Ages ago, long before this blog was born, I did another blog about trade associations and corporate websites. I kept meaning to transfer at least bits of it over here, so everything was all in one place, but I never really got round to it. I thought I’d do it now, because I can’t be bothered to write anything new. Here is the fourth one (it’s a couple of years old, so the links might not work).

Pity the poor public toilet. Often characterised as seedy, filthy places frequented by junkies and Stedman Pearson from Five Star. Even those people using public toilets for legitimate reasons are going to the toilet in them. The public toilet needs a voice. Thankfully, the British Toilet Association is here, “campaigning for better public toilets for all” and acting as “the catalyst for change in the pursuit of standards of excellence in all areas of public toilet provision and management”.

Were Britain’s public toilets really once the envy of the world? When was that? Whose public toilets are the envy of the world now? Google isn’t much help.

Membership of the BTA is open to everyone, from local authorities and commercial organisations to individuals. So, if you are really obsessed with toilets and you’ve got £46 to spare, why not fill out this form and become a member? Your membership fees will help the BTA meet its objectives:

To focus attention on issues relating to the provision of public or ‘away from home’ toilets
To campaign for appropriate legislation relating to the provision of public toilets by Local Authorities
To campaign for high standards of public or ‘away from home’ toilets in all areas, including municipal locations, health, education, transport, leisure, hospitality and retail establishments
To campaign for the provision of an adequate number of facilities for women, in relation to the number of facilities provided for men.
To campaign for adequate facilities for specialist user groups, such as wheelchair users, the elderly, babies and young children and people with medical conditions
To campaign for the provision of secure, fully attended public toilet facilities, with extended opening hours.
To campaign for the eradication of all types of social misuse and vandalism in public toilets
To provide a forum for public toilet providers, contractors, suppliers and users to share concerns and ideas and communicate best practices
To provide consultancy and information services to Association members on a range of relevant subjects
To establish links with similar Toilet Associations in other countries

As a member, you’ll also receive a discounted rate for the BTA’s consultation service. I wonder if they’d come round to my house to discuss current standards of provision, future strategy and issues relevant to design, layout, product and service needs, security and maintenance – as well as marketing or revenue generating opportunities. I can’t help but feel that my bathroom at home doesn’t generate as much revenue as it could. Maybe I could install a turnstile and charge myself 30p every time I use it.

It’s important to ensure standards are maintained in “away from home” toilet provision and to celebrate those facilities which exceed expectations. For this reason, the BTA promotes the Loo Of The Year Awards. Nominations are currently open for the 2009 awards, so if you’re out and about and spot an exceptional toilet, call the Loo Of The Year 24-hour hotline on 01403 25877. Each nominated toilet will receive a visit from a Loo Of The Year judge and will be assessed according to the following criteria:

– Directional signage (where applicable)
– External building signage (where applicable)
– Internal customer communication signage
– State of repair
– internal and external (if applicable)
– Sanitary fittings, taps, locks, hooks etc.
– Walls and ceilings
– Floor areas
– Fixtures and fittings – basins, bowls, seats, taps etc.
– Hand washing
– Hand drying
– Toilet tissue
– Sanitary product disposal
– Ventilation, drainage smells etc.
– Added value enhancement – vending, flowers etc.
– Lighting, entrances, external areas (if applicable)
– Proper provision for both sexes or a unisex facility
– Proper provision for both sexes or a unisex

That’s very detailed, isn’t it?

Toilets receiving more than three stars will be given a Loo Of The Year grading certificate. This certification process is essential to avoid unscrupulous toilet providers hyping their facilities with no evidence to back up their claims:

I saw that sign in Berlin. I didn’t use the toilet in the end, as I wanted to retain the mystery and thought the reality might be a let down. It’s like that thing they say about how you should never meet your heroes. Well, it’s like that thing they say about how you should never meet your heroes if your hero is a toilet.



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