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Facility Manager Tips For Designing and Maintaining Restrooms

Restroom Maintenance

Restrooms are an integral part of a well-run facility. Whether you're dealing with a building's employees or its clientele, everyone will need to take a bathroom break at some point in the day. Poorly designed or maintained restrooms aren't just unpleasant for people to use, they can negatively impact their perceptions of the facility itself. Don't let that happen to you -- keep these three things in mind when you're dealing with bathrooms.

1. Standardize, standardize, standardize.

Nothing is worse than having to use a restroom that doesn't have adequate supplies. When fixtures aren't standardized across an entire facility, it can make it more difficult for staff to keep things adequately stocked. Toilet paper, paper towel, and soap dispensers should all be of the same type, so you won't have to worry about staying on top of ordering refills for multiple different makes and models. This will also help save money over the long run, by allowing you to order large quantities at a bulk rate.

2. Plan for traffic.

When it comes to designing restrooms, the biggest mistake you can make is to fail to take traffic into account. Some finishes may be attractive, but not durable enough to hold up to heavy use without beginning to look worn and shabby. Corian, for example, is becoming a popular choice for partitions due to its durability over metal or composite. Placing groups of restrooms in high traffic areas allows them to be serviced by a centrally-located supply closet. If space allows, restroom plans an even allow for a maintenance corridor that will let facility employees perform regular maintenance without cluttering up high-traffic hallways.

3. Keep them bright (but not too bright).

No matter how well-maintained a restroom may be, poor lighting will make it look dirty and dated. Lighting that is too bright will make it unpleasant for users, as well as wasting power. Choose energy-efficient bulbs and ballasts -- standard fluorescent ballasts typically use 14-16 watts, while energy efficient electronic ballasts use as little as 8 -- and set up an automated lighting system. This will ensure that lights are only on when they're needed, and don't waste power when they aren't. Place fixtures in areas where they'll be easy to access, and avoid choosing spots where they will be partially blocked by door or partitions.

Keeping restrooms clean.

Do you know what maintenance employees have to say about cleaning public bathrooms? 80% consider it a difficult job and cite a lack of time and too much foot traffic as the biggest contributing factors -- two things that can be mitigated by proper planning. The scary part here is that restroom maintenance consists of both cleaning for looks, and cleaning for safety. An overwhelming majority of cleaning professionals (94%) claim to rely on product use information to train their employees, but 15% of those same employees say that a lack of training makes their jobs more difficult, and nearly 70% of professionals say that their staff doesn't understand disinfection or sanitization. A simple wipe-down might be enough to keep a countertop or faucet looking clean, but is it really enough to make it hygienic?

To keep public bathrooms really clean, it's vital that facility managers develop their own training and standard procedures, and train their employees in basic disinfection and sanitization best practices. Coupled with bathrooms designed with cleanliness and ease of maintenance in mind, this alone should be enough to make sure restrooms say looking fresh and hygienic while cutting down on the public health risks posed by restroom germs.

People generally don't spend more than a few minutes at a time in the bathroom, but those few minutes can create a big impression. By choosing durable finishes, locating bathrooms where they can be easily reached for maintenance, and making sure employees have the tools, supplies, and knowledge they need to keep them sanitized and well-stocked, facility managers can make sure that their restrooms always look and feel their best.

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