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TOPIC: washrooms

washrooms 22 Jan 2002 17:08 #27626

  • mesbursmith
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The greatest number of complaints about cinema design seem to focus on the washrooms. Some of the issues are
1. Not enough fixtures for women
2. Poor sightlines into the washrooms with inadequate screening
3. Not enough hand dryers or towel dispensers
4. General unsanitary conditions or lack of proper maintenance
Could we get some feedback on these issues?
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Re: washrooms 22 Jan 2002 18:30 #27627

Urinal partitions!

This seems to be a big issue with the new Famous Players builds. They shove them all together, so there's a lack of privacy.

Although the Garrick (Cineplex Odeon) has no partitions, the urinals are spaced apart with at least 1'6" of room.

Easy to fix.

Andrew
Since 1987
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Re: washrooms 23 Jan 2002 12:23 #27628

  • take2
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Every theatre I've been in seems to have the same problem. You have five or six urinals and only one stall. I think some improvement could be made there. Not all, but a good many of the stalls are very small, unless you use the handicap one, which is understandably larger. But could we have a few more stalls and make them just a tad wider?
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Re: washrooms 23 Jan 2002 13:09 #27629

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take2

All the American Plumbing Codes allow substitution of urinals for stalls up to a maximum of 2/3 of the required number. So, you could have 4 urinals and 2 wc's. Most codes also specify the minimum size of a stall (generally 34" wide and 5'-0" deep). If the washrooms are designed to meet the regulations, the situation you have mentioned shouldn't exist. Handicapped stalls must be at least 5'-0" x 5'-0".
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Re: washrooms 23 Jan 2002 16:05 #27630

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Colorado has the infamous "Potty Parity" law. I was opening a 12-plex right after the potty parity law and ADA were passed. Basicaly we took what were to be the men's and women's rest room and made it the women's rest room. We then located the men's room elswhere. So we now had twice the room in the ladies room as the mens and guess what? It wasn't enough. For 12-plex the mens room had 6 urinals and 3 stalls. The ladies room had 12 stalls.

I have always thought it might be valuable to place a realy well designed unisex bathroom in a theatre.
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Re: washrooms 23 Jan 2002 16:59 #27631

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Large

The ratio between men and women in the example you mentioned sounds about right, with twice as many fixtures for women. But the totals may still not be sufficient. For a complex with 2000 seats (a 12 or 14 plex) the BOCA code would require 16 toilets for women and 8 for men (5 urinals and 3 toilets). Code requirements throughout the USA vary substantially in these requirements, but we consider BOCA to be one of the best.
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Re: washrooms 23 Jan 2002 17:21 #27632

  • Mike
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For whatever reason bathrooms seem to be often badly designed. I have seen many a place that when you open the door to go in everyone from the outside is looking at a guy stuck into a urinal. Weird.

Then there's the Dave Barry Men Using Urinal's Rule: first use the one to the far left, next guy then to the far right, next guy then the one dead in the middle, until you finally have to stand next to someone. NEVER talk to them. STARE at the wall as if it had the meaning of life engraved.

Maybe I had to use the can at the NY Port Authority at 42nd street for too many years while 20 aggressive male would be loverboys commented on your buttocks but I pretty much gave up on urinals and prefer a toilet stall.

WE put in way cool red and black tiles with heavy waxing and they look really sharp.

One of the most important things to people when they go out is CLEAN BATHROOMS. Even if you don't care don't forget that people, some people:::::::: really/really care!!!!

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 09:01 #27633

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Mike

Right on!
I not only try and avoid the urinals, I try and avoid using public washrooms altogether.
Some thoughts on cleanliness: I have heard mixed comments about hand dryers. Some say they are too slow and there are never enough of them, so most people prefer paper towels. These however lead to messy washrooms because people throw them on the floor, as the waste baskets are often not emptied frequently. I don't know the answer to this problem. I saw a neat unit in Japan which combines a faucet, soap dispenser and hand dryer in one component at each sink. This prevents dripping hands leaving water on the floor as people try to get to a dryer.
Another point which helps keep washrooms clean is to use only wall-hung toilets and ceiling hung partitions. This leaves the entire floor surface free of obstructions so it can be cleaned very easily with a damp mop. Also, we always make sure there is a floor drain in the middle of each washroom. At the end, it comes down to an operator who really cares about his facility.
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 11:34 #27634

  • John Pytlak
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Given a choice between hot air hand dryers and paper towels, I prefer the towels. Even the best hand dryers take too long.


Larger waste recepticles for the towels would help reduce the mess of towels on the floor. The ones that are recessed into the wall are often hard to find, and so small that they fill up quickly.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 12:20 #27635

  • mesbursmith
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John

The concensus (which means my wife's opinion) semms to be that paper towels are preferred. Larger waste receptacles are a good idea, but it is often difficult to find a good location in the washroom for these.

On the issue of sightlines, I've seen lots of washrooms that have a direct view of the urinals from the lobby, or a great reflection in the vanity mirror of the toilet stalls. This issue requires careful planning. A few of our clients don't want doors to the washrooms. They prefer a vestibule which provides screening without doors, like they have at most airports. How do the rest of you feel about this?
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 13:01 #27636

  • BECKWITH1
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My original answer to this post got lost when my computer lost touch with Big ScreenBiz so I will try again.

