NATIONAL MODEL COMPREHENSIVE
BUILDING TOILET CODE
( Relating to public use of toilet facilities in
business and mercantile establishments)
!! RECENT ARA INFLUENCED CODE UPGRADES !!
Business and mercantile establishments occasionally indicate they
have no customer toilet facilities. Most likely the store
managers, owners and even some local code officials are not aware
that this policy is at variance
with their municipalities building code. The following 2009 International Plumbing
Code Change will likely improve awareness that customer restrooms are a
2007 IPC 403.5.1 Directional signage. Directional signage indicating the route to the public facilities shall be posted in accordance with Section 3107 of the IBC. Such signage shall be located in a corridor or aisle at the entrance to the facilities for customers and visitors.
Toilet code enforcement ambiguity has been
addressed by the following change that was published in the 2009 International
Property Maintenance Codes.
2009 IPC 502.5 Public toilet
facilities. Public toilet facilities shall be maintained in a safe
sanitary and working condition in accordance with the International
Plumbing Code. Except for periodic maintenance or cleaning, public
access and use shall be provided to the toilet facilities at all times
during occupancy of the premises
Family/assisted-use toilets provide inherent potty parity. Two Family/assisted-use toilets increase overall availability. A single gender based toilet can be unavailable for periods of up to 15 minutes when, for example, the current occupant is using it for companion care, to change diapers, or to change a colostomy bag. Less need for gender based cleaning staff. Less impact when one toilet room is being cleaned or serviced. For decades, males and females have used the same toilet facility on airliners.
2012 IPC 403.2.1 (IBC [P]2902.2.1)
Family or assisted-use toilet facilities serving as separate facilities.
Where a building or tenant space requires a separate toilet facility for each sex and each toilet facility is required to have only one water closet, two family/assisted-use toilet facilities shall be permitted to serve as the required separate facilities. Family or assisted-use toilet facilities shall not be required to be identified for exclusive use by either sex as required by Section 403.4.
... The city's health and plumbing inspector, after
conferring with the state's chief plumbing inspector, notified store
employees and the supervisor that they were wrong in denying the woman
access to the bathroom. City and state codes require
that customers, patrons and visitors to such public businesses must be
allowed to use toilet facilities. ... ...
the state inspector, agreed, listing a series of state codes dating
back to the late 1970s in addition to the 2000 edition of the
International Plumbing Code, which the city adopted. ... ... a
store that violates codes can be found guilty of a misdemeanor charge ...
Woman denied use of public restroom at Rochester thrift store' Adam Krauss Staff Writer
Foster Democrat 6/9/05
... visited a Dollar Tree store and, while
shopping, have asked to use the restroom. I was told that the urinal
had been kicked over so they no longer let the public use
the facilities. The second time I was told that their shipment
was blocking the doorway... ...I talked to a friend
[different State] ... about my experience. ... Her local Dollar
Tree wouldn't let her use the restroom because the "urinal
had been kicked over".
Feedback dtd 27 Sep 2006 19:07:02
SOME COMPANIES GO WITH THE
....There was a time when it used to cost a dime to use public bathrooms. But this retail establishment knew how to keep their shoppers happy: “FREE TOILETS” is spelled out in classic Art Deco typography...
...Excuse yourself for a visit here today....
