Low Emitting Materials

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Many common building materials, such as paint and carpeting, emit chemicals during and after installation, which can compromise indoor air quality. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), most people receive 72 percent of their exposure to potentially hazardous air pollutants at home – the one place where most of us feel the safest.

Some of the substances being released into home or office buildings include organic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, acetaldehyde, and toluene, which are referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) because they off-gas readily into the air.

VOCs are the most common contaminant of indoor air, with concentrations up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors, according to the EPA. In fact, most of our exposure to environmental pollutants takes place when we breathe indoor air, which can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outdoor air. This is a significant concern, because people spend the vast majority of their time indoors, where they are exposed to indoor air pollutants as they sleep, work, or go to school.

So how do VOCs get into our homes? Most of the VOCs that we are exposed to on a daily basis are commonly found in manufactured wood products such as composites; flooring and carpeting; ceiling, wall, thermal and acoustic insulation; interior paints; interior adhesives and sealants; and furniture and upholstery.

The largest concentration of VOCs is typically released when a product is first installed, with emissions diminishing over time. Products that are applied wet, such as adhesives and paints, usually release large quantities of VOCs during the first few days or weeks after application. After that, the emissions taper off quickly. On the other hand, solid materials such as wood products, furniture, or flooring may have relatively low initial VOC emissions, but because it takes longer for these emissions to taper off, they may contribute to long-term air quality issues.

Health Effects

VOCs are associated with a range of health effects. Short-term exposure to VOCs can result in “Sick Building Syndrome,” with large groups of building occupants reporting symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, and dizziness. Longer term exposure – referred to as “Building Related Illnesses” – can result in nervous system, kidney and liver damage, and can lead to cancer. Children, seniors, and people with respiratory problems are at particular risk of a serious reaction from exposure to VOCs. In some cases, exposure to VOCs may trigger “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity,” stimulating higher sensitivity to other chemicals.

VOCs can also react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) in sunlight to create ozone, which can cause eye and bronchial irritation. This has prompted the initiation of regulatory restrictions of VOCs. The EPA regulates VOCs in air, water, and land, while the Safe Water Drinking Act sets maximum contaminant level standards for several organic compounds in public water systems. Although OSHA regulates VOC exposure in the workplace, VOC exposure is not regulated in non-industrial indoor air.

Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

A clearer understanding of the health impacts of these chemicals combined with more sophisticated testing technologies has led to more stringent health-based standards to screen materials based on their effect on indoor environmental quality. In addition, product certification programs such as GREENGUARD and Indoor Advantage, as well as industry specific certification programs are having a significant impact on improving indoor air quality.

As concerns both with air quality and with the health risks associated with these chemicals has grown, the demand for low-VOC and No-VOC products has dramatically increased. Low-emitting products are now widely available, making it easier for architects, designers and facilities managers to specify healthier, more sustainable products and materials for their projects.

 

Considerations in Selecting Building Products and Materials

Because we spend so much of our time indoors, our health depends on improving the quality of indoor air. According to the USEPA, the best strategy to limit chemical exposure and reduce indoor air pollution is source control.  This includes selecting products such as GREENGUARD Certified products that have been tested and certified for low chemical emissions. GREENGUARD Certified products are tested for more than 10,000 chemicals to ensure their safe use indoors, and these products are listed on the free UL SPOT database.

 

Low emitting products and materials offer multiple benefits:

  • They do not release significant pollutants into the indoor environment.
  • They reduce the symptoms of sick building syndrome, including headaches, fatigue, eye and respiratory irritation, dizziness, and other symptoms.
  • They reduce pollution of natural waterways.
  • And they improve worker safety and health.

 

When selecting building products and materials, architects, designers, facilities managers, and builders, have an opportunity to choose products and materials that can enhance air quality, improve human health, and protect the environment. Selecting low emission products and materials can also help projects achieve LEED credits, an important consideration in the design and construction of sustainable structures.

LEED lists seven different categories for interior and exterior features to achieve compliance for certification pertaining to VOC. These categories include:

  • Interior Paints
  • Interior adhesives and sealants
  • Flooring
  • Composite wood
  • Ceilings, walls, thermal and acoustic insulation
  • Furniture

To achieve LEED credit, products such as adhesives, sealants, interior paints, and furniture must reach a threshold of 90% low-VOC.

