A Helping Hand for Dryer Selection:

How to Specify the Right Hand Dryer

Choosing the right hand dryer can facilitate a range of benefits for facilities. It can be the finishing touch that ties together a restroom’s high-end aesthetic, align with a facility’s goal of being ADA-complaint and help create a healthy, hygienic environment. A great hand dryer choice can also facilitate significant long-term cost savings for the owner while reducing the impact of the restroom on the environment.

Every building project—and every restroom—has unique needs. Your hand dryer specification should reflect those needs and provide added value to the owner, thereby strengthening your relationships and ensuring that the intent of your design endures.

Consider Owner, Building Type & Occupants

Each building type has unique requirements and needs that hand dryers can support. Before specifying a hand dryer, ask yourself:

  • What kind of building is it?
  • Who will be using it?
  • What kind of traffic must it serve?
  • Which benefits can best serve these goals? (i.e. noise level, hygiene or design)

Thus, building type can help you form a baseline for your hand dryer specification. Consider the following building types and their requirements before choosing a hand dryer.

Prestige Buildings

Examples: Corporate headquarters, Class-A offices, iconic civic centers, major universities, concert halls, upscale properties, corporate headquarters

Characteristics: Clean, high-end design, hygiene and cleanliness

Critical Features

  • High-end design: For prestige buildings, supporting the facility’s high-end aesthetic should be your top priority when choosing a hand dryer. Look for stainless steel finishes, clean forms, and, if budget and wall construction permits, recessed installation.
  • Hygienic operation: One common drawback of many hand dryers is their tendency to splash water onto the restroom floor, wall or even the patron. Not only are these puddles unhygienic, but also they can create serious fall hazards. Look for models with design elements that absorb or catch excess water, which also can significantly reduce janitorial workload to support economical operation.
Standard Use Buildings

Examples: Commercial office facilities, healthcare centers, hospitality projects, manufacturing plants, retail spaces

Characteristics: Moderate traffic, modest budgets, compliant objectives, pleasant environment

Critical Features

  • Low noise: Since so many standard use buildings are places of work, learning and commerce, it’s critical that the hand dryers help maintain a pleasant, low-noise environment. Many popular hand dryer brands can operate as high as 86 measured decibels (dBA); consider models that operate at 72 dBA or lower to maintain a pleasant atmosphere conducive to productivity, learning and interaction.
  • Accessibility compliance: Since so many standard use facilities—especially healthcare facilities—must serve people of very different ages and abilities, supporting accessible design objectives is critical. 2010 ADA Standards require that restroom accessories installed with leading edges between 27 inches and 80 inches above the floor must protrude no more than 4 inches maximum into a circulation path. Look for hand dryers that satisfy the 4-inch protrusion requirement.

“Nice to Have” Features

  • Contemporary design: If budget permits, find a model with an aesthetically pleasing design that harmonizes with the restroom’s aesthetic. In fact, many hand dryers with distinctive designs and stainless steel finishes are available within many standard use clients’ desired price range.
Heavy Traffic Buildings

Examples: K-12 schools, shopping malls, amusement parks, recreation facilities, transportation centers, airports, stadiums, restaurants

Characteristics: Periods of heavy traffic and usage, high facility operating costs

Critical Features:

  • Low wattage: When it comes to energy costs, years of consistent, heavy traffic can add up. Seek out a low-wattage jet dryer that can support high traffic flow without driving up the facility’s energy costs. While some leading brands operate as high as 1.7 kW, Bobrick’s InstaDry™ Surface-Mounted Hand Dryer operates as low as 0.2 kW, facilitating to up to 80 percent savings on annual operating costs. Further, low wattage dryers can also achieve an effect of “accelerating savings”—the more they’re used, the more the facility saves. Finally, many heavy traffic facilities have lofty sustainability goals, and a low wattage dryer can help support that, too.
  • Lifespan: Facility managers at high traffic facilities have enough to worry about—hand dryers breaking down on a regular basis shouldn’t be one of them. By investing in a hand dryer with a long lifespan, the replacement cycle is reduced and the facility spends less money and time replacing units.

“Nice to Have” Features

  • High-end design: If budget allows it, a hand dryer with high-end aesthetics can help heavy traffic facilities project a high-end image.

Have a project that requires a smart hand dryer specification? Find Bobrick solutions in our Complete Hand Dryer Range brochure.

Download Bobrick’s Complete Hand Dryer Range brochure to put these insights into action!
Download >

Learn Key Concepts of Accessibility

A glossary of key terms in accessible restroom design

Public restrooms are one of the most critical building amenities, and, as such, they must accommodate a wide range of human abilities and disabilities. The needs of a person using a wheelchair and the space the wheelchair dictates special considerations in terms of clear floor space, paths of travel and reach ranges of users. While the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design are primarily intended to benefit people with disabilities, accessible design also benefits a wide range of users such as people with temporary health problems, older people, and people with children. 

Although every project is different, here are some of the key terms and concepts you’ll need to understand when striving for compliance with ADA, as well as 2009 ICC/ANSI standards. 

