Facility Design

Users of traditionally designed community toilets usually aim to get in and out of the facility as soon as possible. The idea behind the Sammaan facility designs was to try to create facilities that are designed to enhance the experience of users and facility staff, and to create spaces that can accessed by a larger range of people (children, the elderly, the disabled). More information on the development of these designs is available on the Potty project website.

All Sammaan designs have a few common elements – dedicated bore well, gender segregated entrances, a ‘floating roof’ allowing for proper ventilation, open floorplan allowing space for users to move around, dedicated space for the facility caretaker, and
menstrual waste incinerators installed in the female section.

  • Design categories

Base Layer (BL) – These feature toilet stalls, child potties, urinals in male section, clothes washing spaces, universal access stall, hand and foot wash, spitting trough, caretaker booth and utility room.

Enhanced Layer (EL) – These feature all elements of base layer facilities, with the addition and bathing stalls and shop spaces.

Very Small Two-Seater (VS2WC) – These feature toilet stalls, urinal, hand and foot wash, child potty and caretaker room. These are specially designed to fit on small sites.

Base and Enhanced layer facilities come in a range of sizes, from 2 toilet stalls (one on the male side and one on the female side) to 12 toilet stalls (6 on the male side and 6 on the female side). For facilities that have 8 stalls or more, the designs also feature two rooms on the second floor that can serve as caretaker’s quarters.

  • Insights from implementing designs

Generally, feedback from users, managers and facility staff on these designs has been quite positive. Some of the notable insights from the facility designs are:

Ensuring the basic amenities really matters

When asked what elements of the facility they like, unanimously we heard from users that the 24/7 access to water and electricity is a major plus point. When asked about other facilities they’ve used, the first complaint is always that there is no access
to water or to electricity.

Bathing spaces are a desirable added amenity, and users actively ‘create’ them when bathing spaces don’t
exist

Users of Enhanced Layer facilities appreciate the bathing stalls that are available at these facilities. In Base Layer facilities, users often use the clothes washing spaces for bathing. Women in particular enjoyed being able to bath and wash their clothes
in the same space.

Having access to a menstrual waste incinerator makes a big difference for female users

Women who used to feel ashamed about throwing this waste outside or having to wash their cloth napkins, appreciate having a more private option for disposing this waste.

Ventilation is nice but too much can be a problem

People mostly agree that the open space between the roof and wall provides nice light and airiness. Though this space is high above the ground and secured by a grill, people do voice concerns about safety and that it increases the cleaning burden by allowing
rain and dry leaves to enter the facility.

Outside spaces could be better utilized and should be more secure

The spitting trough and hand/foot wash areas outside the facility were meant to provide sufficient space for queuing and separate incoming and outgoing user traffic. Many communities feel that the outer space is unsafe since it is open, and could have
been converted for other uses – like urination stalls. Some communities have constructed a grill to secure the area, or have removed most of the taps to minimize problems.

The space trade-off is most ‘costly’ for very small and very large facilities

Due to their unique design, Sammaan facilities need more square footage per seat. In most cases, this extra space is appreciated by managers and users. The exception is for VS2WC, BL 2 and EL 12 designs. Communities where the smallest typologies were built feel that the area could have been used better to build more pans or have one bathing space. Communities where the EL 12 facilities were built feel like the toilet took up too much space in their community, and facility staff and managers feel that the space is too large to clean and monitoring, and expensive to operate.


  • Resources

Check out our resources to see more details about the facility designs, including architectural designs for each typology, and to see more detailed feedback from our stakeholders. We’ve also included suggested design modifications based on our experience.

Amenities by typology

Architectural designs

Design feedback from contractors, managers and users

Suggested modifications to designs