In addition to achieving VOC compliance, a sustainably designed building will incorporate products and materials, which can be reused or recycled upon the end of the product’s life, or the life of the building, reducing the amount of waste that enters landfills.

Supporting a Healthier Environment

At Scranton Products, we believe in supporting a healthier environment. As a leading manufacturer of toilet partitions, lockers and other HDPE (high density polyethylene) products, Scranton Products adheres to the highest standards, developing low emitting products that meet LEED requirements for air quality and sustainability, as well as meeting GREENGUARD emissions standards.

 

Our products are free of VOC emissions, are eligible for LEED credits pertaining to VOCs, and are GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meeting strict certification requirements for use in schools and healthcare facilities. In addition, all of our products are made from recycled materials and are 100% recyclable.

 

By selecting low emitting products made with Scranton Products HDPE, architects, designers, facilities managers, and builders can help to improve the indoor air quality of their projects while reducing environmental impact.

 

For more information on Scranton Products low-emitting, sustainable products, click on the link below.

 

Filling the Gap: Rising Demand to Improve Toilet Compartment Privacy

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As a facility manager, there are many ways that you can make your commercial bathroom a little more comfortable. Softer lighting tends to work, as do air fresheners. However, one of the biggest complaints that occupants have of the restrooms in their office building is the lack of privacy with the toilet partitions. This a common issue among many commercial bathrooms, and the demand for improvements on toilet compartment privacy has been on the rise.

Below, we’ll state the common problems with toilet compartment privacy, and we’ll even list some helpful solutions to help you get started on making your facility’s restroom more comfortable and private for your occupants.

Problems with the Lack of Privacy in Commercial Restrooms

You’d think that toilet stalls are private enough, but there are a few factors that may have been overlooked when you ordered your partitions. The major complaint is the gap between the door and the actual partition. While some gaps vary in size, the issue still remains that there’s a gap that provides an unwanted view inside of the stall when the door is closed. No one likes being watched, or being visible while they’re going to the bathroom.

Another issue is the open space from the floor to the bottom of the partition. While this isn’t as bad as the door gap, it’s still unsettling that your feet are clearly visible when you’re in the stall. Some stalls are even short, which can create an uncomfortable scenario when the occupant in the next stall happens to be taller than the actual partitions.

Choosing Better Materials

When you’re faced with an issue of privacy, or lack thereof, you’ll need to find the route of the problem. Most commonly, the stalls that you have in your facility face the gap dilemma. One way to combat this is by choosing different toilet partitions.

Hiny Hiders and Eclipse Partitions® provide excellent privacy with occupants. Their design incorporates the shiplap cut edges, so when the door to the partition is closed, it’s closed tightly and eliminates any gaps or unwanted sightlines. These partitions can be customized to fit the overall design or size of the restroom in your facility.

These toilet partitions also have a variety of benefits because they’re made from HDPE. This solid plastic provides a more durable material that is resistant to scratches, dents, and impacts. These stalls can even hold up to constant moisture exposure and won’t absorb any that would otherwise create mold. Common restroom partitions have a paper core that can absorb the moisture and sprout mold, which is hard to get out. So, those kinds of stalls are inevitably replaced, which can be costly over time. HDPE plastic simply lasts longer and requires less maintenance.

Are you considering making the jump to HDPE to make your toilet partitions more private and comfortable? Check out this free eBook, The Professional’s Guide to Commercial Bathroom Renovations and Remodels, from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

 

Bathroom Privacy Ideas: Planning the Privacy in Your Bathroom

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Privacy is one of the most crucial components to your bathroom. Using the restroom is something that everyone experiences, and more often than not, they want to experience it privately. So, you need to figure out ways to ensure that your bathroom and the toilet partitions offer enough privacy and security for occupants to use comfortably. Keeping reading to check out some great bathroom privacy ideas!

Determining Any Weaknesses in Privacy & Security

While you may think that your bathroom is confidential enough for you, you may want to take a closer look to notice some of the weak spots that hinder one’s privacy. This may include visible vantage points above or below the stall. However, it can also include the separation in the stall’s pieces, which may provide a clear view in between the door and the frame. If you notice these imperfections and issues, you should start thinking of ways to correct them so occupants can go to the bathroom worry-free.

Bathroom Privacy Ideas to Get Started

Here are some bathroom privacy ideas to get your gears turning and a full bathroom plan if you’re starting from scratch:

  • Add peel-and-stick frosted privacy glass over windows.
  • Separate your space with folding restroom privacy screens.
  • Find the right stall that offers ample privacy.
  • Sightlines can be removed through shiplap cut edges.
  • Angled doors and hidden hardware offer extra privacy to guests.

