Once a point of much contention, gender neutral bathrooms are becoming more popular. Regions are adapting new guidelines that ensure individuals have the right and dignity to use a restroom they feel matches their gender identity. New amendments have been added to the International plumbing code. These may impact the way public restrooms are designed moving forward. Of course, if you own a business or are a contractor who constructs bathrooms, your first question is likely how much will this cost me?
Gender Neutral Bathroom Requirements
The codes and guidelines regulating public restroom construction and design are changing. But this is not a huge deal for businesses. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go in and tear out what you have and opt for a whole new setup. There are two basic configurations you can use to plan for a gender neutral bathroom. Choices include a single-user and a multi-user configuration.
Single user configurations will just need signage indicating they are open to any user no matter what gender they identify as. Multi-user configurations can accommodate all users. The common area will have shared sinks and handwashing stations, but each toilet will have its own private compartment.
What are the Advantages to Gender Neutral Bathrooms?
As a society, we have made huge strides toward gender equality. However, when it comes to restrooms, we still lack a lot. If you look at most bathrooms in commercial or public settings, they are the same. Even though women and men have varying personal needs and habits, except for a wall urinal the restroom areas are virtually the same in design and size.
Women tend to spend more time in the bathroom since they have to urinate in a seating position and deal with clothing restrictions to do so. Having a gender neutral bathroom is more inclusive for transgender individuals. They no longer have to spend time deciding which restroom to use. And they are not as likely to endure threats or taunting for using the “wrong” facilities.
Another advantage of a gender neutral facility is that it makes it easier for parents to accompany their children of the opposite sex. Men are not comfortable entering a women’s restroom to assist a daughter and vice versa. Having restrooms designed for both genders removes this difficulty and allows parents to help their children in public restrooms. It’s also easier for caregivers who are carrying for a loved one of the opposite gender.
Finally, having a single gender neutral bathroom doesn’t cost you any more money. Actually, by providing one bathroom for all users, you may be able to save valuable business space. This can provide you with more square footage for your commercial needs. You an also save money by purchasing and installing fewer fixtures.
Designing a Gender Neutral Bathroom
When you start designing a gender neutral bathroom you may need a bit more space than you would need for a single-sex bathroom. There are no stipulations on how large or small it needs to be. But you do want it to be large enough to accommodate users of all genders. In general, you’ll want to balance out the number of toilet stalls and washbasins in a mixed bathroom.
Cost of a Gender Neutral Bathroom
The cost of a gender neutral bathroom is no more than a single-gender bathroom. You may even save money by using less space for a single facility rather than having two separate ones. A single investment can help you accommodate patrons of all genders without you sparing any additional out-of-pocket expense.