At a minimum public restrooms must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines
CUSTOMER LOCKED RESTROOMS
When the lock in on the inside of the door to the full restroom,
rather then on individual stalls, it significantly impacts the availability of the
unlocked facility may find a person in a stall while another is
washing, and a third is using a hand dryer. This same
situation in a locked room would have 2 people waiting
outside. Room locks increase
the opportunity for misuse. Even an employee
taking a smoke breaks, reduces the availability of the facility
by those with a legitimate need.
The worse case implementation is when the
above is implemented with a slide locks. While fine on a
stall door, a slide lock on the facility door provide no mechanism for
management to intervene when an occupant fails to respond after
an excessive period of usage. (see
Some restrooms, typically portable sanitation
units have outside latches that
accommodate a pad lock. Occupants can
easily imprisoned by a pranksters using no more then a stick
Not everyone washes their hands after
using the toilet. Those that do should not be
required to touch potentially unclean surfaces after they have scrubbed.
Restroom doors should be designed so that
after one has washed their hands, exit is possible
touching a surface.
Doors that swing outward allow
one to exit without gripping a surface but they must be
configured to avoid hitting passing hallway
entrances (door-less) have no surface to
contaminate and they avoid the problem of an
outward swinging door hitting someone. With no door
opening to give warning of possible visit by security personnel, labyrinth
design is less conducive to unwanted activity.
Additionally, the sound signature of criminal activity is
more likely to be detected when no doors exist. (see
MIRROR SIGHT LINES
Mirrors can increase
security by allowing a sight-line from the entrance
to the back of the restroom. Thoughtlessly placed mirrors,
however, may provide a view from outside to areas where privacy was
intended such as the urinals in a men's room.
See also PUBLIC RESTROOM SECURITY
To prevent unnecessary queuing,
anyone entering the
restroom should be able to easily determine the state of occupancy
of stalls. This can be done with doors that do not fully
close when not in use or by other devices that signal occupancy.
The doors of
stalls often loose alignment over time. Doors should have sufficient
clearance and locks latch length to
function as the stall frame becomes misaligned.
LAVATORY FIXTURES SEPARATED FROM TOILETS
Having the individual unisex toilet
compartments with only enough room for a toilet significantly
increasing the likelihood that the room will be used for it's
intended purpose only.
As a free standing, low 'misuse' public
ENTRIES AND EXITS
TO PUBLIC RESTROOMS
No matter what their configuration, public restrooms
portals should be designed with sufficient width to
accommodate peak times when users may be waiting in line.
People exiting the restroom should not have to jockey their way
through or collide with people waiting to enter the restroom.
Entries and exits must accommodate the possibility that
individuals with mobility-impairments needing a wheelchair,
walker, or other devices and those traveling with luggage,
baby strollers, etc. must be able to pass each other with
adequate room to spare. This situation is a special
problem in women's restrooms where lines are more likely to
form. Of particularly importance to women, entrances
alignments that provide a sight-line to all stalls to insure full
utilization. A separate exit
sufficiently distant from the entrance to prevent users from
looping back past one another, further reduces queuing.
To improve security particularly for women,
entrances room should be located were the clearest site-line to
high traffic public area's exist. Labyrinth entrances
directly along major traffic corridors provide both the 'sense
of' and actual security. Worse-case configuration have
restrooms at the end of long corridor's where users have
no acoustic or visual site-line to trusted persons.
ceilings or a ceiling with ventilation provide a conduit for
sound. Some sound dampening is necessary to assure privacy
but the knowledge that a call for help can be heard reduces
apprehension of both the occupant and a waiting parent or
The efforts of a person who thoroughly washes their
hands before departing a lavatory are negated if they must touch
a door handle. In most scenarios, it is likely that some previous
users have failed to wash. Doors that swing outward allow
occupants to use their shoulders. Eliminating this problem
is another advantage of a door-less design. Where a
door handle must be used to exit the restrooms, waterless
hand sanitizers should be provided on the wall adjacent
to the door. This allows the person exiting to sanitize
their hands after opening the door. Where
paper towels are present many will use a piece of towel to grip
the handle. Some littering of the restroom floors can
reduced by recognizing this smart practice and providing
trash receptacles close to the exit.
TOUCH-LESS and AUTOMATED DEVICES
Automated devices reduce the spread of disease
and cost by controlling product usage. However, these
devices are at times prone to failure. Preferred devices
are those that can also be operated manually. Touch-less
and automated devices include:
- door openers,
- toilet flusher,
- liquid soap dispensers,
- hand dryers,
- paper towel dispensers, and
- toilet paper dispensers
Particularly on commodes, it is important that
the sensor be installed so that it does not prematurely initiate the flush
cycles. Wall sensors that detect movement away from the
fixture may be less likely to falsely activate.
water is appreciated by restroom users and is likely a municipal
code requirement. Automated
faucets keep heating costs in check. Point source
heating allows instant availability of hot water and prevents
energy waste when a faucets are left running.
