Sensor taps and no door handles: Covid-19 shows it's time to rethink public toilets

4 May, 2020

Public health experts, designers and architects say the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental flaws in the design of public toilets that risk spreading a second wave of coronavirus, and possibly even new pandemics.

The pandemic has sparked calls for the introduction of building codes and design innovation for all future structures to comply with infection control measures, with greater input from disease specialists in construction projects that often see the design stage as a chance for cost cutting.

Some of the suggested innovations include a greater uptake of sensor taps, fully self-cleaning cubicles, designing exits that don’t require human contact, and having bathroom attendants.

Proponents of these ideas say they would improve hygiene by minimising the amount of exposure to potentially infected surfaces and also boost public confidence in the cleanliness of public conveniences, with some arguing the net effect would even be good for the post-pandemic economic recovery.

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