Portaloo launches new guide to specifying accessible washrooms


Portaloo, part of the Portakabin Group, has launched a new guide to help facilities and estates managers specify toilets and washrooms for people with disabilities, including those who are unable to use standard accessible toilets.

Regulations are in place requiring building owners and service providers to make reasonable adjustments to their premises to cater for people with a wide range of disabilities. Buildings have to be accessible and toilet and washing facilities should be adapted for a range of users.

“The lack of fully accessible toilets simply denies people with severe disabilities the right to freedom, mobility and community participation”, says Mark Fielding, Regional Manager at Portaloo. “Hundreds of thousands of people need these extra facilities in public places to help them enjoy the day-to-day activities that many of us just take for granted.”

“Our team has a wealth of expertise in the provision of accessible and fully accessible toilet and washroom facilities. This new guide shares that knowledge and experience to help raise awareness of the key specification considerations and encourage more organisations to provide accessibility in the built environment – from public services and transport to leisure and sport.”

The guide can be downloaded from the Portakabin website and offers practical advice about:

  • The different types of accessible toilet – for users of standard-sized wheelchairs and fully accessible toilets designed for people with severe disabilities and their carers
  • What legal obligations must be met when providing toilets for disabled people – the guide considers the recommendations of the Changing Places Consortium and the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, Disability Discrimination legislation and Building Regulations Part M
  • Who needs to provide accessible toilets and washrooms
  • Key factors to consider when installing or altering toilet and washroom facilities for disabled people including size, design and layout; toilet, washbasin and floor specifications; the need for an adult-sized changing table, ceiling hoist, privacy screen and assistance alarm, and access considerations
  • Implications when converting existing premises and for installing a new accessible toilet building
  • Criteria for selecting a supplier of accessible toilet facilities, such as quality assurance, extent of service provision, product quality, site surveys, customer service commitments and how to compare quotations.

To meet the growing demand for fully accessible toilet and changing facilities, Portaloo has recently launched Portaloo Accessible Plus – the UK’s first self-contained, semi-permanent toilet and shower building for wheelchair users and their carers which is available for short or longer-term hire. This building has been specifically designed to provide more comfort, dignity and privacy than any other interim facility currently available.

To download a copy of the new guide, see www.portaloo.co.uk/accessible-guide.

For further information about the new Portaloo range of fully accessible toilet and changing facilities for short-term use, visit www.portaloo.co.uk/accessible-plus, email information@portakabin.co.uk or call 0845 401 0010.


The changing face of public leisure

Washroom design and manufacturer, Washroom Washroom has completely refreshed the changing areas at a busy public leisure centre, delivering on practicality as well as style.

Brixton Leisure Centre, a vibrant family friendly leisure centre run by charitable enterprise, Greenwich Leisure Limited, has been refurbished to provide some of the best facilities in London. It boasts a swimming pool, state-of-the-art gym, special children’s gym, squash courts, climbing wall and conference suite.

Working with interior fit out specialist, RJ Interiors of Essex, Washroom installed new male and female changing areas on the fourth floor of the building as part of the extensive refurbishment.

Cubicles from Washroom’s Forte range were installed for both the WC and changing cubicles. Impervious to water and with a satin anodised aluminium headrail, Forte is the perfect choice for wet area changing cubicles providing an aesthetic, affordable and long-term solution. Manufactured in Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) for extra durability, the cubicles were finished in a distinctive dark wood effect.  

Legato benching, an integrated benching system which consists of an aluminium support construction, profiled seating and complementary hookrail, was installed and complemented by Washroom’s Forza lockers, which offer exceptional strength and durability. Both the benching and lockers were manufactured from SGL with the same dark wood finish to complement the cubicles and add to the high specification design.

Completing the look are the Corian vanity units and grooming shelves, which were manufactured specifically to tone in with the colour palette used throughout the changing areas. Corian is highly durable and hygienic and creates a luxury finish yet is durable and easy to maintain, making it the ideal partner for a public leisure centre.

Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom commented: “As a popular public leisure centre the main consideration was to create a changing area which would be able to withstand the high usage, without the need for constant maintenance. Yet at the same time it needed to be aesthetically pleasing and in line with the high quality finish achieved as part of the refurbishment. The use of Solid Grade Laminate, wood veneers and Corian creates the perfect balance.”

For more information on the range of services and products offered by Washroom Washroom, please visit www.washroom.co.uk, call 0845 470 3000 or email sales@washroom.co.uk.


Future-proofing holistic approach to student needs

Delivery of high quality education that meets individual needs is being fulfilled in London Borough of Havering through an innovative approach to inclusivity.