Bathroom Stalls with Ample Privacy

Some bathroom stalls on the market can offer your guests ample privacy. Their sightlines can easily be removed through a shiplap cut edge. Once closed, these partitions provide zero visibility due to the cut edges perfecting shutting out the seam.

Other HDPE toilet stalls, like Aria Partitions®, are specifically designed to provide each occupant with the ultimate privacy. Aria Partitions will provide you with innovative designs like overlapping edges, continuous edge mounted hinges and floor mounted side panels to keep these partitions as secure and private as possible.

Using HDPE for Private Partitions

HDPE plastic can be tailored to fit any design for your facility’s restroom. Whether you’re going for free-standing stalls, between-walls, open-ends, or alcove-style partitions, you’ll be happy to know that HDPE can be a versatile material to utilize in your restroom for your custom partitions. HDPE can be produced in a variety of different sizes, so you can figure out the best options to provide a secure toilet stall for your occupants who hold privacy very high.

It’s no secret that people want privacy when they’re using a public restroom. If you’re looking for ways to make your facility’s restroom more private for the occupants, check out the eBook Restroom Design for Commercial Facilities from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

ADA Compliant Bathroom Measurements

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When you’re about the begin a thorough remodel or your facility’s bathroom, or you’re about to break ground on your new facility, there are several regulations and guidelines you need to follow to not only pass inspection, but also to adhere to the needs of the occupants. One of the most common forms of these regulations are the ones set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines help ensure that your restroom and its features are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

What to Think About When Remodeling/Building Your Restroom

When you begin outlining the designs for your facility’s restroom, keep ADA compliance in mind. You’ll need to make sure that you hit the exact measurements when you’re figuring out the stalls and partitions. Forgetting to utilize the required measurements set by the ADA could lead to consequences including fines, as well as having to completely reconfigure the layout of your facility’s restrooms. Doing so would be a painstaking process that would delay construction as well as any tentative finish date of your facility’s renovations.

Specific ADA Compliant Restroom Measurements

Before ordering the parts and materials, you’ll need to lock down the specific ADA compliant measurements for the restrooms. There should be at least one stall designated for a disabled individual.

ADA Compliant Stall Dimensions:

  • 60 inches wide for a wall-mounted toilet
  • 56 inches deep for a wall-mounted toilet
  • 59 inches deep for a floor-mounted toilet

The stall should also include a grab bar for easy access when transitioning from wheelchair to toilet. The grab bar should be at minimum 36 inches long and no more than 6 inches from the inside corner of the stall. The adjacent grab bar shouldn’t be more than 12 inches from the back wall of the partition. All grab bars must be at least 33 to 36 inches from the floor. Bathroom sinks shouldn’t be more than 34 inches from the floor, and they should provide a knee clearance of 27 inches high and 30 inches wide.

Using the Right Materials for Your Restroom

Now that you know the specific measurements for the ADA compliant stall and sink, you’re ready to begin ordering your materials. However, there are a few factors you should consider before choosing your material. You want to be sure to select a sturdy and durable material because you have to consider that when a disabled individual is using the grab bar, they’re placing their whole weight on the bar, so you’ll need a partition that can stand up to the pressure.

While there are plenty of plastic and steel options to consider, HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is one of the more reliable materials to use. It’s impact- and scratch-resistant, and due to its solid plastic construction, it can stand up to the humidity and moisture as well as prevent mold from growing. Best of all, HDPE partitions are customizable, allowing you to choose your specific measurements in order to be compliant with the regulations set by the ADA.

Want to learn more about how to make your facility’s restrooms ADA compliant? Check out our eBook, ADA Guideline for a Compliant Restroom, from your friends at Scranton Products.

What is ADA-Compliant?

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed by Congress in 1990. It’s a civil rights law that prohibits the discrimination of people with disabilities. Not adhering to the strict building standards to meet the needs of disabled people is an act of discrimination, and it’s a law that building managers need to address and to adhere to in order to make their facility easily accessible to disabled occupants. As a facility manager, it’s your job to not only implement ADA-compliant entrances and bathroom fixtures, but you also need to ensure that these designs are legal in accordance with the ADA, and can be easily accessed and utilized by any disabled occupant.

