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ARCHITECTS & PARURESIS

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Up to 46 million Americans are unable to urinate in the presence of others*.  Paruresis is the name for this condition.

In buildings designed with multi person restrooms, Paruresis sufferers are unable to urinate when others are in the same room or can hear this.  Toilet/urinal partitions or background music often provide little or no relief.  This environment damages the quality of life people should expect when trying to function in society.  

Single user restrooms eliminate circulation square footage (the square footage in multi person restrooms for public movement within the room.  Egress corridors, lobbies, etc. already designed into new buildings provide this square footage at no additional cost.  

Section 213.2, Excemption 4 of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design requires 50% of a cluster of single user restrooms are to be accessible.  See floor Plan 1B here:

http://www.rockfordil.gov/media/8975/2010%20ADA%20SINGLE%20USER%20RESTROOMS.pdf

Plan 1B shows 7' X 5' for the 50% required to be accessible.  This is not a lot of space.

To prove this, walk into any existing multi person restroom and count up the number of fixtures.  Figure 7' wide X 5' deep for the 50% accessible restrooms and 5' wide X 5' deep for the 50% non-accessible.  Compare the new square footage to the multi person restroom with all of its circulation square footage.  The entry foyer leading into the multi person restroom is also eliminated since single user restrooms are clustered along egress corridors, lobbies, etc.  Square footage savings of up to 50% and higher can be attained designing single user restrooms instead.   

The 2018 International Plumbing Code, Section 403.1.2, allows toilet rooms (and bathing rooms) to be designed single occupancy and unisex. It includes the family and assisted toilet and bathing rooms fixtures in the total count for all types of buildings.  This code will help not only Paruresis sufferers, yet will offer safer environments for families with children, reduce waiting lines for everyone (potty parity), will eliminate transgender facility-use issues and solve Bathroom Bills by birth certificate proposed in North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington.  

Square footage and energy usage can also be reduced.  In a newly designed building, architects can reduce the total building size by the saved restroom and bathing room square footages. 

Architects can ask for variances, modifications or go through State Code Committees to allow this 2018 IPC Section 403.1.2 to be used in advance.         

With single user restrooms, employee and customer satisfaction will increase leading to better productivity and increased sales.  Buildings become user friendly, inviting, more in demand and an environment people can function in.  

Paruresis is extremely common.  This simple design change and the amount of people it will benefit is amazing.  Architects, design single user restrooms only in all future projects. 

 

 

The American's With Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III PROHIBITION OF  DISCRIMINATION BY PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS:  "(a) General Rule.--No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation."  ADA also states that a person is "considered to have a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."

* A Study by Williams and Degenhart (Wikipedia) found 14.4% of the population having Paruresis, equaling 46 million Ameridans, based upon the 2015 USA population of 320,098,857.  A Harvard University Study - Social Phobia Subtypes in the National Comorbidity Study - American Journal of Psychiatry, 155:613-9, May 1998, found 6.6% of the population with Paruresis equalling 21 million Americans as of 2015.  

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              

 

 

 

   

 




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