Office toilets

Office toilet design requirements

You can have a lot of fun with the aesthetics of office toilet design but there are HSE layout requirements we must adhere to. 

There are a large number of cubicles in the UK that are difficult to enter and to address this issue BS 6465 now asks for designers to show a cylindrical volume 450mm in diameter clear of all obstructions, such as toilet pan, door swing, etc., to give the user room to close the door.

A WC cubicle in an office were the user is unlikely to have luggage or be wearing heavy clothing so the following ‘standard’ dimensions and layouts can be used:

Image A  - ‘standard’ layout

Image A - ‘standard’ layout

Image B  - alternative layout with sanitary bin

Image B - alternative layout with sanitary bin

Both images show a cubicle with an inward opening door and a 450mm diameter space to enter the cubicle.  The orange area denotes the activity space required once the cubicle door is shut, and the width is also suitable for ambulant disabled users. WC cubicle doors typically open inwards, with the exception of disabled and ambulant disabled cubicles.

In image B the toilet pan is offset towards the door hinge side to provide space for a sanitary bin.  In this case the depth can be reduced to 1550mm.

The width of a ‘standard’ cubicle is seen as 800mm, however a lot of women find this too narrow and prefer a width of 900mm with an 800mm door opening.

How Many Toilets Are Required In An Office?

The team and I are working on a number of office schemes at the moment with a dirty secret, they do not have enough toilets!

It is something that is so easy to overlook, especially if your office head count has grown slowly over a number of years and if there is limited space it can be tempting to maximise work areas at the expense of facilities .

The minimum amount of toilets required is dictated by the maximum number of people likely to be present at work at any one time and is outlined in the tables below.

able A - Number of toilets and washbasins for mixed use (or women only)

able A - Number of toilets and washbasins for mixed use (or women only)

Table B  - Number of toilets used by men only

Table B - Number of toilets used by men only

So you have two options; unisex toilets or separate male and female toilets.

If unisex toilets are to be used then follow Table A.  These should be separate rooms that are lockable from the inside and include a toilet and washbasin within the cubicle itself. 

Fewer unisex toilets are needed than if an office were to have separate male and female toilets, however they would need to be larger in order to accommodate the toilet and washbasin.  Urinals do not need to be provided as the rooms are lockable from the inside.

If separate facilities are going to be provided then Table A should be used for the female toilets and Table B for the male toilets.

These facilities should be ‘adequate’ by law and this is clarified by HSE:

- separate rooms should be provided for men and women.  If this is not possible then the rooms should have lockable doors
- the rooms should be kept in a clean and orderly condition as well as being adequately ventilated and lit
- suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences should be provided at readily accessible places
— http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg293.pdf