Four Major Priorities for Accessibility

According to the Department of Justice ADA Title III regulations, there are four major priorities to follow to ensure that you’re following the law and ensuring that your facility is ADA-compliant. Whether you’re building from the ground up, in the middle of a renovation, or beginning to embark on a remodel, you’ll want to be sure that you’re implementing these priorities to make your facility easily accessible. Read below to learn about the four major priorities when it comes to making your facility ADA-compliant.

1.      Accessible Approach & Entrance

Not all your facility’s occupants are able-bodied and agile. You need to ensure that entering your facility isn’t a difficulty for anyone with any disability that effects their mobility. Be sure to have a ramp and a railing so any wheelchair occupants can enter your facility without any hassle. The ramp should be 48’’ wide with a one-inch rise for every foot of ramp to ensure that the incline isn’t too drastic for the individual.

2.      Access to Goods & Services

Whether it’s a cafeteria in an office building or a sales rack in a department store, occupants of all abilities must be able to easily access these goods. Ensuring that countertops are at an appropriate height is paramount. The maximum height should be no higher than 36’’ with adequate floor space for any type of wheelchair to easily maneuver.

3.      Access to Public Toilet Restrooms

Every occupant in your facility will need to relieve themselves from time to time, and as a facility manager, it’s your responsibility that they can do so without too much strain or difficulty. Each restroom should have at least one handicapped-accessible toilet stall that consists of 60’’ of width. You also need to install a grab bar that’s 36’’ long with an adjacent grab bar on the other side, both of which should be 33” to 36’’ from the floor. Since occupants will be putting their whole weight on these grab bars, utilizing stronger materials like HDPE (high-density polyethylene) partitions may be a wise idea.

4.      Access to Other Items

This category consists of making sure that essential items like water fountains are easily accessible. Water fountain spouts should be no higher than 36’’ inches off of the ground so any wheelchair occupant can get a drink of water without a struggle.

Making Your Facility ADA-Compliant

It’s important to adhere to these guidelines when you’re building from the ground up, or starting an extensive remodel. Making sure that facets and features of your facility is accessible to all occupants is the law, so be sure to consider these regulations when going over your designs. Following these guidelines will come in handy when your facility gets inspected, and by complying with the ADA regulations, your facility has a great chance of passing the inspection.

Are you looking to get started on making your facility more ADA-compliant? Check out this free eBook, ADA Guidelines for a Compliant Restroom, from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

Where School Facilities Are Falling Behind: Improve Your Infrastructure Report Card

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How’s your school facility holding up? Does it meet the standards of the ASCE Infrastructure Report Card? There are a variety of factors that can attribute to a school falling behind based on its infrastructure and overall safety. The Infrastructure Report Card assesses the current state of your facility and how it’ll last over the years.

Getting an A is easier said than done. It requires your school facility to be in exceptional shape and have the capacity to handle its growing student body. However, a lot of schools fall behind because of the lack of maintenance or renovations to help keep the facility prepared for the future. Usually, these schools all suffer the same drawbacks that can affect their Infrastructure Report Card. Here are a few tips to get started and to improve your grade.

Finding Weak Areas in Your Facility

Before you try to improve your grade, you need to figure out what’s holding your facility back. While your school may not be in shambles, it’s important to consider all the factors with not only the structural integrity, but also with the various systems and components inside. Have an audit of your facility so you can have a manageable list of things to work on in order to bump up your grade on the Infrastructure Report Card.

Testing Your Air Quality

One of the most common contributors to a less than adequate grade of a facility is its air quality. This is a huge factor because not only does it have a negative effect on your grade, but it can also put your occupants’ health at risk. If you begin to search for areas with weak air quality, you should start with the restrooms.

Restrooms are a hotbed of mold growth due to the overwhelming moisture and humidity. While the walls and surfaces can be cleaned extensively to combat the threat of mold, the battle may be useless if it’s begun sprouting in your stalls and partitions. It’ll greatly reduce the air quality, as well as emit foul odors. A great way to reduce the risk of mold growth is replacing your stalls and partitions with a stronger material like HDPE (high-density polyethylene). This plastic material is not only resistant to scratches and dents, but due to its solid construction, mold won’t find a way to sprout inside.

