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Urinals vs. Toilets; a Case Study



Toilets versus urinals


To quantify this problem in a real-world model context, the challenges posed by half time at football matches in the English Premier League can be considered:


Numbers of people


  • Premier League average home attendances for all 20 teams during the 2018/19 season = 769,6851


So, attendance = 38,484 per game, on average


  • 33% of Premier League attendees are female2


So, attendance = 12,700 women, 25,784 men per game, on average


  • Assuming that 50% of attendees might want to spend a penny during the half time break, that’s 6,350 women and 12,892 men, on average


Time taken

  • Men toilet: 60 seconds; men urinal 35 seconds (but 21 seconds to pee3)


  • Half time lasts 15 minutes, so if urinals were discarded and only WC toilet cubicles used (to ensure social distancing) the average Premier League stadium will need to provide WC toilet facilities to cater for 12,892 men (each taking 1 minute)4, which equals installation of 860 new toilet cubicles in a stadium catering for the average 38,484 people


  • Note: by comparison, Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium (60,000 attendance capacity) was built with 900 WC toilets (mainly for women), 113 disabled toilets and 370 metres of urinals


If urinals were discarded, an average premier league stadium would have to install 860 new toilet cubicles to replace urinals

Conversely if a stadium does not have space to install 860 new additional toilet cubicles (see below) and only found space for say 400, half time break would need to last 30 minutes


Space needed

  • A WC toilet must have a minimum of 450mm diameter manoeuvring space within the cubicle – the recommended internal dimensions of a standard cubicle (with internally opening door) is 800mm in width and 1500mm in depth5, plus pedestrian access space of an additional 1 metre in depth


  • So, the required footprint of a standard WC toilet cubicle (including access space) = 2 square metres


  • Stainless steel trough urinals can be specified ranging from 900mm to 3300mm in width, with a physical depth of 220mm, plus the recommended “open space” for access/standing in front of the urinal which must be 1220mm (4 feet) in depth


  • So, the required footprint of a standard 2400mm wide trough urinal (including access and standing space) = 3.5 square metres


  • Note: The larger stainless steel trough urinal specification widths can allow 2 men to use the facility at the same time, whilst maintaining 2m social distancing separation – prior to COVID-19, each visitor would typically require a standing width of 600–700mm to use a urinal, so 4 men can use a standard 2400mm wide urinal simultaneously, each taking 21 seconds to pee


Conclusion: Although the urinal space appears to take up almost twice the footprint size, it can cater for 180 men in 15 minutes, while the toilet cubicle space can only cater for 15 men in that timeframe.






Image by David Reinhart

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