Guy WilsonManaging Director Trade & Projects MEA
WHY do we need to specify hygienic design?
We have all seen the impact the C19 pandemic has caused; the global effect on a number of industries is alongside a newly conscious focus on both individual and environmental hygiene. The new current global focus on hygiene has put the spotlight squarely on shortcomings in the design of public washrooms and has prompted calls for both the introduction of building codes and design guidelines, to ensure adherence to best practice in infection control measures to keep us all as safe as possible.
As such, guidance from several organizations, including the World Health Organisation, WELL Building Institute, the CDC (USA), the NHS (UK) and the Dubai Health Authority all follow broadly similar themes. This isn’t solely to curb a second or even third wave of the recent pandemic, it is looking to the future to safeguard hygiene and health for the future.
HOW? Minimising touch points with touchless solutions:
Minimising touch points is an essential design strategy in guarding against the transmission of germs in bathrooms. Fortunately, this can be relatively simple to achieve with recent technological advances bringing sensor technology to practically every user interaction in a washroom environment. Touchless products for the washroom sector encompass, 2-in-1 soap dispenser and mixer, WC flush, hand dyers, paper dispensers and even shower valves. Not forgetting crucial sanitiser dispensers.
WC’s can be flushed hands-free using sensor actuated flush plates where concealed cisterns have been installed, automatic flush valves are another option available and recent advances in technology allows existing close-coupled WC’s to be converted to flush ‘hands free’ through a simple wave of the hand. Learn how with our conversion video here. Urinals too can be equipped with intelligent sensor flushing options from sensor to timed flushing, which combines efficient hygienic flushing with intelligent water saving.
Hand washing can now be a completely touchless experience for the washroom user. A variety of sensor tap designs are available in many cases, but the importance is in also specifying a complemented touch-free soap dispenser. The newly introduced ‘Smooth’ tap and soap dispenser combination provides the ultimate user convenience and can easily be retrofitted on existing basins in place of single lever basin mixers. This allows any existing soap dispenser to be converted to sanitiser dispensers to implement additional hygiene measures.
Explore our video explaining how to retro-fit a touchless basin mixer tap to understand the ease of hygienic upgrades.
Hand drying has been a commonly touchless method; and can be managed through the use of automatic paper towel dispensers or the use of electronic hand dryers. Although the use of dryers equipped with HEPA -High Efficiency Particulate Air- filters are recommended where possible. This isn’t exactly new technology Tesla, the infamous forward thinking car manufacturers, started implementing HEPA filters in their cars in 2016 – so why isn’t this technology widely used to safeguard indoors already, do HEPA filters really work? A HEPA filter eliminates 99.97% of all bacteria at 0.3 microns – to put that into perspective viruses are typically bonded to small moisture droplets – aerosols – that are generated by breathing talking or coughing and are all larger than 1 micron. An in-depth explanation can found from NASA for those wanting to become an expert on HEPA.
The Dolphin Alavo mirror system incorporates all the components for the ultimate hygienic washroom experience – touch free taps, soap dispensers and hand drying. Along with hygienic benefits, the system saves space in the washroom, offers rapid installation and minimal maintenance. These key features provide the go-to solution for clients and facility managers
Sales & Marketing Director, Dolphin
All in one solutions such as the unique Alavo washwall system address a number of issues in the washroom. By concealing taps, soap dispensers, dryers or paper towel dispensers behind a mirror, water mess causing slip and trip hazards is eliminated, as is queuing for hand drying allowing for improved traffic flow. Replenishment and maintenance are also simplified but most importantly, behind mirror facilities provide a sleek and stylish washroom with clean lines and no clutter.
The Alavo system can be uniquely engineered to fit any washroom and can be designed to include infrared sensor taps, foam soap systems with concealed cartridges, paper towel dispensers or high speed, low-energy dryers. As a solution in servicing high-traffic environments, Sanipex Group has supplied these systems to all VOX cinemas in the UAE as well as the Expo 2020 site.
The reimagined touchless program from Sanipex Group is ever evolving with a third edition brochure for 2020 already thanks to constant product development responding to client and market demands. The scope of sanitiser dispensers allows for a solution in any environment with various freestanding options to cater to shops in malls, hotel lobbies and even elevators alongside washrooms. Touchless sanitiser dispensers at the entrance of washrooms as well as cubicles within the washroom help to reduce cross-contamination in situations where touching of door handles is unavoidable.
