21 August 2014

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Organiser's Guide - Loos For Events


Nothing lingers in the memory (and nostrils) like a bad lavatory experience. Here’s how to make sure your event comes up smelling of roses...

loos loo.jpgNo one gets into event planning for the lavatories. But loo facilities are one of the most important factors to consider – and not just for outdoor events. Sometimes even indoor venues require reinforcements in the shape of temporary panelled loos, or a supplementary trailer outside.
Essentially, loo-planning is a numbers game (and this is one area where the intervention of the health and safety police is welcome). Regulations stipulate that the longer the event, the more loos per person are required. A one-hour event for 100 people, for instance, would require one loo, while a five-hour event for the same number would require two. But this is an absolute bare minimum, not a target to aim at. A wedding should have one cubicle per 40 guests, while a 1:30 ratio
is suitable for a VIP event. Take into account what drinks are being served, whether there are scheduled breaks (when everyone will rush to the loos en masse), and whether staff will be using them too.
Think carefully about what type of loo is most appropriate. The classic plastic Portaloo might be acceptable at a festival, but for a more formal event, you’ll want to book trailers. These are usually self-sufficient for up to eight hours and require only an electrical supply, not water (though for longer events you should consider booking a trailer that connects to a water supply).
Make sure you don’t overlook anything obvious. A gents-only loo with urinals can serve twice the number of guests as a unit with only cubicles. Think about access for disabled guests and whether you’ll need changing facilities for young children. And, of course, ensure there’s enough paper!
If you’re planning on staging an event that requires lots of Portaloos during the summer, you might want to reconsider, as the effect of the London Olympics will transform loos into gold dust from about May through to September. Michael Eavis has already cited spiralling lavatory costs as one of the reasons for cancelling the 2012 Glastonbury Festival. Where there’s muck, there’s brass…

This article first featured in Square Meal Venues & Events Guide 2012.

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