Note: This glossary does not constitute a comprehensive guide to ADA, ICC or ANSI compliance—for complete information, we invite you to download our AEC Daily Continuing Education course, A Planning Guide for Accessible Restrooms, and review full ADA, ICC/ANSI standards and local building codes. 

Baby Changing Stations
While not required by accessibility standards, baby changing stations are widely regarded as an important or even essential feature in many facilities, particularly those facilities that serve families.

Bathing Facilities
Accessible bathing facilities for people with disabilities are required in a wide variety of buildings, including hotels, athletic clubs, school gymnasiums and dormitories, parks and campgrounds, long-term care facilities, and hospitals.

Child Protection Seats 
Child protection seats are often used in public restrooms to provide a safe, secure and convenient location for children weighing up to 50 lbs. to rest while parents tend to siblings and other matters. 

Children’s Reach Ranges
When designing restrooms primarily for children’s use, it is best practice to specify reach ranges that are appropriate for the specific age group for which you are designing.

Clear Floor Space 
To adhere to ADA standards, several key areas of the restroom must include clear floor space that accommodates a single wheelchair of at least 30” by 48”.

Combination Tub/Shower Unit Grab Bars
Combination tub and shower units must have horizontal grab bars mounted at the foot of the tub, on the back wall, at the head of the tub and a vertical grab bar on the control wall. 

Controls & Operating Mechanisms 
Controls and operating mechanisms for faucets, toilets, and restroom accessories must comply with ADA standards for controls and operable parts such as push buttons, valves, knobs, and levers, requiring less than 5 lbs. of force to operate with one hand, without grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.

Sanitary napkin disposals are recommended in all women’s toilet compartments. They should be within reach from a sitting position and mounted below grab bars.

Doors must swing into the minimum required clear floor space of toilet compartments (56” by 60”) and be self-closing. Door pull hardware must be installed on both sides of the door near the latch. 

Feminine Product Vendors 
Vendors with push-button operation mechanisms that are activated with less than 5 lbs. of force are recommended for universally designed, accessible women’s restrooms.

Grab Bars
Grab bars are required for all toilet compartments to ensure safety for disabled, obese and/or individuals with mobility issues. 

Leading Edges
Restroom accessories with leading edges should have a maximum of 4” protrusion from the wall, at a height between 27” and 80” above the floor.

Left- and Right-Hand Use of Fixtures
Some people with disabilities can only use certain features of fixtures and accessories if they can approach them from the left or right side—thus, allow space on both sides of fixtures and accessories, wherever possible. 

Mirrors located above lavatories or countertops must be installed with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface 40″ maximum above the finish floor. 

Mounting Heights
People with disabilities may have limited ability to reach for key fixtures—thus, most accessories must be installed in accordance with ADA minimum mounting height requirements to ensure usability. 

Paper Towel Dispensers, Waste Receptacles & Hand Dryers
Paper towel dispensers, waste receptacles and warm air hand dryers should be conveniently located in areas that are accessible to people using wheelchairs, preferably adjacent to an accessible lavatory.

Reach Depth
2009 ICC/ANSI standards require a maximum reach depth of 11” for soap dispenser controls, as well as faucet and paper towel dispenser outlets. 

Roll-In Shower Compartments
Roll-in shower compartments are ideal amenities for all users, including individuals who use a castered shower chair for bathing.

Shower Grab Bars
Shower grab bars must be installed in all accessible bathing facilities.

Shower Seats
Permanent or folding shower seats are now required by the 2009 ICC/ANSI standards for both roll-in and transfer shower compartments. 

Soap Dispensers
Soap dispensers installed over lavatories must be mounted so that push buttons or operable parts meet ADA compliant reach range requirements of between 44” and 48” maximum above the floor. 

Toe Clearance
Toe clearance of 9″ minimum above the finish floor is required under the front and one side of all accessible toilet compartments.

Toilet Compartments
Accessible toilet compartments are required in all public restrooms. ADA standards outline two basic toilet compartment designs: the wheelchair accessible toilet compartment and the ambulatory accessible toilet compartment. A third variant is the large wheelchair accessible toilet compartment.

Toilet Tissue Dispensers
Roll toilet tissue dispensers that allow continuous paper flow are required in all accessible toilet compartments. Dispensers that control continuous paper delivery should not be used. 

Toilets with undercut bowls are recommended for all accessible restrooms. Flush controls such as levers must comply with ADA standards for controls and operable parts and reach range requirements. In wheelchair accessible toilet compartments, flush controls must be located on the open side of the toilet. 

Transfer Shower Compartments
Transfer shower compartments are the most common type of individual shower compartment used to accommodate people with disabilities.

Turning Spaces
Accessible restrooms must accommodate adequate wheelchair turning space of either a 60” circular space or a T-shaped turning space with a 60” square minimum and arms and base minimum of 36” wide. 

Universal Design
A universal design approach ensures maximum accessibility to products, spaces and building elements for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Urinals, where provided, should include at least one wall-hung or stall type urinal installed with the rim 17″ maximum above the finish floor.