Antimicrobial Finishes & Surface Materials
Easy Clean Glaze
Many ceramic sanitaryware products are now available with Easy Clean anti-bacterial glaze such as with Axent-One basins and shower toilet. Galassia also offers a ZEROBACT glaze upon request from Sanipex Group. Both are baked into the ceramic surface at over 1220°C and contain antiseptic silver-ions to create these easy clean glazes which prevent the growth and reproduction of bacteria – with the additional benefit of providing an easy clean surface contributing to enhanced hygiene.
In conjunction with anti-bacterial glaze, toilet seats produced using antibacterial urea are proven to reduce the presence of bacterial CFU’s by 99.99% over a 24-hour period providing the ultimate in hygienic toilet solutions.
Ask our specification team about these products for your projects.
The choice of quartz solid surface resin bathtubs and basins in a bathroom offer a great combination of design choice and hygiene. The homogeneous nature of the material eliminates de-lamination, surface cracking or crazing. It is non-porous and does not absorb water, thus preventing micro-organism and bacterial growth providing a smooth, easy to clean and extremely hygienic surface. This organic, tactile material also assists in creating contemporary and biophilic design.
As for the walls, the choice of tiles in a bathroom can contribute significantly in creating a more hygienic environment. Grout is a notoriously porous and absorbent surface despite anti-fungal sealants in the market. The use of large slab tiles, typically a minimum of 1.2m wide x 2m high, cuts down on the number of joins – thus creating large easy-to-clean, non-porous surfaces. Porcelain tiles and slabs are also available with antimicrobial surfaces, as with ceramic glaze. Silver-ions are integrated permanently into the tile surface during the firing phase of production resulting in a true antimicrobial shield that eliminates up to 99.9% of bacteria on the surface. The surface remains consistently protected irrespective of wear and tear or climatic conditions. 99.9% of bacteria blocking the metabolism of bacteria, thanks to the silver ions in the glaze, which eliminate and prevent proliferation – unlike other uses Microban is not UV activated and thus effective in all environments. Ariostea uses ‘Active’ for their solution in anti-bacterial, anti-pollution, anti-odour self-cleaning tiles.
As with the Alavo, this product will create a sleek appearance. The minimal joins opens up the space and, dependent on choice, creates an effect of a solid marble or onyx wall for a luxury look combining hygiene with heavenly aesthetics.
As a porcelain material, these tiles and slabs can be used on floors and walls both indoors and out. The use of porcelain slabs in the Alpine range of vanity basins and countertops can increase the extent of easy to clean hygienic surfaces in the washroom.
Stainless Steel in also a non-porous solid material, meaning it is virtually impossible for germs and bacteria to become engrained in the material, likewise its high tensile strength it is the most suitable for high traffic areas and can be cleaned with chemical cleaners without losing any of its properties. Discover more about designing with Stainless Steel in our blog.
What are the considerations outside of product specification?
Layout and Flow Considerations
A key consideration in improving hygiene in washrooms is careful planning of layouts with design helping to facilitate one-way traffic and minimise cross traffic situations. Additional design elements such as automated doors, or the elimination of doors altogether through the use of S-shaped entrances and wider doorways can further facilitate distancing.
The location of soap and drying options relative to the basin location can help to minimise the likelihood of wet floors caused by dripping from hands. Wet floors, in addition to being a slip hazard, also pose added risk of bacteria breeding. Single use wash stations such as the Alavo Supaloo comprehensively address all of these issues in a practical and aesthetically pleasing way.
Improved ventilation and air filtration in shared spaces such as a washroom can significantly reduce the risk air borne transmission of viruses by diluting airborne contaminants with outdoor air. Poor circulation of building ventilation systems has been proven to increase the spread of coronavirus in areas of close personal contact. This is where HEPA filters aid in potentially reducing air-bourn viruses.
Whilst hygienic design is commonly associated with hospitals, creating a stereotype of utilitarian, clinical looking solutions; the availability in products from Sanipex Group delivers design-led contemporary solutions – with many products from mixers to paper dispensers available in coloured finishes providing creative solutions in bars and restaurants to lobbies or schools. Specifying these new products to market alongside a strong consideration for the flow of the washroom will ensure you design to the height of hygiene whilst maintaining an aesthetic appeal.