PRESSURE ASSISTED AUTOMATIC FLUSHING
People are sometimes soiled by overly sensitive automatic-flushing toilets
while still in use or too quickly as the person begins to stand Overly powerful pressure-assisted, water-saver toilets
sometimes spray dirty water on toilet seats. Both problems are unsanitary.
Toilet seats are often soiled by women who
avoid contact by trying to squat above the seat or by men who
stand to void. Some who attempt to raise the seats
find they will not remain standing. All of the above problems
are addressed by seats kept upright by spring loading.
Upright seats that block flush valves increase the incidences of
un-flushed toilets. Disposable
seat covers should be available regardless of seat
Automated self cleaning
toilet seats typically found in APT's can now be found in
A common complaint to ARA are toilet seats that are
not tightly affixed to the commode.
Background music inside the restroom, beside
improving the ambience, provides a level of acoustic privacy.
Shields between urinals provide privacy and
prevent splash from spreading. The latest version of the International
Plumbing Code contains code that mandates partitions
between urinals. If sufficiently high they also hinder person
to person eye-contact that leads to nefarious activities.
For additional information see the IPA
Restroom Improvement Project.
"Restroom cleanliness is always one of the top five drivers of customer satisfaction,"
says Lysa Scully of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Business travelers complain that they're closed for
INDUSTRY TRENDS: Airports upgrade their
Surveillance cameras ... at Strawberry Lake Park in
Norway Mich, officials say, the cameras are legal.. The cameras are not in the stalls of the rest rooms.
...In what may be the future of high-traffic buildings in America, the architecturally inventive library on Nicollet Mall has installed surveillance cameras in its most frequented restrooms.
The ceiling-embedded cameras do not videotape stalls or urinals,
but they capture patrons as they head for the sinks and hand
SMILE, BOOK LOVERS
Press - St. Paul,MN 9/23/06
...The escort policy is soon to be discontinued, and other options are more effective anyway:
Investing in cameras to monitor bathroom entrances would minimize vandalism and identify the threat
Salem OR Statesman Journal Heavy school security is an ineffective quick fix 11/22/06
Please work with architects, designers, etc. of fast food joints, etc. so that
we can get out of the bathrooms without having to re-infect ourselves after we've washed our hands by touching the door handles to pull them open. It's terribly infection control! These doors should all swing outwards!
Email to American Restroom Assoc
From Travel writer Dave Hunter________________
... Lastly, people can tinkle without touching much. The toilets flush by themselves. The sinks are automatic.
And there is no door to open to enter the men’s and women’s rooms.
The Kentucky Courier-Journal 10/30/06
... hot day, long lines at the portatoilet, after many have used it,
someone on the outside locks the door from the outside while someone is in
Email to American Restroom
ARA Note:: Portable
Sanitation Units often have external fixtures to pad lock the
City Council member Keith Rodgerson, D-133, proposed a change in local health ordinances that would require
establishments serving the public to make sure there is a coat hook for each public "commode," or toilet
Please include 3 hooks behind doors for coats, hand-bags and other items. At the urinals, add a hook and a shelve for brief-case. At the wash-basins, add a hook at the fascia of the vanity top and step shelves between basin & mirror. This also protect the mirrors from wetness and requires less cleaning ________________
Email from Jack Sim Pres. World Toilet Org
According to the advertising company Media
Life, there are over 50 flat wall mounted screens at JFK Airport
Terminal in the men's and women's rest rooms. The screens
cycle still frames of advertising According to media life
the Ads run in a 30-second loop, and each ad shows twice per
loop, for three seconds at a time.
Advertisers Reach Travelers at JFK Restrooms - Media Buyer Planner
Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman
discussing a Welcome Center upgrade "...One of the things we’re looking at is doing two sets of men’s and women’s restrooms. A lot of the centers have those to allow closing one set for
Athens News Courier 'Welcome center at state line to be demolished' 12/13/06
PUBLIC BATHROOM DOORS: Bill would require the door to all public bathrooms or bathrooms use by food handlers
to open outwards from the inside so that in order to exit, the doors must be pushed rather than pulled. The measure is aimed at
preventing people from having to touch a door handle filled with germs after they have carefully washed their hands.
Sommerville Journal MA
...One of the suggestions is that the bathrooms be equipped with shelves adequate for people to put their books, coats, etc. down without having to set them next to a wet sink or trying to carry them while doing all the
gyrations necessary and risk dropping them...
Email to American Restroom
...an infrared detection system
became available to record employees' restroom habits. Sensors
could record and indicate when a person entered a restroom, and
whether they stopped at the sink for at least 15 seconds to wash
their hands, and even whether they used
The Record Searchlight 5/20/07
Holder Placement ...Because it is necessary in most cases to pull the paper downward from underneath, toilet paper holders should go higher, not lower, so that one can look underneath it to determine if toilet paper is even in the holder before using the stall. It also makes it easier to access it and tear it off, rather than having to awkwardly reach down below the level of where one is sitting, which usually results in paper wastage because more than what is needed is dispensed.
Lake Zurich IL ARA Feedback Dtd 11 Nov 2007 12:06:28