Leading the Way
As the movement for more green space continues to build momentum across the country, parks directors, planners, and designers are looking to streamline their park development projects.
Leading the way to ease this process is typically the most overlooked amenity, the park restroom. This process comes in the form of prefabrication. Taking the headache and worry out of the hands of the park professional, today's prefab buildings are ADA compliant, built to high standards, long lasting, and are good looking.
First, let's take a look at the prefabrication process. A modern prefab building is much more than the solid concrete bunker building of the past. Today's prefab buildings are constructed much the same way as a site-built building, but built in an enclosed environment. Adhering to strict federal, state, and local building codes these restroom facilities are built using traditional site-built materials including CMU Block, wood stud, and steel stud framing. While prefab buildings may use the same materials, they utilize much different construction processes. As an example, a prefab wood frame building will have its walls framed on tables with set templates and stops, assuring that all walls are plumb and true. Not only is the framing done on a table, but the inner and outer "skins" of 5/8th's osb and the internal wall's frp treatment is also applied on dedicated framing tables. When all walls are completed, they are brought to their specifically prepared 8" concrete foundation for erection. Once assembled you can rest assured it will be a structurally sound, plumb, and true building. This is only one example of how this type of construction leads to a high quality, long lasting building. There are similar processes for every type of material and phase of construction.
In addition to the elevated construction process, the environment in which construction takes place is another factor that favors the prefabrication process. Prefabricated restroom facilities are built in enclosed manufacturing plants from Marble Falls, Texas to other parts of the United States. Building in an enclosed environment ensures that there isn't any damage or delays due to rain, snow, sleet, or other inclement weather. There is also the added peace of mind that there will be no theft of construction materials, as has been the case in many site-built projects. Building off site, in a plant, also mitigates the liability risk to the owner associated with a traditional site-built project.
Not only are prefabricated modular restroom buildings built to a high standard, they are built to look great. The construction process lends itself to customization both inside and out. Interior layouts can be modified or custom designed to accommodate most any owner’s needs. From adding on family rooms, storage, and showers to ticket booths, locker rooms, hospitality rooms, and full concession areas a prefab restroom building can be developed into whatever the owner needs to complete his or her park, splash pad, or sportsplex. To take it a step further, these buildings can be architecturally designed to match existing buildings or to blend in with the surrounding environment. Exterior materials such as natural or cultured stone, brick, stucco, natural plank or Hardie siding, or most any other exterior material in the construction industry can be used to deliver a desired look and feel. Even roof lines can be developed to the specifications of clients. Roof styles include flat, arched, gabled, hip, shed, and others. Essentially, you can start with a floor plan then design from there. A building can be given most any type of architectural element to blend in seamlessly. From colonial details, to modern lines and colors there is very little that cannot be done to get the wanted look. When incorporated into an existing park or other recreational area a properly designed prefabricated building, after being installed, will look like it was built when the park was built.
Taking the worry out of compliance is one of the most important factors when deciding to use a prefab builder. Prefab restroom facilities builders do one thing and they do it right. When your only business is building restrooms you become experts in the field, that includes compliance. A strict adherence to ADA Compliance is a top priority. Case in point, I was given the opportunity to bid on a 2 restroom building project. Unfortunately the project was not awarded to me, but a few months later I had the opportunity to visit the location. While touring a few park sites with the owner we drove up to the site of the "lost" project. I was then told that that job had been given to a local site-built contractor. The contractor had even been given a set of plans from a prefab builder to use as reference to what the owner wanted. The builder was told that ADA compliance was of the utmost importance, and then he proceeded with the project. The buildings were completed and looked like the prefab design on the outside, but then came the real test. A thorough ADA inspection was completed on the buildings and they failed horribly. Not only did they fail, but the owners repeated calls to the builder went unanswered. It was now up to the owner to find someone else to fix all of the issues. At the end of this conversation he told me he had learned a valuable lesson, and would be going with a prefab builder on future projects. His exact words were, "Next time, I will leave it to the professionals."
In addition to ADA compliance, a prefab builder will also comply with building, energy, health, as well as regional codes. Keep in mind that a prefab builder will deliver buildings across the country, or in some instances outside of the country. One manufacturer even delivered structures to the McMurdo Research Center in the Antarctic. No matter where a building is delivered, it will be built to both federal and that areas specific building code. Transferring that burden over to the manufacturer saves not only hours or days of time researching code, but also the worry of impending inspections.
Installation is a breeze. In most cases, installation of a prefab building is as easy as grading down approximately 10 inches, compacting the soil to 95% compaction, trenching out areas for a supplied underground plumbing kit (yes, the underground plumbing for the building is supplied by the manufacturer), and back filling the trenches after the plumbing kit is installed. About 2 inches of clean sand will then be spread over the pad site. A crane will then lift the building off of the transport truck and onto the site. As the building is carefully lowered onto the pad, its foundation knock outs will line up with the underground plumbing stub ups. The building’s internal plumbing will then be connected to the underground plumbing. All utilities will then be stubbed out about 6 feet from the building in the directions predetermined by the owner. For specific detailed instructions, please contact a prefab restroom facilities manufacturer.
Choosing to use a prefab restroom builder will save time, money, and will lessen the stress involved when building out a park, splash pad, or sportsplex project.