environment.
Whether you are dealing with tight budgets, strict regulations, limited space, or looming deadlines, our recommended top commercial washroom solutions can help you overcome these challenges.
From green building certifications and promoting wellbeing to making last minute proposals and matching finishes, there is no challenge that does not have a solution to meet your needs.
It is always possible to create a commercial washroom that is not only functional but also contributes to a healthier and more sustainable environment, and if ever in doubt, always speak to an experienced washroom consultant who can help you with mock-ups, ideas based on years of experience, and suggestions to address your commercial washroom design challenges.