How To Choose The Perfect Urinals For Your School Or College
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Urinals for Your School
On the face of it, selecting a suite of urinals for your school sounds like it should be a straightforward task - but with so much choice on the market, it can be a surprisingly time consuming affair.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll aim to help you cut down on head-scratching by detailing different types of urinal; explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the main materials used to make them; and take a look at the rules and regulations that govern school bathrooms.
There are two main materials you’re likely to encounter when shopping around for urinals: stainless steel and vitreous china. At School-Toilets.co.uk, we recommend stainless steel over vitreous china for a number of reasons. For one thing, the superior durability of stainless steel means that it’s far more difficult to break, making it highly resistant to vandalism.
Stainless steel is also by far the cheaper of the two; and while some people prefer the ‘classic’ look of a vitreous china urinal, in a modern school setting they simply don’t make economic sense. Stainless steel has a bit of a reputation for looking slightly clinical, or like something you’d see in a prison - but modern urinal design has come a long way in recent years. For instance, our range of coloured stainless steel urinals wouldn’t look out of place in even the most contemporary schools and colleges.
Finally, we always recommend stainless steel because it’s so simple to clean and maintain. No specialist tools or cleaning products are required; simply rinse down the urinal with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm water and household detergent. The only caveat is that you should avoid using abrasive pads or scourers, as these can damage the thin surface layer of chromium oxide that protects the underlying metal and gives stainless steel its corrosion-resistant properties.
Types of urinal
Trough urinals are long, narrow, basin-like fixtures that can accommodate multiple users at a time. This makes them much more cost-effective than bowl urinals. They’re also far simpler to install, since one four-person trough requires more or less the same amount of plumbing as an individual bowl; however, they do not afford the same degree of privacy as individual bowls.
Bowl urinals accommodate one user at a time. Each requires its own inlet and waste outlet, making them more expensive and time consuming to install than a trough urinal. That said, a bank of urinals can be serviced by a single cistern, which can help bring the installation cost down considerably.
Rules and regulations
The most comprehensive set of regulations regarding school toilets were published back in 2007 by the (now defunct) Department for Education and Skills. With regards to urinals, the Toilets in Schools guidance states that ‘there should be at least equal numbers of toilet pans to urinals in male toilet facilities and each urinal should be screened from the adjacent facility’.
Interestingly, the guidance also states that individual bowl urinals are preferable to trough urinals for reasons of privacy. The communal nature of trough urinals means that they can lead to paruresis, or ‘bladder shyness’ - an embarrassing and sometimes debilitating condition that is thought to affect up to one in three males in the UK.
Of course, in the real world, economic considerations mean that installing only individual bowl urinals can be prohibitively expensive, especially in larger educational establishments. As a compromise, you may wish to provide at least one washroom with bowl urinals in order to accommodate paruresis sufferers, with the remainder of your washrooms fitted with troughs.
The most recent guidance, published by the Department for Education in 2015, makes no distinction between troughs and bowls; it simply states that urinals must have ‘an adequate supply of cold water’.
At School-Toilets.co.uk, we offer a number of accessories to help make your school washrooms the best they can be.
Divider screens can be installed between individual bowl urinals to give your users even more privacy. They are available in both stainless steel and vitreous china.
Furthermore, we always recommend installing an automatic flush controller. Ordinarily, a urinal cistern will flush anywhere up to three times an hour, even when the urinal hasn’t been used; needless to say, this is hugely wasteful. A flush controller uses infrared sensors to detect when the urinal has been used - only then will it discharge the flush.
During extended periods of inactivity such as the summer holidays, a flush controller can also be calibrated to flush the cistern at regular intervals (say, every 12 hours) to ensure that the urinals are kept fresh and hygienic.