The Government’s potential decision to require all new buildings over a certain size to provide gendered bathrooms has been making headlines as their review of public toilets in the UK is under scrutiny again.
The long-standing public conversation, officially started in 2020 with the Government’s call for evidence on toilet provisions for men and women, in which Cistermiser was invited to submit evidence and has included many voices calling for access, safety and hygiene, coming from a range of organisations: Changing Places, the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), LGBTQIA+ action groups, and many more.
The Government’s current suggestion is not to exclude gender-neutral bathrooms, stipulating, rather, that new buildings over a certain size must include male and female bathrooms and that unisex bathrooms should be installed if there is available space. This is an important inclusion in large public spaces, such as shopping centres and public transport hubs, for example. With so many people transiting through these spaces, having facilities that are inclusive is important, not only for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but for parents with children and those with physical needs beyond those of the able-bodied public.
Cistermiser’s primary goal has always been to provide hygienic washroom solutions for all and we remain committed to working towards this goal, supporting facilities managers, architects, specifiers and building owners with state of the art, non-touch washroom controls that ensures hygiene and safety standards are kept consistently high.
We think it is important to acknowledge that the government’s decision is not a foregone conclusion and that the Government is starting their technical consultation in the Autumn of this year, which will look at the inclusion of self-contained cubicles in unisex bathrooms.
The submission Cistermiser made as part of the Government’s 2020 public consultation on male and female public washrooms said that “we feel it is equally important to acknowledge that there are members of our society that do not feel safe or comfortable, using shared facilities and it is important that, when out in public, they too can feel safe and comfortable when using a washroom, and that it would also offers the highest levels of hygiene.
In light of the necessary hygiene considerations post-COVID, men are able to use facilities with minimal touchpoints, which in turn improves the overall hygiene of male washrooms. By installing infrared urinal sensors like the IRC® from Cistermiser, contact points for men are cut from 11 to just 2! Hygiene can be managed in public washrooms without having to resort to closing them completely, a solution we sadly saw many councils resort to during the lockdown.
The question that needs to be asked of the councils and those providing washrooms on a commercial scale, “How are you going to provide facilities that are inclusive and sensitive to the needs of everyone in the community whilst being efficient and hygienic?” Our belief is that through the strategic installation of touch-free solutions that can be installed in either gender or gender-neutral washrooms, allows everyone to use public washrooms in a safe and hygienic way. With products such as Cistermiser’s IRC® infrared urinal controls, the motion activated Easyflush Wave for WCs as well as with the new infrared Vecta+ tap range.
Cistermiser strongly encourages the government to find a solution that meets the needs of all when stipulating legislation around public facilities and is looking forward working closely with the entire supply chain to make this happen.