Part of the Venues & Events 'Organisers Guide' series published in our annual guide, the feature discusses toilets at events
Loos for Events
Admittedly not the most glamorous part of the job, but all organisers need to consider the ‘facilities’. You may think Portaloos are just for festivals but even established venues don’t always have adequate washrooms for all types of events – so be sure to check the loos (or lack thereof) on your first show-round or site visit.
Health and safety regulations stipulate that public events require at least one toilet per 100 guests but that kind of ratio will inevitably result in queues. The ideal number changes with the nature of the event, not to mention the type of drinks served (beer = need for more loos) but, for something like a wedding, you should be looking at providing one cubicle per 40 guests. Aim for a 1:30 ratio for VIP events and conferences with scheduled breaks, where peak-time congestion can be a problem.
Temporary loo facilities can be installed almost anywhere and there are plenty of options to choose from. At the basic end of the scale are the Tardis-look loo units associated with large outdoor events. A step up from there are the more elegant trailers, which usually come with a nice basin area. Those installing loos inside a building or temporary structure can opt for bespoke designs fancy enough to compete with washrooms in five-star hotels.
Whatever the type, don’t underestimate the number of units needed – or how long they are going to be in use for. If, for instance, you order a trailer designed to serve 150 guests over an eight-hour period and then have 200 guests plus 30 staff using it for 12 hours, you could end up filling the waste tank and running out of water for hand-washing. For the best service, consider booking attendants to keep loos clean, operational and as drug-free as possible.
It’s also worth knowing who’s on your guest list. Disabled guests and children in nappies need special facilities, while men require fewer loos than women (a gents’-only unit with urinals can serve almost twice the number of guests than one with cubicles for mixed use). A good loo supplier will be able to advice on all the options – use our checklist to get the best quote. For more information, contact Igloos (tel: 01438 861418, squaremeal.co.uk/igloos)