Choosing Sustainable Products

One of the biggest contributors to the A grade on the Infrastructure Report Card is that the facility is long lasting. One way to help keep your facility in long-lasting shape is by utilizing sustainable materials that’ll last the years without any signs of damage or wear. The previously mentioned HDPE is one of the best materials to use for this. While it can help boost your bathroom’s air quality, HDPE can also be used for lockers. The lockers will outlast traditional metal or coated steel because they won’t dent, and will even resist graffiti.

Using HDPE materials wherever you can will benefit your school greatly. Not only will this material improve your air quality and resist any damage, but it’s also very low maintenance. You can save on maintenance costs because HDPE only needs routine cleaning—no repainting or adjusting.

 

Want to learn more about how you can improve your Infrastructure Report Card grade? Get the Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom or The Ultimate Guide for Facility Maintenance & Property Solutions eBooks, courtesy of Scranton Products.

Important Facility Management Goals and Objectives for Facilities of All Types

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Managing a facility isn’t the easiest job in the world because there are many responsibilities involved. Whether your facility is a school, gym, or office building, it’s important to take note of issues and objectives so all your occupants are happy. Here are a few important facility management goals and objectives that are suitable for all types of facilities.

Communication with Stakeholders and Occupants

To set facility management goals, it’s crucial to keep an open line of dialogue with stakeholders and occupants to ensure that everything is running as smoothly as possible. Open communication allows you to learn how the facility is perceived daily, along with some recommendations to make the facility a more comfortable environment. Design a system where occupants can easily send in their opinions and recommendations so you can ensure that all occupants are comfortable and happy with their surroundings.

Provide a Safe and Healthy Environment

It’s important to include potential health risks in your facility management goals to contain and correct these risks in your facility. Bathrooms are good areas to keep up with for cleanliness. It’s a room that’s visited by all, so make it as pleasant as possible by keeping it stocked with plenty of toiletries and air fresheners.

Because moisture is a common occurrence in bathrooms, be aware of any mold growth. Inspect the stalls to make sure they’re free of mold. However, depending on the material, it may already be too late. Invest in some high-density polyethylene (HDPE) stalls to not only prevent mold growth but because HDPE plastic doesn’t require any repainting or touch-ups, no harmful VOC emissions reduce the quality of your air. HDPE materials are even resistant to scratches, dents, and graffiti. They’re also more durable than most plastics, so they’ll last much longer.

Be Mindful of Deficiencies

As a facility manager, it’s important to notice any issues or deficiencies within your facility. It’s always good to perform a routine check every three to six months to make sure everything is in working order. Not only will this be effective in keeping everything running smoothly, but you’ll be able to spot any mechanical issues that could become more severe if left unchecked. Including preventative maintenance in your facility management goals is a more cost-effective alternative than a full repair or replacement.

Improve and Endorse Energy Efficiency

Taking steps to make your facility more energy efficient is important. Review the data on your facility’s gas, electricity, and water expenses to find out what’s costing the most and how you can reduce wasted energy. If you have room in the facility budget, invest in some energy-efficient light bulbs and give your building equipment a tune-up. Inspect for any leaks and seal them to prevent further energy waste.

Want to learn more about the many ways you can improve the air quality and energy efficiency of your facility? Download our eBook, Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom today.

Daily Facility Maintenance Checklist: Keep Your Facility in Tip-Top Shape

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Your facility is a representation of your business, so why wouldn’t you want it to speak volumes? Future employees, visitors, and clients will walk through the doors and immediately take notice of issues that could sway their opinions. Staying on top of daily facility maintenance is crucial in keeping your facility in tip-top shape.

We’ve compiled this daily facility maintenance checklist to help spot any potential issues within your facility. You’ll also learn some helpful tips and tricks to make your facility’s clean and inviting appearance last longer.

  • Taking Preliminary Steps Toward a Cleaner Floor

One of the first items that should be at the top of your daily maintenance checklist is cleaning your facility’s floors. Dirty floors are an eyesore. They stick out immediately. The good news is, there are some steps you can take to help avoid tracking in dirt and waste.

Welcome mats are highly effective in reducing the amount of dirt that makes its way into your facility. It’s smart to have a welcome mat outside the entrance. You’ll also want another mat inside the foyer or lobby to help collect more dirt. Using an exterior and interior mat, you’ll help keep your floors cleaner longer, and potentially reduce maintenance costs.

  • Keeping Storage and Lockers Clean

If you have cubbies, lockers, or general storage compartments, you already know how dirty they can get. When they’re constantly being opened, dirt tends to build up, which makes those lockers and cubbies unsightly.

