Public amenities, especially bathrooms, are a critical component of any building. In spite of this, many Australians are typically wary of public bathrooms due to a perceived lack of hygiene, inaccessibility, poor maintenance, and unsatisfactory design. In a 2013 survey conducted by the City of Sydney council, respondents expressed low satisfaction with the cleanliness and design of public bathrooms in their local area. Accordingly, there has been a push by designers and specifiers to create safer bathrooms that promote safety, accessibility, adaptability, and functionality in addition to minimising health risks.
The concern over the state of public amenities is well founded. Insufficiently designed and specified public bathroom facilities can pose a health risk to older users or those who have a disability. According to the Australia Network on Disability, over four million people in Australia have some form of disability, the likelihood of which increases with age. According to the 2016 Australian Census, nearly one in every six Australians is aged 65 or over; this significantly increases the risk of slips, trips, and falls, with one in three Australians over the age of 65 suffering at least one fall per year.
The Britex range of ceramic and stainless steel bathroom products, including Britex Care products such as the Elsa Arm Rest, delivers smartly designed solutions that can improve the cleanliness, safety and accessibility of public amenities. Britex products are built to strict specifications and are designed to meet the relevant components of the Australian disability standards. As a consequence, in 2015 Britex products were used to upgrade the Niddrie Village Public Toilet Block in the City of Mooney Valley to allow the block to cater for a wide range of users and improve overall safety. Britex products installed included Disabled Flushing Buttons, Basins, Mirrors, Grab Rails and Toilet Backrests. For other fitouts, the Elsa Arm Rest – an assistive arm rest featuring independently manoeuvrable arms and non-slip padding – is used to reduce the risk of falls while enabling independent use of the bathroom for those who have disability or require some care.
Public bathrooms are susceptible to damage, wear, and poor hygiene accumulated through constant use, neglect, or vandalism. Britex stainless steel products such as the Britex Curveline Multi Stainless Steel Basin, the Britex Stainless Steel Vandal Resistant Grandeur Hand Basin, and the Britex Stainless Steel Sanistep Urinal provide easy to clean surfaces with minimal seams in which bacteria can accumulate, together with a robust, vandal-proof design. These products were successfully installed in the Hanging Rock Toilet Block and the west-end toilet block in Melbourne Central Station in 2017 and 2009 respectively, meeting both projects’ requirements for a vandal-resistant fitout that was hygienic and easy to clean.
The Sanistep urinal was also installed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2012. Britex was able to custom manufacture and install urinals with ‘L’ and ‘U’ shape configurations with Watermark and WELS certifications as required by plumbing regulations and government legislation. These features bolstered Sanistep’s unique vandal resistant design and hinged grate for ease of cleaning and complement Sanistep’s full compatibility with the Britex Smart Saniflush Sensor System, which enables a fully certified WELS 5* rated slab urinal fixture.
All Britex products are subject to stringent performance testing to ensure that products meet or exceed benchmarks with regards to quality and certification. In addition, Britex is Quality Management Systems accredited and conducts regular internal quality audits. Britex’s wide range of products complies with the strict design requirements set by AS1428 – Design for Access and Mobility. Designers and specifiers can choose Britex products with the knowledge that these products are fully compliant with the relevant Australian disability standards.
Britex is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its stainless steel fabrication process, which utilises 65-80% recycled material. Britex steel products deliver a long service life and are 100% recyclable.
For more information about the Britex range, visit the Britex website at: http://www.britex.com.au.