Havering College of Further & Higher Education in Hornchurch has just opened a new hygiene room at its Ardleigh Campus, to compliment existing facilities at its Quarles Campus, Harold Hill, and ensure the College is fully accessible for all students, regardless of their individual requirements. With equipment supplied by the leader in hygiene room provision, Clos-o-Mat, the room features a Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita automatic ‘wash and dry’ toilet, drop-down support arms, height adjustable washbasin, mobile changing bench, hoist, screen and shower chair.

The hygiene room enables anyone who would normally need help to go to the toilet to use facilities with little or no help. The Palma Vita has built-in douching and drying, so there is no need for manual cleansing with toilet tissue, and a consistent, quality level of cleanliness is achieved after going to the toilet. The hoist facilitates transfer from wheelchair to changing bench or toilet. The height adjustable basin can be set at whatever height users find most comfortable, and the shower chair enables students who may need to wash thoroughly but cannot stand without support can shower in comfort.

“It looks fantastic,” says College Operations Manager Lesley Cole. “The College’s whole ethos is about removing barriers to quality education, and allowing equal access. The new room means that the needs of a specific student we now have enrolled are met; with the raft of equipment therein, it is a multi-functional room that enables any future students that need them to use appropriate toilet facilities, easily and in comfort.”

National statistics show at least 6% of the student population has a disability. Department of Education guidelines require provision of a hygiene room. Clos-o-Mat has, uniquely, published white papers covering accessible toilet provision in schools, and specifically hygiene rooms. These, plus support CAD drawings and additional technical information, can be accessed via the company’s website www.clos-o-mat.com.


Tel 0161 969 1199;  Email: info@clos-o-mat.com; www.facebook.com/clos-o-mat; Twitter: @clos-o-mat


Regular maintenance prevents urinal blockages, says Lanes

Bad smells and blocked urinals are a common gripe for customers of pubs and restaurants when they use the men’s toilets – yet the problem can be easily avoided with regular maintenance of drainage systems, says Lanes Group.

The discovery made by one of the national drainage company’s teams when they were called to a public house and restaurant in Leeds, West Yorkshire, proves what can go wrong when proper attention is not given to urinal maintenance.

Customers had been complaining about the urinals becoming blocked for a number of weeks, so the pub called in drainage engineers from the Lanes depot in Leeds to investigate.

Once a plumber had removed the urinals from the wall, the problem became immediately clear – the waste pipes had become almost completely blocked with scale.

Lanes Operations Manager Tony Moore said: “It was as bad as it gets in terms of urinal waste pipe blockages. There was almost nowhere for the waste to go but back into the urinal bowl. No wonder customers were unhappy.”

Scale build-up in urinals can be caused by minerals in the water used to flush the system. More commonly, it is made up of deposits of uric salt crystals from urine. Over weeks and months, the salts coat the inside of pipes, creating uric scale, restricting the flow.

Tony Moore said: “The problem of uric scale can be made worse by the design of the pipe systems. Sharp bends in the pipes, which are not uncommon in public toilets created in confined spaces, slow the flow of the waste, increasing the chance of deposits forming.

“There is also a tendency for pub and restaurant companies to reduce water flush rates and frequency to a minimum to reduce water costs, which increases the risk of urinal blockages occurring. Chewing gum or other debris discarded in urinals can also add to the problem.

“This particular public house was a large and popular venue, so thousands of men used the toilets every week, which would have made the uric scale build up all the faster.

“There are ways to use chemicals and bacterial agents on the market that can be used to break down the uric salts, preventing them from depositing in the urinal waste pipes.

“But for many high volume public toilets, the most effective solution is to carry out regularly preventative drainage maintenance.”

One of the most common methods Lanes uses to clear uric scale from small bore pipes like urinal waste pipes is to use an electro-mechanical cleaning device. This is a flexible rod with a vibrating steel coil, which loosens the scale, allowing it to be flushed into the main sewer.

It is the safest and cleanest alternative to high pressure water jetting which might not be practical for an above-ground drainage system.

In the case of the pub in Leeds, however, the uric scale problem was so bad, the most cost-effective and quickest way to solve the problem was to replace the blocked pipes with new ones. www.lanesfordrains.co.uk


Who assesses how effective you are?

 Many businesses pride themselves on the standard of cleaning and maintenance of the building they occupy or that they are responsible for cleaning. The most frequent place visited by most users of the building is the washrooms. First impressions count and high standard must be achieved consistently if the provider’s reputation is to be maintained.

As a service provider how do you know how you compare with your competitors and how do you gain recognition?

