Top of the Class Washroom considerations for Educational Settings
Top of the Class Washroom considerations for Educational Settings

The specification of washrooms for educational settings brings with it many considerations, especially given the vast age range and needs associated with this environment. Children spend much of their lifetime in school, and as such having comfortable and inviting washroom facilities is of pertinence.

Petal’s experience in the supply and fit of education washroom facilities spans 40 years and has involved installations in many hundreds of schools across the UK and Ireland – from intimate pre-school settings to world class prestigious universities. When it comes to education projects, there is no scenario Petal will not have encountered over our many years of trading. With this experience in mind, we have put together some key considerations for the design and specification of suitable systems for every application.

Age Specific Aesthetics

For many children starting school, toilet competence and confidence may not yet be fully established, so achieving a fun, bright approach to washroom design is key for pre-school and early primary years. Petal’s Beep system is designed specifically for early education, with a range of bright colours and striking graphic options available making it the ideal nursery solution. With rounded corners and radiused edges, this is a child friendly approach to design which gives a gentle, welcoming finish.

Petal’s Chico range has been developed for the primary age group specifically and with a sloped door feature, it provides a quirky finish for a fun-loving audience. A full range of compact grade laminates is available together with a range of colourful graphic options, which can be combined in cubicle and wall panels for maximum fun.

With secondary and third level education comes an enhanced level of sophistication in design terms, and this is where Petal’s Thor cubicles are the most popular choice. With a wide range of woodgrain and solid colour options, a huge choice is available to suit the needs of every individual application, helping to achieve a finish relevant for this more mature age group.

The Privacy / Safety Balance

Across every education setting, an important balance must be struck between the privacy of the user and the ability for adult supervision to occur where necessary. Low level panelling is key in the Beep and Chico systems, allowing toilet shy children the privacy they need whilst achieving the practicality required for teachers and carers to supervise as appropriate. These systems can each be configured in four different sizes to provide required levels of privacy for children of differing heights.

Additional height and privacy is required in a secondary or third level education setting and this is where the application of Petal’s Thor system is more prevalent. Standard cubicle heights are a popular choice, especially where budgetary constraints are at play, but where additional privacy is required, Petal’s full height Thor Plus system is the ideal application. The increased strides towards gender neutral applications will generally necessitate full height privacy but often this can stretch school budgets prohibitively. The over-door panel of Petal’s Thor Plus provides a cost-effective solution to full height privacy, thus achieving an ideal result in both user comfort and client budget terms. Check out the use of this system in our Ellon Academy project – a gender neutral environment and in St Catherine’s School – a 6th form boarding house – both of which required enhanced levels of privacy due to their shared facilities settings.

Durability

Perhaps the most important consideration where a client is concerned is the specification of a system which will last the test of time. Educational settings can often attract rough and tumble in washrooms – whether through accidental damage through horseplay, or from deliberate vandalism. Petal’s education products are complete with secure floor fixings within the integral leg while continuous wall channels are vastly superior to typical patch fittings, providing practical and robust solutions in the face of physical demands. With the additional of an integral headrail, the Chico system achieves the exceptional stability required to withstand constant daily use.

Thor’s semi-framed cubicle system has been proven to withstand the rigours of a school environment having been installed in hundreds of projects across the UK and Ireland. With its 10-year warranty, this system has been designed and engineered to last. Tamper resistant doweled fixings and three hinges per door make Petal’s washrooms stand up favorably against competitor products, which can often rattle and deteriorate more quickly under constant use. With suitability for both wet and dry environments, Thor’s suitability extends not only to WC settings but also into shower cubicle configurations.

Compliance options

The Petal systems can be configured to meet any specific or local compliance requirements. Options for inward or outward opening doors with appropriate fittings are part of each system along with hinge configurations to facilitate lift off doors. The vast range of laminate options within our two colour collections will enable designers to find the aesthetic while also complying with LRV compliance.

Hygiene

With schools widely recognised as a hotbed for the spread of infections, hygiene concerns in a school setting have always been a major priority. In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, now, more than ever, the education system has had to embrace its role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and the impact this has on the wider community.

The first role in preventing infection spread is in handwashing itself. It may sound obvious, but the selection of vanity units which are age appropriate in height and ease of use has a major impact on the ability of children to be able to carry out the act of handwashing properly. Having access to soap and hand towels in close proximity to the basin ensures the full process can be carried out smoothly, and also can prevent slips and falls caused by wet floors.

A further element in ensuring hygienic settings is through cleaning of shared surfaces and where washrooms are concerned this is necessary in an enhanced fashion. Petal’s use of high performance Compact Grade Laminate materials across the education range means they are easily wipeable and capable of withstanding even the most rigorous cleaning regimes. From vanity units to cubicle doors and wall panels, CGL can be utilised the washroom environment safe in the knowledge it can achieve the hygienic surfaces required.

For more information on our Education range visit the Sector page here, or visit our Case Studies to view a selection of our projects in situ.

28 June 2021 10:48 am
Call or speak to a member of our sales team today
Contact us