Source: 'Lunchtime tourist'
Linda Koutsky Downtown Journal, Minneapolis, MN 10/11/06
STATE ADOPTION OF MODEL CODE
IPC - International Plumbing
Code UPC - Uniform Plumbing Code NSP - National Standard
Alabama IPC adopted by Local Governments
Alaska UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
Arizona UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
Arkansas State Plumbing Code
California UPC applicable Statewide
Colorado UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
Connecticut IPC effective Statewide
D.C. IPC effective in city
Delaware IPC effective Statewide
Florida IPC effective Statewide
Georgia IPC effective Statewide
Hawaii UPC most of the Islands
Idaho UPC effective Statewide
Illinois Develops their own code
Illinois IPC adopted by Local Governments
Indiana UPC base document for State code
Iowa IPC adopted by Local Governments
Iowa UPC effective Statewide
Kansas UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
Kentucky State Plumbing Code based on IPC precursor
Louisiana State Plumbing Code based on IPC precursor
Maine IPC adopted by Local Governments
Maryland NSP at State Level, some use of IPC locally
Massachusetts Develops their own Uniform State Plumbing Code
Michigan IPC effective Statewide
Minnesota UPC effective Statewide(1)
Mississippi IPC adopted by Local Governments
Missouri TBD either IPC or UPC effective Statewide
Montana UPC effective Statewide
Nebraska UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
Nevada UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
New Hampshire IPC effective Statewide
New Jersey NSP at State Level
New Mexico UPC adopted at State level but IPC in use locally
New York IPC effective Statewide
North Carolina IPC effective Statewide
North Dakota UPC effective Statewide
Ohio IPC effective Statewide
Oklahoma IPC effective Statewide
Oregon UPC effective Statewide
Pennsylvania IPC adopted, but may not yet be effective
Puerto Rico IPC effective Statewide
Rhode Island IPC effective Statewide
South Carolina IPC effective Statewide
South Dakota UPC 2003 version effective Statewide
Tennessee IPC effective Statewide
Texas IPC at State but Austin, Houston, San Antonio use UPC
US Virgin Is. UPC Island wide
Utah IPC effective Statewide
Vermont Use 1990 BOCA (BOCA now under IPC)
Virginia IPC effective Statewide
Wisconsin Wisconsin UBC Ch 61-65
Washington UPC effective Statewide
West Virginia IPC effective Statewide
Wyoming Both IPC & UPC used by Local Governments
International Plumbing Codes - Adoption by Jurisdiction provides a more current
and comprehensive listing
only please refer to official documents
2000 INTERNATIONAL PLUMBING CODE (IPC)
Published by the 50,000-member
Code Council (ICC), whose membership includes all voting members of
BOCA, SBCCI, and ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials),
the IPC incorporates much of the language of the BOCA National Plumbing
Code and the SBCCA Standard Plumbing Code.
number of fixtures. Plumbing fixtures shall be provided for
the type of occupancy and in the minimum number shown in Table
403.1*. Types of occupancies not shown in Table
403.1 shall be considered individually by the code official. The
number of occupants shall be determined the the International
Code Council. Occupancy classification shall be determined in accordance
with the International
Code Council. (*)
Table 403.1 on this web site is an unofficial sample
403.1.1 Potty parity.
[Florida Modification] In assembly occupancies, restrooms which are open
to the public must have a ratio of 3 to 2 water closets provided for
women as the combined total of water closets and urinals provided for
men, unless these are two or fewer such fixtures for men,
403.6 Customer facilities. Customers,
patrons and visitors shall be provided with public toilet facilities
in structures and tenant spaces intended
for public utilization. Public toilet facilities shall be
located not more than one story above or below the space required to be
provided with public toilet facilities and the path of travel to such
facilities shall not exceed a distance of 500 feet (152 m).
403.6.1 Covered malls. In covered mall
buildings, the path of travel to required toilet facilities shall not
exceed a distance of 300 feet (91,440 mm). The required
facilities shall be based on total square footage, and facilities
shall be installed in each individual store or in a central toilet
area located in accordance with this section. The maximum travel
distance to the central toilet facilities in covered mall buildings
shall be measured from the main entrance of any store or tenant space.
403.6.2 Pay facilities. Required
facilities shall be free of charge and designated by legible
signs for each sex. Where pay facilities are installed, such
facilities shall be in excess of the required minimum facilities
2003 UNIFORM PLUMBING CODE (UPC) Published by the
Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials
413.2.2 Fixtures accessible only to private offices shall not be counted to determine compliance with this section. establishments
with an occupant load of one hundred (100) or more shall be provided with separate facilities for employees and customers.
Customer and employee facilities may be combined for occupant loads less than one hundred (100).
413.3 Separate Facilities
Separate toilet facilities shall be provided for each sex.
(2) In occupancies serving ten (10) or fewer people, one (1) toilet facility, designed for use by no more than one (1) person at a time, shall be permitted for use by both sexes.
(3) In business and mercantile occupancies with a total floor area of fifteen hundred (1500) square feet (139.5 m 2 ) or less, one (1) toilet facility, designed for use by no more than one (1) person at a time, shall
satisfy the requirements for serving customers and employees of both sexes.
413.5 Facilities in Mercantile and Business Occupancies Serving Customers
413.5.1 Requirements for customers and employees shall be permitted to be met with a single set of restrooms accessible to both groups. The required number of fixtures shall be the greater of the required number for employees or the required number for customers.
