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Plumbing Affects Your Potty But Not The Way You Think Part 1

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You may be thinking just from the title that today we’re going to be talking about toilets. However, we suggest you read on because you’ll find that not to be the case.

Did you know that there is no standard plumbing regulations across the United States of America? It seems like one of those things that you may have just subconsciously assumed considering that we’re living in a modern society. In reality, the plumbing code varies by region of our nation and more so, our nation varies from the rest of the world.

So, that’s a mildly interesting fact, but why should you care? You should care because a dynamic plumbing code affects the legal definition of a “public bathroom.” Depending on where you live, your rights, accessibility, and required bathroom amenities vary greatly based on the local plumbing code.

All of our following data and information is in accordance with the information on the  American Restroom Association website at the time of publication. For a comprehensive list of all the individual states and their plumbing codes, please reference the ARA. However, for now, let’s break down the regions, the different plumbing codes, and the effect they have on access to public bathrooms.

Partition Privacy

As you can imagine, the issue of privacy in regards to the bathroom is an important and regular conversation. The current consensus, derived from various laws and codes, is that bathrooms must be compliant with adequate toilet stall partitions. This means a partition that blocks sight from below the core of the body and up to the face of the average height of the user. As of right now, the necessity of urinal partitions is dependent on local code mandations, though it is reported that users are more comfortable with a satisfactory urinal divider.

Potty Parity

This is the name for advocacy efforts to make toilets accessible to everyone, specifically the longer lines often observed at women’s bathrooms. While the one to one ratio of men’s and women’s facilities were reasonable at one point, that mandate wasn’t equipped to address surge times (such as set changes during a concert) or the extra time needed when mothers are helping small children use the bathroom as well. The ARA sees several feasible solutions, one was already enacted in the 2009 version of the International and Uniform Plumbing Codes — toilet minimums per a certain number of occupants. Another would be to encourage the use and building of more unisex toilets.

Regions

Eastern States

Most states in the East of America comply to the International Plumbing Code (IPC). Check the code itself for a handy table regarding how many toilets you should have installed per number of occupants. In the meantime we’re going to discuss some of the amenities and specifications required in addition to the proper amount of toilets.

  • Businesses are required to have the minimum amount of facilities free of charge for each sex. If the business wants to charge to use the facilities, it must be the use of a facility additional and separate from the minimum requirement.
  • Depending on the building and occupancy, separate sex showers, sinks, and toilets.
  • A unisex toilet, sink, and shower.
  • Doors should be private and securable from the inside. These privacy partitions and doors are required for both the unisex and separate sex bathrooms.
  • Nonabsorbent, smooth, slip-resistant floors which slope to proper floor drains.
  • Signs indicating the location of the bathrooms must be visible in any case that the bathroom is not. The sign must be legible from any area of the pool deck with letters at least one inch high.

We bet some of these rules and regulations have never crossed your mind! No worries, so long as you adjust your public bathrooms to have proper toilet stall dividers, obvious signage, and legal amenities. Stay tuned for part two of this blog where we address the other regions with American-specific codes and some rogue states that still regulate their own commercial bathrooms individually.

Here at Restroom Stalls and All, we believe in high-quality, accessible restrooms for everyone that are in accordance with the law, local codes, and comfort. The quality of a bathroom and its amenities, even something as seemingly obvious and standardized as restroom partition walls, can greatly affect the overall experience of your customers. Contact us today to elevate your commercial bathroom.