Have more, and cleaner, toilets

Some buildings provide sanitary facilities in inconvenient locations and/or an inadequate number of standard toilet cubicles per floor.

An able-bodied person needing a toilet urgently in such a building may resort to using a disability toilet.

Our perception of time changes with the urgency of our need.

A minute's wait can become too long. There is also uncertainty when one queues for a toilet.

A rightful user facing an occupied disability toilet either waits his turn or moves to another floor. Many rightful users are unable to use escalators and have to wait for a lift car with adequate empty space.

A person with disabilities faces more difficulties in cleaning himself up if he does not get quick access to a toilet than an able-bodied person does.

Buildings can offer a friendly environment for toilet usage by locating toilet clusters near escalator landings and lift lobbies, with prominent and clear signs to guide users; providing more than one cluster of toilets per floor, if the space is large; ensuring sufficient standard toilet cubicles per cluster per floor to meet user traffic; and having good toilet housekeeping.

Good toilet etiquette by users will help maintain the pleasantness of visiting washrooms.

Able-bodied people in need will then be less likely to turn to disability toilets.

Disability toilets are built to accommodate people who are unable to use standard toilets.

User priority is useful when a facility is designed for use by all, but there are some users whose conditions merit special consideration.

Greater accessibility to clean standard toilets would dissuade able-bodied people from using disability toilets.

Tan Lay Hoon (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Have more, and cleaner, toilets'. Print Edition | Subscribe