Adequate Facilities - Entertainment Venues

Ella Cook

Wednesday, 09 January 2019

Adequate Facilities - Entertainment Venues

- 2 minute read

First impressions count, you never have a second chance!

As promised, he took his wife to see the new film on her birthday. The venue was beautiful, and the film was excellent. When they were just about to leave, his wife exclaimed, ‘We can come here again, Dear!’. Delighted, her husband asked her why. ‘Because they have lovely well-maintained toilets.’

We little realise the effect of our washroom facilities on visitors. If you don’t care about the quality of your facilities, do you care about your customers?

British law states the minimum standards expected, however, in today’s world, we expect much higher standards when visiting these entertainment venues. Modern and elegant facilities contribute significantly to the ambience of the venue.

What do you need to consider when planning or designing?

  • Number of people flowing through the building

    • Need to bear in mind the maximum capacity in the premises so you have suitable facilities for all users
    • There won’t always be maximum capacity, so are there some areas that won’t be used when only normal attendance?
    • It should be assumed that the public is 50% male and 50% female, although in theatres the ratio is more likely 40% male and 60% female
  • The layout of the premises

    • Is it easy for all attendees to locate the facilities?
    • Would disabled members of the public have to go far to get to the toilet? They should not have to travel more than 40m
  • The distribution of the public through the premises

    • Are some areas more populated? If so, they need more toilets than less populated areas.
    • Are the facilities in those areas designed to minimise queuing and optimise flow? Are there toilets on each floor?
  • The use of the building

    • Theatres, cinemas, bars and discos all have differing demands
    • For example, theatres and concert halls often place immediate and heavy demand on facilities during a break in a performance

Remember, if only the minimum number of toilets is provided, queues will occur, especially in female areas, causing dissatisfaction.

How can I reduce queuing and improve flow?

  • Provide universal unisex toilets (however, it might not be welcome or advised if children are present)
  • Have a separate area for applying make-up in the female areas to avoid congestion near sinks
  • Have suitable exits from the toilet areas to ease flow ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the doors

Other factors to bear in mind

Babies – need to have hygienic area for suitable baby changing, perhaps installed in a unisex accessible toilet Persons with impaired mobility – when possible all facilities should be together to keep segregation to a minimum Staff and performers – ideally should have separate facilities to the public although not necessary in smaller venues

Below are tables showing the recommendations provided by the British Standards.