My bathrooms are too small, too narrow and don't meet ADA or anyone elses codes. Unfortunately, I lease my building and would need a building permit to improve them thus triggering ADA for my entire building. (The bathrooms are really the heart of the matter but would cost about $10,000 to fix). So we make do as best we can.

Whoever designed my building with 350 seats and 2 stalls in the ladies room was an idiot. Granted that was in 1972, but really! Mens room has 1 stall, 1 urinal. It hasn't been a problem with size.

Restrooms also have a sink, mirror and towel dispenser/waste can arrangement. I also prefer paper towels but will use hand dryers as long as they WORK. I have been in places where they don't and there isn't a shred of paper. In that case, I forgive people for getting frustrated and taking their frustrations out on the room itelf. I would put in a hand dryer, but also have towel dispensers if I were building my own. John is right that dryers are usually slower, but I have found some really good ones in restrooms over the years. I don't mind using them since they do save on towel waste.

My only comment on sightlines has a lot to with cleaning & maintenance of our restrooms. Ours are across from the concession stand which permits us to watch for unusually high activity levels. If the doors are open, we can see in along the back walls and note whether people are moving around a lot. We do have screening walls like they have in the airports. We can't see what they are doing though. Then someone will go in and check. People who make the mistake of smoking in my clearly marked NO SMOKING bathrooms will find the doors propped open on their next trip out. It is our way of letting them know that we are monitoring their actions and we have caught on to the smoking.

Cleaning - We have found that placing flowers - preferably fresh - in the bathrooms helps to keep them cleaner and keeps the graffitti down. People get the subtle message that we care about them even if they are too small, too narrow and generally not as nice as we would like to have them. Of course, not everyone is motivated by flowers - in the mens room they are often picked (probably to give to their lady friends) and we occasionaly find them swirling around in the urinal. We have even lost one or two vases to breakage on the floor. But graffitti has been found only 2 times in the last 5 years. Each time we have repainted the stalls immediately so that no one else followed.

Ladies room flowers get watered and occasionally tested to see if they are real. They don't often disappear from here.

Given that I just said that this helps to keep them clean, I will now complain about how hard it is to keep them clean. In my experience no one will pick up a paper towel or anything else that is dropped on the floor even if THEY dropped it. Therefore, it is my job to pick up after them. There is also the germ free set - they believe that they should touch nothing in the restroom. If that means wrapping toilet paper all over the seat and then letting it drop to the floor or perhaps doing your business standing up while the seat is down. A recent newspaper article in our local paper suggested that you shouldn't touch anything in the restroom and included all sorts of tips like using a paper towel to open the door handle. I nearly had an apoplectic fit. Guess where the paper towel ends up and who gets to clean up after them! They are the worse bathroom trashers! Practically speaking, we clean the bathrooms before the show, just after the show starts, just before the show ends and anytime we think that there has been a high level of activity. Methinks that most multiplexes should hire an employee who does nothing but clean bathrooms. It takes only one visit to trash the place.

[This message has been edited by BECKWITH1 (edited January 24, 2002).]
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 14:16 #27637

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Beckwith1

Great response. Thanks. So, what can we do as cinema designers to help operators maintain the washrooms? Here are my thoughts, some of which came up as a result of the responses I got to this post.
1. Provide both hand dryers and paper towels in locations that are convenient, so people don't have to traipse across the room with dripping hands.
2. Provide larger, convenient waste receptacles.
3. Design adequate screening of the washroom from the lobby, preferably without doors.
4. Arrange the layout of the washrooms so that a supervisor can enter the room and see everything. (i.e. no blind corners or non-visible stall entrances).
5. Use suspended fixtures and partitions and provide a floor drain.
6. Floors and walls should be finished completely in ceramic tile. Tile size should be as large as possible to minimize grout joints.
I don't know what else we can do. The rest is up to the management staff.
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 15:05 #27638

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The best sink/papertowel arrangments I have ever seen have a basket of paper towels at every sink and a hole in the vanity at every sink for the waste. But it does take constant maintenance.

I have also noticed that the womens room gets trashed 10 times as often as the mens room.
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 15:38 #27639

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I like the idea of having towels and waste at each sink. The Japenese system I mentioned combines soap, water and dryer in a single unit. The company is "Toto", I think, or maybe this is Dorothy's dog in Wizard of Oz. I haven't seen any system combining paper towels and waste which could be installed at each sink. What you are suggesting would be high maintenance.

My wife tells me that the women's washrooms get trashed a lot. I was surprised, but you have confirmed that. I would have thought the opposite would be true.
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Re: washrooms 24 Jan 2002 15:59 #27640

  • John Pytlak
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Long ago (1967-1970) and far away, when I worked at a drive-in, the women's washroom was ALWAYS more of a mess than the men's at the end of a busy night. Found everything from clogged toilets and sinks, "stuff" (
) on the floors, to lipstick graffiti on the walls and mirrors. The projection room shared a wall with both restrooms, and the women's room was always much noisier too.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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