Entry into the annual Loo of the Year Awards will provide an independent assessment of ‘away from home’ toilet provision and recognition of the standards achieved based on ‘the toilet standard’ for the UK.

Mike Bone, the Awards Managing Director, said “Leading retailers, restaurant and pub chains, visitor attractions, holiday parks, shopping centres, local authorities, and importantly the cleaning and FM sector generally recognise the annual Loo of the Year Awards as a proven, cost effective and independent annual assessment of the standard of their toilet provision management and receive proper recognition through our annual grading scheme”.

Nominations and entries are now being received for the 2015 Loo of the Year Awards – the annual competition to find the best places ‘to go’ in the UK including The Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and new for 2015 – the Republic of Ireland.

There are thousands of toilets entered annually from all market sectors (there are 60 entry categories). Entries are invited from all categories and every entry receives an unannounced, dedicated, inspection visit. Entries gaining a bronze, silver, gold or platinum award are presented with a certificate – to help them promote their Award winning facilities to their customers and staff.

There are a range of National and Overall awards and trophies for the very best entries which will be presented at the Awards Presentation Event to be held on Friday 4th December at the elegant four star St Johns Hotel in Solihull.

The Attendant of the Year Awards form part of Loo of the Year Awards but relate specifically to the cleaning staff that look after facilities, rather than the loos themselves. All attendants and/or cleaning staff will automatically be entered for an Attendant of the Year Award.

Anyone can enter online via the Awards website: www.loo.co.uk or by contacting information@loo.co.uk for an entry form. The closing date for entries is 30th June.


Just another day at the office for Washroom Washroom

Innovative washroom manufacturer, Washroom Washroom, has recently completed the installation of new washrooms on three levels of a prestigious central London office building.

The building boasts a superb location in the heart of London’s thriving West End, next to iconic department store Fortnum and Mason, and provides flexible office space specifically for SMEs. It has recently undergone a complete refurbishment in a project led by Knight Harwood to ensure it provides high quality common areas and facilities, which are increasingly demanded by office staff.

Working closely with Knight Harwood, Washroom designed and installed both male and female washrooms on levels one to six of the building, also providing a complete plumbing service including cisterns, pans, push plates, taps hand dryers throughout. As the available washroom space on each floor was very tight, Washroom’s bespoke design helped to maximise the available space as well as complementing the remodelled reception and other refurbished common areas.

Washroom’s Marcato cubicle doors, manufactured in Solid Grade Laminate (SGL), provide a durable solution to reduce future maintenance costs and were the ideal choice for use in a busy office environment.

The vanity units, which feature individually shaped sinks, were manufactured in Solid surface Corian and specified in Antarctica White, to complement the rest of the washroom space. Corian not only looks great, with its seamless finish adding to the sleek design, but also offers incredible durability.

Washroom’s integrated duct panelling system, which – like the cubicles – was manufactured in SGL and specified in Pearl White, was installed both behind the WCs and underneath the vanity units, to allow ease of access for repairs and maintenance.

Andy Scott, construction manager at Knight Harwood, said: “We hadn’t worked with Washroom Washroom prior to this project but we were pleased with how smoothly the whole process worked. The client is pleased with the finish, as are we.”

Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom, commented: “This project required a balance between providing a durable solution without compromising on aesthetics so the choice of materials here was vitally important. Space was particularly tight on this project, but the team loves a challenge!”

For more information on the range of services and products offered by Washroom Washroom, please visit www.washroom.co.uk, call 0845 470 3000 or email sales@washroom.co.uk.


Formica Group launches its enhanced Washroom Collection

Formica Group addresses the demand for design versatility and bespoke interior schemes in the washroom sector with the launch of the extended Formica® Washroom Collection. A comprehensive resource of materials and decors, the collection features a strong palette including 25 new decors, and introduces Younique® by Formica Group, a custom laminate service which allows architects, designers and fabricators to create a truly bespoke look.

Offering a combination of Formica® High Pressure Laminate (HPL) and Formica® Compact, the Formica Washroom Collection offers a solution for all application areas and performance levels. The key benefit provided by these products, especially Compact grade, is that of resistance to humidity and high-wear, essential in the washroom environment. Laminates are also hygienic, durable, easy to clean and maintain.

For architects, designers, and specifiers who must balance cost, durability and flexibility with great design; the Formica Washroom Collection offers an extremely practical and versatile range of laminates, produced to conform to a variety of safety standards including resistance to surface water, and scratching.   In addition to being functional; the collection comprises a wide range of patterns, textures, colours. Bespoke printing options allow washrooms to be customised to suit particular decorative or corporate colour schemes.

