Category B ( 2 ) : Describe your expectations of public toilets / restrooms and provide suggestions on how to educate the public on the correct use of public toilet facilities.
Public toilets are places where one is obliged to ease oneself in unfamiliar surroundings among the strangers of the same sex. In recent years, thanks to various publicity programmes, the issue of public toilets has evolved from being an embarrassing subject to one that is gaining widespread awareness and discussion. When we ask "Why is the Toilet Dirty?” we trace its origin to many diverse and interrelated toilet issues including design, public health, social graciousness, cleaning skills and methods, building maintenance, accessibility, setting norms and standards, legislation, research and development, technologies, public education and environmental issues such as water. These issues are also different in each kind of building for example a factory's toilet serves different visitors than that of a shopping centre, or a school, a hospital, an office, a coffee shop and so on. The toilet needs of a man are also different from a woman, a child, an elderly person, an infant and different kinds of handicapped people like the visually handicapped, blind, wheel-chair bound and so on. Furthermore, ethnic and cultural needs also have to be addressed. Anyone, who has ever been in an overcrowded or uncomfortable public toilet, will value a good toilet design. The usual demands placed on a high-profile, high traffic and heavily used facility requires extra thoughts for each process. A well-designed public toilet has to be clean and dry, well ventilated, easy to maintain, carefully planned layout and handicap friendly. Placing the appliances in order of use simplifies the circulation and reduces the distance travelled by the user. Using sensor-operated appliances should encourage hygiene. Directional signs leading to the toilets should meet the needs of the Handicap Welfare Association (HWA). Location of toilets should not be too remote from main traffic area to avoid long distance walking for the aged with weak knees. It has to be easily accessible for those with urgency and for better personal safety for the user. Further to this, signages used should be sufficient and prominently displayed in all main traffic passageways, so that the user does not need to ask for directions. Signages used should show contrast of dark solid figure against a white background and significant to be seen by the visually handicapped and the aged. Fancy signage using “Queen” and “King” or “Hat”, “High-heel shoes” are confusing and should not be encouraged. It is not easily distinguished by the visually handicapped and the aged. All public toilets should be mechanically ventilated. Small public toilets should be fitted with an exhaust fan as minimum.
A well-designed lighting system will save electrical energy and improve the appearance of the toilet. Poorly designed fixtures with discoloured diffusers go a long way to make a toilet dingy. Dark and shadowy, off-coloured lighting can create the impression that a toilet is not clean. Natural lighting can be used to help create a softer, friendlier environment. Harsh lighting can create a cold and unwelcoming air while being inappropriate for the tasks being performed. It can also highlight hard-to-clean areas. Thoughtful selection of fixtures and lamps coupled with careful placement is essential. All public toilets should be provided with warm-colour lighting for general lighting as well as down lights above the wash basin or mirror. The minimum general lighting level is 300 lux. Warm-colour lighting aids in creating a better ambience in the toilets, which in turn encourages more care and responsibility from the users.
Materials used for the toilets should be durable and resistant to vandalism and neglect. Applied finishes such as paint should be avoided. Examples of good materials are non-slip ceramic...
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