Whether these compartments get scuffed up or drawn on, you’ll want to ensure that you can keep them as clean as possible. The type of material you choose can play a big role in facility maintenance. For instance, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) lockers are resistant to scratches, dents, and even unwanted graffiti. Due to its high durability, HDPE never needs to be repainted, resulting in less volatile organic compound emissions that could be harmful if inhaled. It’s also one of the easiest plastics to recycle, so by installing these HDPE compartments, your facility takes a big step toward sustainability.

  • Sprucing Up the Bathroom

The next item to address on your daily maintenance facility checklist is the bathroom. It’s one of the most visited rooms in your facility, and with that much foot traffic, you’ll need to take some steps to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone. It’s always wise to keep plug-in air fresheners on hand, but how are your stalls holding up? This is another area where materials matter, especially when you consider the threat of rust often faced in commercial restrooms. Materials like steel or wood are prone to damage when they encounter moisture. However, other materials like HDPE are completely rust and mildew resistant.

  • Keeping Maintenance Cleaning Materials Stocked

Things like cleaning materials, toilet paper, and paper towels should always be on hand with plenty of backup to accommodate higher than anticipated volume. You also want to make sure your waste baskets and trash cans are easily accessible and not tucked in the corner. If they’re easy to get to, waste is more likely to make it in the trash without winding up on the floor.

By utilizing this daily facility maintenance checklist, you’re on the way to keeping your facility in tip-top shape. If you’re interested in learning more about bathroom cleaning and care, learn more in our article regarding how to care for your commercial bathroom vanities.

How to Conduct an Effective Facility Audit for Your School

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As a school facility manager, it’s important to perform routine facility and safety audits so the students, faculty, and staff can enjoy a comfortable environment while you ensure that everything is up to code. Learning how you can improve your facility or update your systems is crucial.

Here are a few helpful tips to show you the proper facility audit procedures.

Facility Audit

There are many factors at play when it comes to conducting a facility audit. The audit will require time and resources but only to ensure that everything is running as efficiently as possible. Whether you have an outsider come in to inspect or the school district has a professional at their disposal, it’s important to have an updated inventory checklist on hand so the process can be as efficient as possible. The facility audit is performed to gauge the status of your facility and determine if any updates or repairs would be necessary.

Necessary Inspections

When you’re conducting a facility audit, you should have your inventory checklist with the equipment and the date that said equipment was manufactured and installed. This will help the auditor determine the life cycle of the equipment and systems in your facility. By providing the auditor with the necessary resources, the actual audit should be fairly easy to compete.

Facility Audit

The auditor will carefully inspect your HVAC system to determine its quality and effectiveness and if it requires any repairs to pass inspection. If you’ve kept up with routine maintenance, this shouldn’t be a problem. Your water system will also be inspected to ensure the water quality and the functionality of the pumps and pipes.

The grounds of your facility will also be carefully inspected. The auditor will look for any damage to the exterior of the building as well as the quality of the parking lots. The auditor will also assess the landscaping and athletic fields to ensure student safety.

Areas to Focus On

Every facility or school has its weak spots, or areas that require a lot of focus and perhaps even maintenance. Bathrooms can be one of these areas, as several factors can contribute to a less-than-adequate audit. Air quality is an important aspect in the bathroom audit, so as a facility manager, you should take steps to ensure that everything is acceptable and up to par.

Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for mold and fungus, which have a negative effect on the air quality. Due to the overwhelming moisture and humidity, several components of your bathroom can be susceptible to mold growth. Your stalls and partitions may have mold sprouting inside them, so think about replacing these stalls with a more durable material like HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which is resistant to moisture, scratches, and even graffiti.

If you’ve kept up with your facility’s systems in terms of maintenance and repairs, you should expect good results from an audit. However, a variety of measures can help you to achieve a great audit. You may even want to consider some renovations. Learn more by downloading our eBook The Complete Guide to Renovating Your School’s Locker Room.

Toilet Partitions Codes to Review Before Choosing Bathroom Partitions

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Long before you begin construction, and even before you start buying your materials, you and your team should be familiar with the local and national toilet partitions codes that pertain to your restroom remodel or renovation project. Failure to do so could result in a build and restroom configuration that don’t meet national, state, or local guidelines, which in turn could hold up the entire project, pushing back the completion date by weeks or even months until the project can be finished and up to code.

