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Standardizing Restroom Products


I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, specifying restroom and plumbing products.

One proven strategy for successfully specifying restroom products in institutional and commercial buildings is to develop a manual of standard specification practices related to these products by searching trade literature and online resources and talking with vendors. This approach benefits maintenance and engineering departments in several ways.

First, referring to this manual when specifying products ensures the specifier selects a compatible product, technicians install it according to code, and inventory costs remain low. The manual also provides a ready reference when comparing and evaluating new products. This approach keeps restroom equipment up to date, and it takes advantage of efficiencies that result from design improvements.

A key feature of the manual is the standard source list. It describes each restroom component group and the group’s authorized suppliers, and it provides supplier contact information. Examples of component groups are baby-changing stations, door hardware, dispensers, electrical equipment, HVAC components, hand dryers, partitions, and plumbing fixtures. Specification standards also generate savings because they limit duplication of parts, assemblies and services, and they ensure predictable costs and timely delivery.

Another benefit of this strategy is a limit on spares and leftover stock. Managers set a dollar limit on the amount of these items, which tend to accumulate from earlier construction and retrofit projects, thus keeping a cap on inventory costs and required storage space. Managers often can sell any excess from construction projects back to the supplier.

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