Six-star rating for loos ranked No. 1

Three sets of toilets - each made up of one restroom for women and one for men - at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands have become the first here to garner the highest six-star rating from the Restroom Association (Singapore) since the rating band was i
Three sets of toilets - each made up of one restroom for women and one for men - at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands have become the first here to garner the highest six-star rating from the Restroom Association (Singapore) since the rating band was introduced in 2015.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

When the toilets near the Chanel store inside The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) start to smell, a cleaner will arrive in quick time to spruce things up.

The restrooms are equipped with sensors to track the level of ammonia, which rises as these facilities become dirtier. When the ammonia level hits a certain level, an alert is sent via text message to activate a cleaner.

A system also monitors visitor volume, which can be used to estimate when amenities such as hand soap or toilet paper is running out.

Such smart technology has helped the toilets to become the first here to garner the highest six-star rating from the Restroom Association (Singapore) or RAS since the rating band was introduced in 2015.

In total, three sets of toilets - each made up of one restroom for women and one for men - at the MBS mall received the top ratings yesterday. MBS said the remaining 15 sets of toilets in the mall will be upgraded in the next few years.

It said pilot trials of the technology started in 2016 and the toilet technology was implemented a year later. But it declined to provide estimates on cost savings from adopting the technology.

  • In search of clean toilets

  • THREE STARS

    (At least 60 points)

    •Working facilities

    •Basic amenities (hand soap, toilet paper) provided

    •No odour, litter-free

    •Dry floor and facilities

    •Customer satisfaction

    SIX STARS

    (At least 104 points)

    •Meet all conditions above

    •Use of technology to raise productivity and efficiency

    •All cleaning attendants have completed the Workforce Skills Qualifications washroom cleaning module

    SOURCE: RAS

Madam Irene Soh, 66, a cleaning supervisor, said her team members like the new technology as it allows them to clean up dirty toilets in a more timely manner.

Currently, there are 217 three-star toilets, 637 with four stars and 586 five-star toilets, under the RAS' voluntary toilet rating system launched in 2003.

Toilets are graded out a total of 108 points. Ratings are subject to renewal yearly, and spot-checks are conducted on rated toilets.

RAS president Tan Puay Hoon said it was difficult to get the six-star rating, which requires sustained efforts and investment by businesses to train cleaners and improve faculties. Besides good design and training, what matters too is that more people here do their part to keep toilets clean, she said.

"The design must be correct, the cleaner must be trained, and the user must be considerate. It's only when these three come together that we can have cleaner public toilets in a sustainable way, she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Six-star rating for loos ranked No. 1'. Print Edition | Subscribe