Developed exclusively by Formica Group’s in-house design team, 25 brand new decors and 3 new textures have been introduced in response to the latest design trends. Eva Hoernisch, Design Manager, Formica Group Europe, comments: “Continuing our legacy as a design innovator, we have developed five brand new Plain Colours, introduced seven different shades of Paloma – a versatile ‘speckle’ pattern – and brought in Twill, a new pattern based on a multi-colour fabric with a subtle and random stripe effect.”

“An important aspect when putting the range together was to enable architects, designers and manufacturers to create harmonious ‘mix and match’ colour schemes. Patterns such as Paloma and Twill work brilliantly with Plain Colours and Woods, and can even function as a link between these two décor groups.”

Also introduced were Puregrain™, Linewood™ and Plex™ textures. The red dot design award-winning Plex has been used to accompany the Twill pattern – a truly perfect match to create a textile look, with the colour play and crisp detail providing an ideal base for Plex to unfold its beauty.

Washroom design, in terms of both colour scheme and pattern layout, plays an important part in creating facilities that are attractive and functional. The Formica Washroom Collection offers extensive design freedom for washrooms and changing rooms in a number of sectors; including hotels, schools, leisure centres or swimming pools, as well as airports, transport stations, retail outlets and places of entertainment. The in-house design team at Formica Group combined both well-established and brand new colours and decors that complement each other to provide architects and designers with everything they need to create an outstanding washroom area. Whether looking for bright and vibrant colours, or subtle and elegant woodgrain options, the Formica Washroom Collection meets the most demanding design requirements. Incorporating key design schemes and colours in washrooms allows for a continuous branding or corporate identity experience throughout a building.

Included for the first time within the Formica Washroom Collection; Younique® by Formica Group is a custom laminate service which allows any individual design, images and logos to be replicated on a laminate sheet. This service is ideal for companies who wish to match a corporate colour or a brand logo; but can also be used to replicate any individual design.

Architects Pringle Richards Sharratt used Formica Group’s Younique® service for the redevelopment of the award-winning William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, London. Eight new washrooms feature individual Morris patterns in Formica® digital print laminate. The digital prints were created with scans of William Morris original fabric design.

At the London Transport Museum the Younique service was used to digitally replicate moquette fabric designs, used to cover seating on public transport, particularly in London Underground. The replicated digital prints were applied to the Integrated Panel Systems (IPS) and cubicle doors.

The Formica Washroom Collection provides architects, designers and specifiers with solutions to suit any number of different washroom designs and complement the style of the rest of the building, including corporate colours and branding within washroom areas. Combined with the hard wearing, impact resistant and easy to maintain qualities of Formica laminate; this portfolio provides a mix of essential materials, textures and decors ideal for any washroom environment.

To request free samples please contact the Formica Group Customer Services team on tel: +44 191 259 3512 or email samples.uk@formica.com www.formica.com

This article appeared as the cover story for the December 2014 issue of Building & Facilities Management.


Ideal Standard extends Melange range with new fittings

Ideal Standard, leading provider of innovative and design-driven kitchen and bathroom solutions, announces it is to extend its Melange brassware range, with the addition of nine new fittings.

The Melange extension builds on the popularity of the design of this well-established brassware range; and enhances the existing offer, adding greater depth and choice.

The new additions to the range include as UK specific 2-hole bath filler; small basin mixers for use on smaller basins; and showroom focused fittings, such as a waterfall basin mixer and free standing bath shower mixer.

Designed by Artefact, the Melange range by Ideal Standard is a harmony of understated elegance and features side lever operation.  Melange brassware is ultra-smooth to the touch and a dream to operate whilst offering performance and reliability as an absolute given.

This timeless range of fittings is designed to blend effortlessly into any bathroom – complementing all of Ideal Standard’s Interiors Collections, including new ranges Dea and Strada.

Mike Pentecost, Marketing Director at Ideal Standard, comments: “The extension of this popular, well-established brassware range makes Melange our most extensive showroom fittings range and vastly extends its reach to meet our customers’ needs.

“Melange’s beautifully curved form adds timeless character to any bathroom and with the new enhanced availability, with n even a wider range of innovative options, makes t the complete fittings range, ideal for a wide-variety of specifications and giving customers the ability to create individual bathrooms.”

