Global Toilet Design Guideline Ready for Public Comment

ICC, WTO Draft of Global Toilet Design Guideline Ready for Public Comment

(PRWEB) June 16, 2011

Alarming statistical facts such as 2.6 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, a child dies of a waterborne illness every 15 seconds, and safe drinking water is not available to 1.1 billion people likely generate compassion. But it does much more than that for global sanitation leaders and professionals in the water- and plumbing-related fields who can drive change and help save lives.

One major initiative intended to facilitate easier, less costly construction of restrooms is the “Global Guideline for Practical Toilet Design.” Developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the World Toilet Organization (WTO), with assistance from committee members representing sanitation-related organizations around the globe, the document is in the final stages of development, scheduled for late summer release.

A culmination of three years of work and participation from a diverse field of global experts from Africa, Australia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom, the public comment period marks the last stage of development of the Guideline. The committee invites all interested global stakeholders to participate in the final stages of development by reviewing the draft of the document and providing input. After this stage is complete, the document will be available for use by all professionals who are in any way involved with public restrooms.

“We have already received inquires from several international governments wishing to arrange for its review and adoption upon completion,” the International Code Council’s Jay Peters said. “The interest was so high when we presented the first draft to the World Toilet Summit attendees in Macau that the audience wouldn’t leave the room. We are very excited and proud of this document and all that it will mean to millions of people around the world.”

The committee is a virtual who’s who of the global sanitation industry. In addition to Drew Azzara, Lee Clifton, Velma Morga, Jay Peters, and Sylvana Ricciarini with the International Code Council, founding members of this committee and other professionals who contributed substantially to the initial draft of the Guidelines include Naning Adiwoso, Asosiasi Toilet Indonesia; Kathryn Anthony, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Bill and Scott Chapman, Australian Toilet Organization; Steve Cummings, Caroma Dorf and Standards Australia; Jan-Olof Drangert, Linkopings University; Peter Gorges, Exeloo RBA PTY Ltd; Clara Greed, Viva City 2020; Carol McCreary, Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH); Trevor Mulaudzi, The Clean Shop; John-Henry Nicholas, Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA); Charles Owusu, Benedict-Sanitation and Development Trust Fund; Jack Sim, World Toilet Organization; and Frank Wu, M.H. Wu & Associates.

“It has been so fulfilling to work with such a devoted group of sanitation professionals,” ICC Director of Global services Sylvana Ricciarini said. “I look forward to the dissemination and implementation phase of this important guideline to improve sanitation conditions around the world.”

The document intent is to standardize the design and installation of public toilets for any country to easily adopt and follow. Although public restrooms exist through much of the world, consistent design would be much more cost effective to install and maintain than having literally thousands of variations on a relatively basic design. This improved efficiency, not only reduces costs, but should enable installations in areas where previously they might not have been affordable.

“Adequate sanitation conditions should be a basic human right,” stated Professor Clara Greed, whose area of specialization is urban planning. “As such, they should be an integral part of the planning of cities and construction of all buildings. The Global Guideline is an excellent first step with regard to this goal.” Clara, based in the United Kingdom, is well known worldwide for her advocacy to improve, not only access to sanitation, but equal and fair access for women through proper potty parity as well.

Tantamount to the fact that 40 percent of the world’s population does not have access to toilets is the lack of education regarding the need to keep human waste separate from drinking water supplies. Many areas have plenty of water. But because the water source is contaminated by waste due to lack of proper sanitation, it is undrinkable.

While the Global Guideline does not cover sanitation education, many of the committee members and other global leaders supporting the sanitation cause will focus their efforts on education to one day eradicate death and disease from waterborne illness due to unsanitary conditions that are easily preventable.

This has been a major initiative of the World Toilet Organization, which is dedicated to eradicating death and illness caused by improper sanitation. “Sanitation education is absolutely critical to the global sanitation crisis,” said Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization. “When people understand the importance of proper hygiene, it makes such a huge difference in the health of their family and their communities. This Guideline will help save countless lives.”

Education about the need for sustainable sanitation is critical, not only for the 40 percent of the population who don’t have access to toilets, but also those who can help drive change towards greater access to toilets. “Containment of waste is crucial for good health, while cleanliness is crucial for sustained use,” added Professor Jan-Olof Drangert with Linköping University in Sweden. “The Guideline will help sanitation-related professionals to enhance sanitary conditions for millions of people.”

The document is intended for use by governmental jurisdictions, building and health inspectors, plumbers and the rest of the construction industry, as well as cleaning and maintenance professionals.

It will provide guidance on construction of standard restrooms, along with direction on accessories such as hand dryers, soap dispensers, etc. The Guideline also includes maintenance and cleaning instructions to ensure installed public restrooms remain hygienic and safe. It also includes basic care and maintenance of these facilities. Specific provisions reference the practical design, location, erection, installation, alteration, repairs, replacement, use and maintenance of public toilets.

Beyond publishing this highly anticipated Global Guideline, the WTO and ICC PMG are already exploring new opportunities for guidelines that progress and assist in providing safe and sanitary facilities to the 2.6 billion people who still do not have access to toilets.

For more information about the Global Guideline, including learning how you can help in the efforts to save countless lives through improved sanitation conditions, contact the Code Council’s PMG Resource Center. To review the draft of the Global Guideline for Practical Toilet Design, visit


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