Far from just a functional necessity, commercial washrooms reflect the values of the organisation they’re associated with. The layout of a washroom is the most important factor when considering user experience and response. Thoughtful, well-designed and inclusive washroom layouts require a deep understanding of the needs, behaviour, and limitations of various users.

With the right design, a washroom can go beyond just function and provide a truly comfortable experience for all. Here are several areas that need to be considered in determining a commercial washroom layout.

Types of commercial washrooms

While the needs of washroom users vary, it’s important that all installations align with global standards outlined by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Dolphin Solutions is accredited with ISO 9001, which focuses on quality management principles like enhancing customer satisfaction and conforming to all statutory and regulatory requirements. Our solutions are designed to exceed each washroom location’s unique expectations and regulations.

For the Terrace Restaurant in Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse complex, Dolphin Solutions worked with Webb Plus Architects to install infrared touch-free taps and touch-free soap dispensers with an elegant Antique Black finish to complement the restaurant’s striking interior design. Being hands-free, these accessories hold up for longer than standard-use taps when accommodating the heavy foot traffic of this highly sought location.

Transport stations like Sydney Airport experience constant foot traffic from luggage-carrying travellers and rushing commuters. We fitted the airport’s washrooms with durable infrared sensor taps and infrared foam soap dispensers to significantly reduce cross-contamination and promote safe hygiene among passengers travelling through the terminal. This provides passengers with a convenient and hygienic hand-wash experience.

In corporate settings, management put a premium on providing a better sense of safety, privacy, and comfort in designing washrooms, with the state-of-office facilities linked strongly to employee satisfaction and retention. This is a factor in the downward trend of urinals that have since been replaced by full cubicles in male washrooms.

Washroom requirements for employees also tend to differ from clients in commercial establishments. For example, many employees utilise taps not only for handwashing but also for brushing their teeth. Efforts are made to create washroom settings that have a homey or hotel-like feel.

For instance, Dolphin Solutions worked with architects Fender Katsalidis and Buildcorp to renovate the 20 Bond Street commercial office tower in the Sydney CBD. Our full Alavo washroom systems were ideal for the high-foot traffic of this landmark commercial building, with mounted custom wall lights between washpoints to provide the building’s occupants with an individual user experience.

Stylish and economical, our Bond Street washrooms eliminate cross-contamination and reduce slipping hazards while matching the building’s modern, elegant design.

User demographics

The main demographic of your washroom must be considered at all times throughout the design process. We recommend observing the following demographics and tailoring your washroom to each group’s unique needs.

Age

Appropriate washroom layouts will be different for younger users and older users. Younger children tend to need support in using washroom facilities, thus requiring additional space. Additionally, school washrooms need to have good sightlines for administrators to utilise and help minimise any opportunity for bullying.

Gender

A recent study from Ghent University in Belgium found that users of women’s washrooms tended to take longer than users of men’s washrooms. This is partly due to biological reasons but is also due to the design of women’s washrooms, as stalls take up significantly more space than urinals. This reduces the number of facilities that can be installed compared to men’s washrooms.

Due to changing gender norms, washroom types have also evolved to be more inclusive. This is another factor that has increased the demand for superloos like the units designed and furnished by Dolphin in 2 Forbury Place, Reading. The above Ghent University study found that using unisex bathrooms allowed women to reduce their waiting times by 75%.

Because of the self-contained setup in superloos, users of all genders can complete all washroom activities within the cubicle, providing an unparalleled level of privacy and safety without the need for additional provisions. It should be noted however that users tend to spend longer periods in a superloo than a traditional cubicle, giving rise to the need to increase the number of washrooms by 20 to 25%.

Disability access

Ratified in 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires that all people with disabilities have the right to access premises and the right to equal participation in Australia. The Disability Access to Premises Standards 2010 are revised every five years to ensure suitable access to buildings for people with disabilities. Compliance is based on the standards that existed at the time of a building’s construction, meaning that new builds are subject to higher accessibility requirements.

Standards vary depending on the type of building, with many toilets for people with disabilities failing to meet these requirements. Broadly speaking, doors must be able to be operated by people with reduced dexterity or strength and there must be sufficient space to manoeuvre a wheelchair or mobility scooter. Bathroom layouts of 1.5m x 2.2m are considered the minimum standard for accessibility.

Dolphin Solutions is committed to designing washrooms with accessibility in mind, including features like appropriate layouts, colours and accessories. Infrared taps and soap dispensers can assist with hand washing, while toilet tissue dispensers are superior to roll holders as they allow the paper to be accessed with one hand.

People with infants

Parents and caregivers need a clean, quiet, and comfortable place to tend to the hygiene of their babies while visiting shopping centres and similar other establishments. Infants’ needs are vastly different from physically challenged individuals; although in areas where baby-changing facilities are not available, parents resort to using accessible washrooms, resulting in longer queues. In Australia, baby-changing stations are not required in public washrooms outside of care or education service providers.

Dolphin Solutions puts your needs at the front of our washroom designs

At the heart of all the codes for designing commercial washroom layouts is the human experience.

The washroom is a big part of people’s overall touchpoint with your establishment or destination. Designing your commercial washroom in a way that is considerate of their needs goes a long way in positioning yourself as a business they can trust and build enduring relationships with.

Find out more about Dolphin’s premium range of code-compliant washroom solutions