The extension to Melange brings the addition of the following new products:

  • Single lever small basin mixer
  • Single lever small bidet mixer
  • Comfort spout basin mixer
  • Waterfall basin mixer
  • Free standing bath shower mixer
  • 4-hole bath shower mixer
  • Easybox Slim shower & shower with diverter
  • UK style 2-hole bath filler
  • Side bodies for bath filling

The existing Melange range consists of: a single lever basin, bidet and bath filler, as well as a 3-hole, wall mounted and Tall basin mixer; A Thermostatic bath filler, along with bath shower mixer and 1 and 4 hole bath shower mixer options

The newly extended Melange range now offers a total of seven designs of basin mixer; three designs of bath filler; five designs of bath shower mixer; two designs of bidet mixer and one shower mixer design. www.ideal-standard.co.uk


Precision engineering from Washroom Washroom

Innovative washroom manufacturer, Washroom Washroom, has engineered a unique washroom office design in a project in the heart of the City of London.

The superb location of 62 Threadneedle Street ensures the building boasts excellent views across the City, looking out over both the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. The prestigious office building has been recently refurbished to a high standard throughout to offer more than 22,000 sq ft of quality modern office accommodation over seven floors.

As part of the extensive refurbishment, led by Rolf Judd Architects with Square Metre acting as the main contractor, Washroom installed new male and female WCs on four levels of the building. Designed to a high specification to complement the upgraded facilities, the bespoke features ensured an entirely unique space was created.

Washroom’s full height Alto WC cubicle doors, designed to provide complete privacy for visitors, were finished with a striking wood effect Engineered Veneer. The dark wood tone was highlighted with silver grains to complement the molten silver tiles installed as well as other features within the washroom. The Engineered Veneer finish ensures a consistency of colour for each cubicle door and further adds to the bespoke design and high specification feel of the project, which was worth almost £100,000 to Washroom.

Further adding to the unique design of the washrooms are the bespoke floating trough vanities. The individually shaped sinks, manufactured in white Silestone, boast a finish which is highly resistant to stains and scratches and provides excellent anti-bacterial protection, making them ideal for an office environment. Manufactured from natural Quartz, Silestone is used here to create an attractive high quality finish, to complement the rest of the building.

Washroom’s Concerto integrated duct panels, installed behind the WCs, were spray painted to a specified RAL colour to tie in with the different elements of the design and complete the look. The duct panels not only provide a sleek finish, but also allow for ease of access for future maintenance, whether planned or reactive, providing a practical design solution.

Ian Thomas, contracts manager at Square Metre, said: “Everything went very smoothly throughout the project and as a result, we’re looking forward to working closely with the Washroom Washroom team again on a number of other projects over the coming months. We were delighted with the finished design, all the bespoke elements work together perfectly to create a unique space.”

Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom, commented: “It was a pleasure to work on such a prestigious building and being able to provide another high quality bespoke design. It’s completely unique – another design which makes full use of our exclusive new Iconica Collection.”

For more information on the range of services and products offered by Washroom Washroom, please visit www.washroom.co.uk, call 0845 470 3000 or email sales@washroom.co.uk.


Changing Places opens doors to all…

clos-o-mat-alfieNext time you go to the toilet away from home, imagine how you would cope if you needed a helper…

For some 1/4million adults and children who do need help, they face having to be laid on the toilet floor, often with the door open for anyone passing to see them. New guidelines and legislation have put in place criteria to avoid this situation: installation of a Changing Places toilet. Bigger than a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet, the facility also includes additional equipment of, at least, a hoist and adult-sized changing bench.

Under both the latest Building Regulations Approved Document M and BS8300:2009, it is desirable to include a Changing Places facility in any building to which the public have access. And under the Equality Act, service providers are now required to make reasonable changes- including to the built environment- where a disabled customer or potential customer would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage.

“Having to lie on the toilet floor most people would view as a substantial disadvantage,” says Kelvin Grimes, Changing Places project manager at Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading provider of disabled toilet facilities. “We wouldn’t expect a mother to lay her baby on the floor to change it, so why should it be acceptable for a disabled person to undergo that experience?

“Our disabled population is growing- currently 10% of the UK population is registered disabled. Disabled people account for an annual spend in excess of £80billion. Disabled customers account, on average, for 20% of retail business. It is therefore ‘desirable’, to quote the legislation, that shopping centres, tourist attractions, leisure venues heed good practice, legal recommendations, and the commercial benefits of providing Changing Places toilets.”

Clos-o-Mat is the only British company with the ability to, in-house, provide design advice, supply, installation, project management, commissioning and ongoing service & maintenance of the equipment. To help all involved in the decision process, it has produced a white paper ‘Considerations & Specification of Changing Places Toilets’. The white paper, plus support data such as specifications, 2D and 3D CAD drawings, animations, FAQs, and an expert’s blog are all available on the company’s website www.clos-o-mat.com