To ensure that your project stays on track and meets the important legal building requirements, all building plans should be confirmed with local jurisdictions and compared against both local and national toilet partitions codes. When it comes to toilet partitions, here are some codes and standards you’ll want to review to make sure that your restroom passes inspection and is up to the specifications required by the national and local standards.

Basic Restroom Standards

When it comes to designing and outlining your restroom project, it’s important to get the basics right before you start. A major factor that you need to consider is the occupancy of the building in which the restrooms are located. You need to have the proper amount of toilet fixtures to ensure that there’s adequate space for occupants to relieve themselves. The standard rule is that there should be at least one toilet and stall for every 50 occupants. You can easily fit more stalls in your commercial restroom, but you also want to allot enough space for an ADA-compliant toilet stall, which takes up more room than a standard toilet stall that’s up to code.

Toilet Partitions Codes & Standards

The standard, wheelchair-accessible compartment requires all new construction and alterations to feature an out-swinging door, no more than 4 inches from the corner, diagonally from the toilet. You also need to make sure that the centerline of the toilet is 18 inches from the nearest side wall of the partition where horizontal grab bars must be mounted, as well as behind the toilet. This is to ensure that the occupant can easily access the toilet while having the necessary support to get up and exit the stall once they’re finished.

Ensuring that your facility’s restroom is ADA-compliant is crucial. These specific codes and guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act must be met in order to complete your restroom project. Providing easy access for occupants with disabilities is required by law, so make sure that you take inventory of your allotted space, as well as the number of toilets per occupant to ensure that you’re meeting the criteria.

ADA-Compliant Toilet Stall Dimensions

Stall Width

  • 60 inches minimum width of stall compartment (inside clear)

Stall Depth

  • 56 inches (inside clear) for wall-mounted toilets
  • 59 inches (inside clear) for floor-mounted toilets

Grab Bar Dimensions

  • At least 36 inches long
  • No more than 6 inches from inside corner
  • Adjacent grab bar no more than 12 inches from back wall
  • All grab bars should be 33-36 inches from the floor

Standard Toilet Stall Dimensions

Standard walk-in compartments, meanwhile, feature a toilet centered on the back wall and an out-swinging door. These are required whenever there are six or more toilets in one room. Horizontal grab bars must be mounted on each side wall or partition, as well as a toilet paper dispenser that’s easily accessible for the occupant.

Stall Width

  • 36 inches minimum and maximum (inside clear)
  • At least 15 inches from toilet to stall wall

Stall Depth

  • 60 inches minimum (inside clear)

Fire Prevention Building Codes for Bathroom Partitions

Those familiar with the International Building Code (IBC) will recall that bathroom partitions are considered interior finishes when they cover 10% or more of the wall or ceiling. Subsequently, the performance requirements for controlling fire growth as it pertains to toilet partitions can be found in Chapter 8 of the IBC under Interior Finishes.

Currently, there are two standards used to measure the fire performance of interior finishes. The first tests the surface burning characteristics of building materials. In this test, the materials are classified by flame spread and smoke development. Check below for the specific standards:

  • Class A has a flame spread index of 0-25, and a smoke development index of 0-450.
  • Class B has a flame spread index of 26-75, and a smoke development index of 0-450.
  • Class C has a flame spread index of 76-200, and a smoke development index of 0-450.

The second standard is the room corner test. The acceptance criteria for this test includes:

  1. During the 40-kW exposure, flames shall not spread to the ceiling.
  2. The flame shall not spread to the outer extremity of the sample on any wall or ceiling.
  3. Flashover, as defined in NFPA 286, shall not occur.
  4. The peak heat release rate throughout the test shall not exceed 800 kW.
  5. The total smoke released throughout the test shall not exceed 1,000 m.

Keeping Up to Code with Your Restroom

These codes were set in place by local and federal lawmakers to ensure that every occupant has the right amount of privacy, space, and accessibility, regardless of any disability or functionality. Adhering to these specific codes and dimensions is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, you can face a slew of fines or a halt on your project. Be sure to review the standards and codes for your location before designing and starting construction on your commercial facility’s restroom.

There are many other codes and standards that you need to review before choosing toilet partitions. To learn more about how Scranton Products brands meet local, state, and national guidelines, contact us today. You can also check out our free eBooks, ADA Guideline for a Compliant Restroom and Restroom Design for Commercial Facilities, so you can prepare yourself for your project and be sure that you’re on the right track with codes and standards.