Photo credit: Horwitz
Sloan’s AER-DEC integrated sink provides a more hygienic experience for users with a completely touch-free experience using sensor-activated faucet, soap dispenser and hand dryer.

Handwashing Made Easy

July 14, 2020
Office remodel includes an integrated touchless faucet, soap dispenser, hand dryer.

PCL Construction is a family of independent general construction firms owned by employee shareholders in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean. The nearly 115-year-old company has more than 30 locations in North America—including PCL Minneapolis, established in 1976.

 Several iconic projects that PCL Minneapolis completed include the InterContinental Hotel at the Minneapolis Airport; Terminal 1—Lindbergh parking expansion, parking structure and RAC facility; and the Mystic Lake convention center and hotel addition.

 PCL Construction works on several LEED projects for its clients. It also is committed to sustainability initiatives within its companies. When it came time for the Minneapolis staff to relocate to a new office, any renovation needed to adhere to the PCL Construction’s sustainability goals.

 “Sustainability at PCL means delivering cost-effective solutions to our customers that add real business value to their projects,” notes Sean Scott, special projects manager at PCL Minneapolis. “The use of construction methods and materials that minimize harmful effects to people and the environment while reducing long-term maintenance costs translates into a higher return-on-investment for our clients.”

 PCL Minneapolis tasked local design-build plumbing and mechanical contractor Horwitz—a fixture in the Twin Cities’ construction scene for more than 100 years—with the remodeling of the office’s plumbing and mechanical systems. To promote water conservation in the office facility, the bathrooms were equipped with low-flow flushometers on its toilets and urinals.

 The seven-man Horwitz crew installed 12 Sloan ST-2459 wall-hung toilets and three SU-1009 urinals. Fifteen Sloan flushometers were also installed—G2 8111 flushometers with the toilets at 1.28 gal. per flush and G2 8186 0.125 GPF flushometers with the urinals—to deliver water savings while providing a touch-free experience.

 Other sustainable initiatives had to do with waste management and recycling, as well as mitigating construction waste, Scott says.

 Hygiene and COVID-19

 One of the priorities of PCL’s remodeling effort was to maintain the existing footprint from the previous tenants to maximize office space. Horwitz installed four Sloan AER-DEC integrated sink systems—the BASYS sensor touchless faucet, soap dispenser and hand dryer all working together in one composite system. PCL was able to avoid adding individual sinks and keep the restroom space compact.

 Cleanliness also was high on PCL’s list of priorities. “In our effort to reduce water consumption and the waste created by paper towels, PCL’s project planning team was interested in incorporating touch-free automatic faucets, soap dispensers and hand dryers all integrated into our washbasin counter,” Scott explains.

 As the world continues to struggle with the infectious respiratory disease COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus that causes it, we are more aware of the role hygiene plays in the contraction of diseases. More handwashing is required to help reduce the spread of the disease, as well as social distancing and wearing masks.

 While sometimes sensor-operated fixtures can be a source of frustration for users of public bathrooms, the touch-free aspects are a welcome addition today as people begin to navigate outside of their homes.

 “The less contact you have with every-day items, the less likely you are to transfer germs,” says Sam Tait, project manager at Horwitz. “We install hundreds of touchless faucets each year. We suggest them to clients if they are the right fit for the project.”

 The AER-DEC integrated sink provides a more hygienic experience for users with a completely touch-free experience using sensor-activated faucet, soap dispenser and hand dryer. The facility’s maintenance staff is now able to clean the restroom faster and even more efficiently while eliminating excess water dripping on the floor and the need for paper towels.

 “The touch-free faucets and soap dispensers have been extremely helpful in a post-COVID-19 world,” Scott explains. “We have shut off our hand dryers for the time being to minimize the risk of blowing airborne particles around.”

 The renovation was completed in June 2018; Tait notes that there have been no complaints about the touch-free fixtures from PCL Minneapolis.

 “The [touch-free] products in our new restrooms have made a great impression on our employees," says Mark Bentfield, building systems manager, PCL Construction Services.

About the Author

Kelly L. Faloon | Freelance Writer/Editor

Kelly L. Faloon is a contributing editor and writer to ContractorContracting Business magazine and HPAC Engineering and principal of Faloon Editorial Services. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, Faloon has more than 26 years of experience in the plumbing and heating industry and more than 35 years in B2B publishing. She started a freelance writing and editing business in 2017, where she has a varied clientele.

Faloon spent 3 1/2 years at Supply House Times before joining the Plumbing & Mechanical staff in 2001. Previously, she spent nearly 10 years at CCH/Wolters Kluwer, a publishing firm specializing in business and tax law, where she wore many hats — proofreader, writer/editor for a daily tax publication, and Internal Revenue Code editor.

A native of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University. You can reach her at [email protected].

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