Climate Change Sustainability Water Efficiency / Dry Drains Water Quality Gray Water / Black Water Codes, Standards & Regulation Product Labeling counterfeit Product Disease Outbreak Control Water Harvesting
We know squat about female urinals Author: Dimi Kyriakou 25 February 2011
Tags: Toilets, Toilet Testing / Performance, Urinals - water & waterless, Public Restrooms, Design Trends, Innovation, Australasia Page 2 of 3 | Single page

Another said, “Most architects/building designers are men and never have to stand in a toilet queue.”

Needless to say, this information provides a significant amount of food for thought for members of the plumbing industry and researchers alike.

Experts are divided
There are many individuals who have dedicated their time to researching and analysing the merit of female urinals, such as Professor Mete Demiriz from Germany’s Fachhochschule Gelsenkirchen University of Applied Sciences.

In a recent paper on female urinals, Professor Demiriz says that two new prototypes were developed, constructed and tested in Europe following a series of interviews and surveys of users of public restrooms.

“The call for female urinals is old,” he says. “The laboratory of sanitary technology started a project developing practically suitable urinals for women.”

The respective models were a squat urinal and a wall-mounted urinal.

“The dimensions were chosen in a way that the urinals can be exchanged for a toilet bowl: suspension and sewage connection are placed at the same height as for a wall-mounted toilet bowl,” he says.

The squat urinal can be installed in existing cubicles by means of a two-step pedestal. For both models, a pre-wall element with an integrated concealed flush valve was developed. He says the wall-mounted version, which is approached backwards, appeared to meet the requests of females in the German market.

“The new urinals allow women to urinate in a quick, hygienic way without any skin contact in public, semi-public and industrial sanitary facilities. They do not only solve the problems many women are facing at public restrooms but also offer the operator economic advantages,” Professor Demiriz says.

However, there are some who don’t believe urinals are the answer to the issues in female public restrooms. Michelle Barkley was chairman of the British Standard Committee for sanitary installations and says they are a “useless” option.

“As a woman, I appreciate the attempts to help resolve the problems that women have with WCs. However, I do not feel that urinals are the right way forward,” she says.

“The main reason for this is one that appears to have been overlooked: to urinate in a standing position, women have to stand with their legs apart to avoid getting wet. This is impossible if you are wearing pants or trousers.”

Research data included in the Standards also showed that men take about 30 seconds to use a urinal while women averaged a minimum of 60 seconds to use a WC, which doesn’t achieve much in the way of saving time.

“I do not think that female urinals will save time. Unlike men, women always have to remove clothing to go to the loo and also need to use paper to dry themselves, and this is what takes up most of the time. Women also need to use the WC for changing menstrual sanitary protection, which men do not.”

In her opinion, too few WCs is the main problem, as well as small cubicles without adequate room for the sanitary bin. Rather than focus on female urinals, Michelle believes the best way to approach the issues is to carry out research to determine an adequate number of facilities for both men and women.

“Until this is done, women should not have fewer facilities (WCs) in total than men (WCs and urinals). It should be remembered that WCs are women’s urinals and 90% away from home toilet usage is for urination.”

So, what does this all mean for the plumbing industry as a whole?

The final word
While many attempts have been made to introduce female urinals into public restrooms, there seems to be a clear discrepancy of their value in the target market. One thing is certain: the current market needs are not being met.