Plumbing Specification by Restroom Type

  June 3, 2011

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, plumbing-product specification.

Manufacturers frequently give information in plumbing-product descriptions related to expected service lives for their products. Often, they derive this information from product testing under conditions designed to simulate real-world activities. This service-life information is useful, but managers must recognize the particular characteristics of their restrooms will greatly affect a product's service life.

Commercial and institutional facilities generally have three types of restrooms: high-demand, high-profile, and those at risk for high abuse. The same plumbing product component or finish will have a much different service life in each restroom type.

High-demand restrooms, such as those found in airports, require components and finishes rated for high-volume traffic. Components must have a very high cycle rating to have a reasonable service life. Components also must offer ease of maintenance because high-demand restrooms typically cannot remain out of service for long.

High-profile restrooms, such as those found in corporate headquarters, tend to support the facility’s image. The traffic volume in these restrooms is much lower, so components do not need a high cycle rating. But it is important that managers select components and finishes that do not show dirt or stains. Service lives in these restrooms are somewhat important but take a backseat to appearance.

Restrooms at risk for high levels of abuse, such as those in a shopping center, require the selection of components and finishes based on their resistance to vandalism. It does not matter if a component has long rated service life if vandals can damage or destroy it easily. Service life must center on the length of time a manager can reasonably expect a particular component or finish to perform in such applications.


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