Five ways to reduce the cost and improve the benefits of a new Public Toilet
Installing a new public toilet can be expensive, but they play such an important role in the creation of a vibrant local infrastructure. The importance of having suitable public toilets, appropriate for individual locations has been highlighted further during recent times and most significantly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have also seen how relying on local businesses to provide toilets for public use reduces the options available to us.
This blog shares five suggestions for reducing the cost and achieving the greatest benefit from a new public toilet.
1. Share the new space with another local amenity
Designing the public toilet space to incorporate another amenity can help reduce the operating and whole life cost of new installations. In the example below for instance, whilst optioneering a new public toilet at the bus station in Hemel Hempstead, we incorporated a travel centre for use by the travel operator. The building was designed, constructed and installed as a single unit providing modern toilet facilities in a prime location.
The rental revenue received for the use of the travel centre is used to offset the operating cost associated with the public toilets but also facilitated a higher construction budget, which in turn allowed for a higher specification building than may otherwise have been possible. This type of shared use building also tends to reduce vandalism and the amount of anti-social behaviour experienced at and around the toilets. We have employed this concept in many areas, for a range of clients including facilities such as retail kiosks, harbour and park managers offices, cafés, and even a dry cleaner’s collection point within public toilet blocks.
2. Install contactless charging
Charging for the use of public toilets is a much debated topic. What is not in doubt however is that in locations and areas where there are high numbers of visitors, the revenues generated by charging for the use of public toilets can contribute significantly to the operating costs associated with the operation of the toilets. Thus, benefiting the council and the community.
Contactless charging has become the most popular choice for public toilets, especially given the current pandemic situation. The use of coins and cash in general has dramatically reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have increasingly found that people no longer have loose change available when using a public toilet and now prefer to pay by card.
Contactless charging makes funding the installation of new public toilets a more viable option for most councils, generating income to cover the costs of cleaning and maintenance. A four-cubicle toilet in a popular car park location would typically attract 40,000 uses per annum which may generate revenues of £12,000 or more. The highest volume Healthmatic location currently generates a revenue of over £150,000 per annum.
The Healthmatic contactless charging equipment can also incorporate the option to automatically open and close the public toilets, further increasing the operational efficiency by reducing the manual labour associated with this task. This option further reduces the opportunity for casual vandalism.
3. Remove the lobby
One of the primary design considerations when installing a new public toilet building is the location, how much space is required and how big does the building have to be. Traditionally, multi occupancy toilets have an entrance through a shared lobby area and a communal hand washing space. Removing the lobby and communal areas by adopting a direct cubicle entry design reduces the footprint of the building and consequently the cost of construction and installation. This may also reduce the cost of cleaning, maintenance and general upkeep.
Avoiding internal communal spaces can enhance the user experience, provides greater levels of privacy and comfort, can support a gender neutral approach if desired and improves safety in addition to the commercial advantages.
4. Remotely open and close public toilets
Staffing for public toilets can be expensive, which is why having the ability to automatically open and close toilets can improve the efficiency of cleaning operations. This also reduces the environmental impact of the toilet by reducing the number of journeys required to service them and reduces the likelihood of them being occupied overnight.
The system can operate 365 days a year, be adjusted according to the season and be controlled remotely. Particularly useful when catering for special activities or events.
5. Tackling Climate Change
Modernising or installing new public toilets is an opportunity to consider and control our environmental impact. All Healthmatic products and installation are designed to minimise environmental impact both during construction and operation.
Toilets are fitted with low water usage systems, minimising water use and waste, which also serves to lower utility costs. LED lighting is used as standard with automatic control and low power modes, reducing energy consumption, as does the energy efficient hand drying equipment, which is specified according to the type of building and volume of use. Construction elements such as a sedum roof and grey water recycling can be incorporated, depending on the design requirements of the building. Eco-friendly toilets which can be installed “off-grid” without the need for mains power and water are also available as an alternative to traditional solutions.
We hope we have enlightened your thinking in some small way when it comes to considering the renovation or installation of public toilet facilities in your region or constituency. Public toilets are a key factor in every part of our country, whether that be in caring for visitors to our areas or in enabling our local residents to enjoy the benefits of other local amenities.
If you are interested in learning more about any of the methods mentioned here, or if you have any other queries related to the provision of public toilet facilities, we are here to help.February 2, 2021 1:02 pm