COVID-19 Resources for Contractors (PDF)

Coronavirus expedites changes within commercial washrooms

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Since COVID-19, there has been an increase of interest in antimicrobial products.

Today there are close to 12 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and just over 100,000 cases across Canada. The country has been in lockdown due to the pandemic since the middle of March.

This has led to rapid development and adoption of infection control technologies and products in public washrooms, reports officials at Bradley Corp., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. “While cleanliness has always been a goal in designing restrooms, coronavirus has underscored the need for hygienic, sterile and safe environments,” said Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development.

No-touch fixtures, improved ventilation, modified layouts, avoiding wet floors, antimicrobial finishes and materials, and sink materials and designs are a few highlighted by the report.

“Today’s touchless handwashing models incorporate advanced sensing technology for continuous and reliable washing,” said Michelle Kempen, interior designer at Kahler Slater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Voice command and IoT are other up-and-coming hands-free technologies for restrooms. Automatic door openers typically seen to support accessible design are now also being implemented in locations to prevent hand-surface contact.”

People are starting to think more about hygiene since the pandemic started.

Bradley Corp. recently released a Healthy Hand Washing Survey in which 91 per cent of Americans said it’s important that public restrooms are equipped with touchless fixtures.

In terms of HVAC equipment, people are thinking about indoor air quality (IAQ) in shared spaces now more than ever. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the coronavirus appears to spread indoors through close personal contact and via poor circulation of building ventilation systems.

ASHRAE advises that ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of COVID-19.

High-touch washroom surfaces like grab bars are available with antimicrobial coatings – “Before COVID-19, the design community was seeing a lot of antimicrobial layers and coatings on products. We are now seeing a rise from facility managers and building owners requesting this option as an enhanced safety precaution for their customers,” Kempen said. “Clients are also considering products that are inherently antimicrobial such as copper.”

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