413.5.2 Fixtures for customer use shall be permitted to be met by providing a centrally located facility accessible to several
stores. The maximum distance from entry to any store to this facility shall not exceed five hundred (500) feet (152.4 m).
|Request for UPC Clarification
This is in response to your request for clarification on the Uniform Plumbing Code regarding facilities in mercantile/business occupancies, etc. The
question(s) considered was (were):
Is it the intent of the 2003 UPC to require a toilet facility for customers, patrons, and visitors of all mercantile and business establishments?
The 2004 UPC Answers & Analysis Committee answered Item UPC #04-19 as follows:
Yes. The general provisions of Section 413.0 and Table 4-1 have requirements for employee use and public use in a number of
occupancies including assembly, institutional, and office or public buildings.
Considering this issue were Chairman, John J. Roth, City of Houston, TX; Bob Adler, City of San Jose, CA; J. Trini Mendoza, County of Ventura, CA; Bruce Pfeiffer, City of Topeka, KS; Ed Schoenfeld, City of Salt Lake City, UT;
G.F. ³Jed² Scheuermann, City of Portland, OR; and K. Anthony Wilcockson, City of Walnut Creek, CA. Thank you for your patience and interest in clarifying this matter.
John J. Roth
Chairman, UPC Answers & Analysis Committee
Answers & Analysis Committee Staff Liaison
IAPMO World Headquarters
5001 E Philadelphia Street
Ontario CA 91764-2816
Telephone: (909) 472-4109
Facsimile: (909) 472-4157
Web Address: <http://www.iapmo.org>
2003 NATIONAL STANDARD
PLUMBING CODE (NSPC)
Published by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling
7.21.4 Separate Facilities
Separate toilet facilities shall be provided for each sex.
EXCEPTIONS: [ deleted text ]
3. In businesses, occupancies with a total floor area of 1500 square feet or less, one toilet facility, de-signed
for use by no more than one person at a time, shall satisfy the requirements for serving customers and
employees of both sexes.
4. In mercantile occupancies with a net occupiable floor area of 1500 square feet or less that is accessible
to customers, one toilet facility designed for use by no more than one person at a time, shall
satisfy the requirements for serving customers and employees of both sexes.
7.21.7 Facilities in Mercantile and Business Occupancies Serving Customers
a. Requirements for customers and employees shall be permitted to be met with a single set of restrooms accessible to both groups. The required number of fixtures shall be the greater of the required number for employees or the
required number for customers.
b. Fixtures for customer use shall be permitted to be met by providing a centrally located facility
accessible to several stores. The maximum distance of entry from any store to this facility shall not exceed 500 feet.
c. In stores with a floor area of 150 square feet or less, the requirement to provide facilities for employees shall be permitted to be met by providing a centrally located facility accessible to several stores. The maximum
distance of entry from any store to this facility shall not exceed 300 feet.
d. Drinking water facilities are not required for customers
where normal occupancy is short term.
e. For establishments less than 1500 square feet in total floor area, one water closet and one lavatory in a
restroom with a lockable door shall be permitted to provide the requirements for serving the customers and
often strengthen the code requirements. As an example some
Jurisdition have amended the NSPC with the following amendment.
Amend Table 7.21.1."Minimum Number of Required Plumbing
In item no. 7, "Mercantile," delete row (a) in its entirety
and in the next row, in the "Description" after
"All gasoline service stations shall provide toilet facilities to
the public when open for business. There shall be separate facilities
for men and women."
ARA Note: Using the above
as an example, to whom would one complain if not
allowed to use the toilet facilities at a gasoline service station and
what is the penalty?
EXAMPLES OF INDEPENDENT STATE CODE
ILLINOIS PLUMBING CODE
SECTION 890.810 MINIMUM NUMBER OF PLUMBING FIXTURES
Buildings with 5,000 square feet of gross public area or with occupancies of 100 or more persons shall
provide public restrooms and drinking fountains as shown in
Appendix A: Table B
MASSACHUSETTS - UNIFORM
STATE PLUMBING CODE
(18) Minimum Facilities for Building Occupancy Other Than Residential
Table 1: Minimum Facilities For Building Occupancy
... Table: Minimum Facilities for Building
Older buildings are 'grand-fathered' as code is
updated; that is an older building must abide by the applicable toilet codes
at the time the build permit was issued. Typically
the older codes also contained an occupant base toilet
Like wise ‘change of
use’ or ‘change of occupancy’ will trigger the need for
a new building permit and compliance with current code.