Earn an AIA/CES Learning credit, with Bobrick’s Planning Guide for Accessible Restrooms.
Register Now >

Solutions for a Multigenerational Market

Recent demographic and social trends have increased demand for multigenerational design in the commercial building environment, and the restroom offers many opportunities for designers to cater to a full spectrum of generational challenges.

Rising demand for accessible design, family-friendly amenities, hygiene, and privacy all place the onus on architects and specifiers to provide solutions that better serve an increasingly diverse range of restroom patrons. Multigenerational solutions are not just good manners—they are also good business.

Note: This infographic does not constitute a comprehensive guide to ADA, ICC or ANSI compliance—for complete information, we invite you to download our The Continuing Architect course, Multigenerational Public Restroom Design and review full ADA, ICC/ANSI standards and local building codes.

Take the CEU Course
Earn an AIA/CES Learning credit with Bobrick’s course, Multigenerational Public Restroom Design.
Register Now >

How to Choose a Toilet Partition Material

Today’s toilet partition systems are available with a nearly limitless selection of design options and configurations. From finishes to privacy features and hardware to mounting options, architects and designers have a wide variety of options available to meet demanding project requirements.

One of the most critical decisions to make is the choice of material. A toilet partition system’s material can impact:

  • The durability of a partition system and its warranty
  • A system’s ability to meet critical codes and requirements
  • Its resistance to graffiti and scratching
  • How the partition system is cleaned and maintained

…and much more. Each partition material has unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on the building application. Before specifying a partition material, review not only these considerations but also our Continuing Education course, Specifying Code-Compliant Toilet Partitions on AECDaily.

Fire Code Considerations

In the United States, model codes and standards pertaining to fire safety and construction are regulated by the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). While not mandatory until adopted by city, county, state, and federal government jurisdictions, adherence to these codes is often critical, as many major corporations require compliance regardless of governmental policy.

Most relevant to the specification of partitions today are the International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 1, Fire Code. As of 2006, the model codes written by both ICC and NFPA clearly regulate toilet room privacy partitions as an interior finish. This is an important distinction—in recent years, some jurisdictions have interpreted fire and building code requirements for interior finish as being unrelated to restroom privacy partitions. Although these standards are not currently regulation or law in several jurisdictions, prudent architects and specifiers should adhere to them.

Architects, interior designers and specifiers should always request complete ASTM E84, UL 723, or NFPA 286 room-corner test compliance documents from HPL, CL, and SCRC toilet partition manufacturers. It is also important to insist on unmodified NFPA 286 room-corner test compliance documentation from PP and HDPE toilet partition manufacturers prior to specification or purchase.

Building Type Considerations

The building type can help form a baseline for choosing a partition material, depending on whether the facility is prestige, standard-use, or heavy-traffic.

Prestige Buildings
Corporate headquarters, class-A office projects, civic centers & major universities

  • Moderate-low traffic
  • Minimal use and abuse
  • Architectural design excellence, quality materials and equipment

Standard-Use Buildings
Commercial office facilities, healthcare centers, hospitality projects & manufacturing plants

  • Moderate-heavy traffic
  • Moderate-heavy vandalism
  • Specification typically price-driven

Heavy Traffic Buildings
K–12 schools, shopping malls, amusement and recreation facilities & transportation centers

  • Heavy traffic
  • Possible high incidence of vandalism
Selecting a Material

Each partition material has unique advantages and disadvantages, dependent on the building application.

Solid Color Reinforced Composite (SCRC)

  • Homogeneous color
  • Hard, yet repairable material; gouges/scratches can be sanded out
  • Water resistant; can be “hosed down” for cleaning
  • Surface is highly resistant to graffiti, scratches, dents and water damage
  • Can achieve ICC class-B interior wall finish classification
  • 25-year warranty

High-Pressure Laminate (HPL)

  • Extensive color and pattern options
  • Improved graffiti, scratch, and dent resistance (although deep scratches can expose dark kraft paper, which may absorb odors and/or swell when exposed to excessive moisture)
  • Visible brown or black edges
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Can obtain a class-B interior wall finish classification from the IBC
  • Special laminates may increase costs and lead time
  • Limited warranty

Compact Laminate (CL)

  • Water-resistant and can be “hosed down” for cleaning
  • Dent-, scratch-, and graffiti-resistant
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Can achieve ICC class-A or B interior wall finish classification

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Homogeneous color, which allows for gouges and scratches to simply be sanded out.
  • Water-resistant for easy cleaning
  • High recycled content
  • Extended warrant
  • Graffiti tends to “ghost” into HDPE and cannot be fully removed
  • Softest of the materials; can easily be scratched and dented

Painted Metal & Stainless Steel

  • Wide availability and low cost—stainless steel is typically costlier
  • Qualify as class-A interior wall finishes under the IBC
  • More prone to rusting, dents, scratches, and odor absorption than other options
  • Painted metal and stainless steel partitions typically have a limited warranty
  • Graffiti is also more difficult to remove from painted metal partitions

Earn an AIA/CES Learning credit with Bobrick’s course, Specifying Code-Compliant Toilet Partitions.
Register Now >