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Choosing the right urinals for your workplace

Okay, it may not be the most glamorous purchasing decision you ever make, but choosing the right urinal for your workplace will help keep your users happy and healthy without breaking the bank. On the face of it, it might seem like a simple purchase, but there are a few factors to consider before you take the plunge. Paul Thorn, managing director of Washware Essentials has complied a few tips to help get you started.

The basics
First of all, you should probably figure out how many urinals you need to meet the requirements of your workforce. After all, a toilet shortage really isn’t much fun for anyone. Thankfully, the Health and Safety Executive have issued guidelines on this very subject. According to the guidelines, you should provide one urinal for every 30 men on your workforce – in addition to toilets, of course.

If you decide to opt for a trough urinal, rather than individual bowl urinals (more on this later), you should aim to provide around 600mm of urinal space per person. That said, there has been a shift towards more ample room per user in an effort to combat the dreaded ‘shy bladder’ syndrome. In fact, the UK Paruresis Trust recommends as much as 800mm per user.

You should also spend some time thinking about what height to install your urinals. Of course, this all depends on who will be using them – Cornwall Council recommends a mounting height of 660mm for adults.

Trough or bowl?
So you’ve figured out how many urinals you need and how high up to mount them – now it’s time to decide what kind of urinal you want to install. There are essentially two basic types of urinal: trough urinals and bowl urinals.

toilet-and-basinBowl urinals afford a greater degree of privacy, but because they need to be plumbed in individually, they are costlier to install and maintain. The great thing about trough urinals is that they only require a single waste outlet, which makes them simpler and more cost-effective in the long run.

As far as aesthetics go, some people like the look of bowl urinals, others prefer troughs. It’s really down to personal preference, as well as the overall ‘look’ of your workplace.

Material matters
When it comes to materials, you have two basic options: stainless steel or vitreous china. Vitreous china has a traditional, old-world charm, whereas stainless steel has a more modern, industrial look. Again, it’s all down to personal preference and the aesthetic of your workplace.

Although both materials have their benefits, we find that stainless steel is easier to clean and maintain than vitreous china, as well as being longer lasting and more resistant to vandalism. Unlike vitreous china, which requires specialist cleaning products, all you need to clean stainless steel is warm, soapy water – making it not only more cost-effective, but better for the environment, too. The British Stainless Steel Association has also issued guidelines on how to remove more troublesome stains like graffiti and limescale.

Finally, there are a range of accessories available to help you save money and improve user experience. Urinal dividers, which are available in both stainless steel and vitreous china finishes, offer a degree of privacy which may be especially useful if your workplace has a lot of outside visitors.

Infrared sensors remove the need for an auto-flushing cistern by automatically flushing the individual urinal after each use, rather than flushing every urinal at set intervals. As well as reducing water usage, such devices are also more hygienic than manual flushes, which require human contact. Infrared flush controllers such as the Marnic Water Watch can provide water savings of up to 90%, meaning the cost of the system is recouped in a matter of months.

Happy endings
Whether you decide to opt for troughs or bowls, stainless steel or vitreous china, a little forethought and preparation can help you make the decision on which urinal will save you money and best meet the needs of your staff for years to come.

Washware Essentials.

About Sarah OBeirne

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