Examples of types of use
Assembly - place where unrelated people gather > restaurant, stadium, art gallery, gyms
Business - professions > doctors, hairdressers
Mercantile - things are sold, include grocery stores
Factory & Industrial,
Historic - toilet requirement is often met by citing the availability of nearby toilets
There are also sub-categories in these of ’type of use’ elements. It
appears unlikely that the construction done to change how a building is
used could be done without a building permit and thus the need to meet
current code. Renovation, however, that does not change use or
occupancy may not require
updated toilet code although it likely triggers ADA toilet upgrade.
RESTROOM PRIVACY SUPPORT
While commodes are typically housed in stalls,
urinals are not. Not all codes mandate privacy partitions
between urinals. Some men find this unsettling for a
number of reasons. A partition that is sufficiently high to
block direct conversation can deter
nefarious sexual advances
should be required with dimensions sufficient to provide a site-line
block from below the trunk and up to the face of the majority of
expected users. If stall requirements exist recommend the
same height for urinal partitions. In lieu of other substantive information
suggest no less then 73 inches
The IPC added partition code into the
2002 model. It can be reviewed at page 6 proposal P9-04/05 for
310.5 (Supp) Urinal privacy partitions. Each urinal utilized by the public or employees shall occupy a separate area with walls or partitions to provide privacy. The construction of such walls or partitions shall incorporate waterproof, smooth, readily cleanable and nonabsorbent finish surfaces. The walls or partitions shall
begin at a height not more than 12 inches
(304.8 mm) from and extend not less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above the finished floor surface. The walls or partitions shall extend from the wall surface at each side of the urinal a minimum of 18 inches (457 mm) or to a point not less than 6 inches (152 mm) beyond the outermost front lip of the urinal measured from the finished back wall surface, whichever is greater.
1. Urinal partitions shall not be required in a single occupant or unisex toilet room with a lockable door.
2. Urinals located in day care and child-care facilities and containing two or more urinals shall be permitted to have one urinal without partitions.
310.5 Urinal privacy. Each urinal utilized by the public or employees shall occupy a separate area with walls or partitions to provide privacy. The construction of such walls or partitions shall incorporate waterproof, smooth, readily cleanable and nonabsorbent finish surfaces. The walls or partitions shall begin at a height not more than 12 inches (304.8 mm) from and extend not less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above the finished floor surface. The walls or partitions shall extend from the wall surface at each side of the urinal a minimum of 18 inches (457 mm)or to a point not less than 6 inches (152 mm) beyond the outermost front lip of the urinal measured from the finished back wall surface, whichever is greater. Exception: Urinal partitions shall not be required in a single occupant or unisex toilet rooms with a lockable door. Commenter’s Reason: Floor action in Nashville was to approve this as submitted. The only stated reason for disapproval was that these requirements belong in the building code. This language and these similar requirements are currently in IPC Section 310.4 for water closets. If others see it fitting to also locate such text in the IBC, then approve this proposal and those folks can attempt to duplicate these requirements in the IBC later. The IPC water closet text on the same subject would need to do the same for consistency. This is a sanitation, and water conservation issue as well as privacy. It is not an uncommon situation where multiple urinals are located without privacy patricians that only one urinal will be used when multiple occupants enter at the same time. Thus the water closet will be used rather than the urinal, more water usage occurs and usually a soiled
water closet seat is the result. This creates an insanitary condition and an unpleasant experience for the next user. This was proposed last code cycle and included testimony from “accessibility” experts that clearly stated this would not have an impact on the “accessibility” features of toilet rooms. Another issue brought up was that urinals manufactured with small side walls could be considered adequate. These type fixtures do not provide privacy; if a user stands close enough to gain the privacy aspect of these fixtures then splashing and sanitation become an issue. Urinals can be substituted for 67% of the required water closets. It is not reasonable for the code to
allow two of the three users in a three-fixture toilet room absolutely no privacy when using such facilities. To keep up with potty parity and the like, the equivalent would be to now only require one out of three water closets in female toilet rooms to have privacy patricians. That would be ridiculous! The codes are designed so that males and
females are entitled to, and provided, the same level of amenities, this includes privacy. Cost is a factor. In the past the code increased the number of fixtures required for females and this increased the cost of construction related to the space, labor and the materials. But, this is how codes evolve. Facts of reality identify problem areas
and the codes address them, just as the fixture charts were determined to be deficient in the area of water closets for females for certain occupancies. Now, the voting membership has the opportunity to recognize and correct a deficiency in another area, privacy for males!
PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL PLUMBING CODE page
6 proposal P9-04/05 for chapter 310.5
The UPC does not specify a requirement for
"Each water closet shall occupy a separate compartment which shall be equipped with a door, door latch and clothes hook. The door and the walls or
partitions between fixtures shall be sufficient to assure privacy."
NSPC - No available information
Previous issues of the
nation's model consensus code
mandated an equal amount of toilet fixtures for both men and
women. Newer versions of the code will likely provide asymmetric
recommendations that increase the minimum required facilities
Go to our Potty
Parity web page for more information
Elected Officials sometimes introduce additional legislation,
some of which appears to conflict with the model code adopted by their
| Georgia General Assembly of 2004 House Bill 1620 [did
To amend Article 1 of Chapter 16 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions relative to public property, so as to provide standards for the number of women´s and men´s toilets in certain state, county, or city owned buildings and facilities; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
The General Assembly recognizes that there are often long waiting periods for the use of restrooms in public buildings and facilities and that
such waiting periods are much longer for women than for men due to gender differences in the need to use the restroom and anatomical differences between men and women. The General Assembly also recognizes that women often attend to small children in restrooms. Many states and localities have created laws to address the issue of insufficient restroom facilities for women in public buildings and facilities.
Article 1 of Chapter 16 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions relative to public property, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
(a) Any women´s or men´s restroom constructed or installed on or after July 1, 2004, in a state, county, or city owned building or facility shall be
in accordance with the Standard Building Code as provided by Part 2 of Article 1 of Chapter 2 of Title 8 and shall meet any applicable requirements of county boards of health.
(b) In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section, any state, county, or city owned building or facility shall have a ratio of two toilets in each women´s restroom to every one toilet or urinal in a men´s restroom for restrooms that are constructed or installed on or after July 1, 2004."
South Carolina 1997 Session 112
H. 3250 -- Amend the code of laws of South
Carolina, 1976 by adding Secton 39-41-295 so as to require a
service station or convenience store selling gasoline and food or
beverages to provide a public restroom and limit the application of this
section to such service stations and convenience stores constructed on
and after July 1, 1998.
Connecticut Public Health
19a-36 of the General Statutes
Toilet and Handwashing Facilities at Public Buildings,
Places of Public Assembly, Places Dispensing Food and Beverages for
Consumption on the Premises, and for the Patrons of Large Stores and
19-13-B106. Toilet and handwashing facilities
Toilet and handwashing facilities
accessible to the public and separated for each sex, shall
be provided at new or extensively renovated public buildings,
places of public assembly, places dispensing food and beverage for
consumption on the premises, and for the patrons of large stores and
shopping centers in accordance
with the State of Connecticut Basic Building Code, except that
this regulation shall not apply to establishments constructed or altered
pursuant to plans and specifications approved or building permits issued
prior to October 1, 1977.
How is compliance with 19-13-B106
Iowa Department of Public Health Memorandum
to the State Board of Health
The Department of Public Health is required by statute
to “establish, publish, and enforce a code of rules governing the installation of plumbing in cities and amend the same when deemed necessary.” Until 1982, the department maintained its own plumbing code. The lack of resources to maintain a full plumbing code and to publish it led to a
decision to use a model code as the basis for the Iowa code;
the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) was chosen.
Public Restroom Legislation
According to California Penal Code Section 647(d),
|Portland OR - I was at Wells Fargo in Portland,
OR today to do some banking. It was noonish, and I was enroute to
home for lunch. I made my deposit, and then asked to used the
restroom, which I was told there wasn't a public restroom. I am a
customer and 8.5 months pregnant. I left the bank in search of a
bathroom, which took 15-20 minutes of unfamiliar territory, used the
facilities of a public building, sat down for some lunch, and then back
to my car, to find it had been towed away. $200 later, I get
my car back and no resolution from the bank for towing my car.
Soruce: NARA Feedback dtd March 03, 2006 8:23 PM