Lady visiting her Bank and needed to use the restroom but was denied access- CA Plumbing Code

A citizen asked her local bank if she could use their restroom while visiting the bank. She was denied access to the restrooms and was informed that it was not available for the public.

This citizen maintains that the California Plumbing Code (CPC) requires customer access to restrooms (true for B and M occupancies) per Section 412.5.

Some jurisdictions maintain that only restaurant customers are provided privilege of access to the restrooms, and for other occupancies- it was simply a courtesy extended by the established or business.

In examining the 2010 CPC Matrix Table for Chapter 4, it's not clear what state agency has authority for adopting provisions for B and M occupancies. The SFM has jurisdiction over life safety provisions, but they do not adopt any plumbing sections on the matrix. HCD1 & HCD2 both specifically exempt Section 412.5, however, this would not apply to B and M occupancies.

Did the bank have an obligation to extend restroom privileges to the public (customers)? What codes and regulations would apply (if any)?

Any insight is appreciated.
Original Post
Regarding the customer restrooms, there are differing opinions as to whether or not the customer use of the restrooms is actually required in a bank. However, it appears that the intent of the code is to require the facilities be available to the public. See below from the website: http://americanrestroom.org/code/index.htm (If a different or updated request for clarification is required, IAPMO provides these services at http://www.iapmo.org/Pages/AskACodeQuestion.aspx)

Request for UPC Clarification
This is in response to your request for clarification on the Uniform Plumbing Code regarding facilities in mercantile/business occupancies, etc. The question(s) considered was (were):

Is it the intent of the 2003 UPC to require a toilet facility for customers, patrons, and visitors of all mercantile and business establishments?

The 2004 UPC Answers & Analysis Committee answered Item UPC #04-19 as follows:

Yes. The general provisions of Section 413.0 and Table 4-1 have requirements for employee use and public use in a number of occupancies including assembly, institutional, and office or public buildings.

Considering this issue were Chairman, John J. Roth, City of Houston, TX; Bob Adler, City of San Jose, CA; J. Trini Mendoza, County of Ventura, CA; Bruce Pfeiffer, City of Topeka, KS; Ed Schoenfeld, City of Salt Lake City, UT; G.F. ³Jed² Scheuermann, City of Portland, OR; and K. Anthony Wilcockson, City of Walnut Creek, CA. Thank you for your patience and interest in clarifying this matter.

Sincerely,
John J. Roth
Chairman, UPC Answers & Analysis Committee
--
By:
Johnni Brown
Answers & Analysis Committee Staff Liaison
IAPMO World Headquarters
5001 E Philadelphia Street
Ontario CA 91764-2816 USA
Telephone: (909) 472-4109
Facsimile: (909) 472-4157
Web Address: <http://www.iapmo.org>


Hope this helps!
POO Taboo': The Difficulty of Discussing Public Restrooms
By Scott James |September 2, 2011
The Bay Citizen
http://www.baycitizen.org/blog...fficulty-discussing/

It’s the most basic of human needs — going to the bathroom — but it’s a subject few people are comfortable talking about.

“There’s this poo taboo that we have,” said Brent Bucknum of Oakland’s Hyphae Design Laboratory. Bucknum, a green designer who helped with the grass domed roof of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, is working on an innovative new idea for reinventing the public restroom in San Francisco. The new toilets would be eco-friendly, artsy and located in parking spaces, much like the city’s famous “parklets.” Because of this, the proposed restrooms have been nicknamed “pooplets.”

Details about the pooplets plan — and the public health crisis that’s motivating Bucknum and others to take action — are the subject of my latest column. San Francisco could soon be No. 1 when it comes to dealing with number two.

Right now it’s tough to find a public restroom in the city. Many business owners have restricted access to bathrooms because they don’t want to deal with any mess left behind by transients. Some operators of shuttered bathrooms in government buildings worry restrooms could be used by terrorists to launch attacks.

Whatever the reason, it’s hostile out there if you’ve got to go. Dr. Kathleen Edmunds and her family, including three small children, just relocated to the city from Los Angeles. Even for a toddler in potty training, a request to use the restroom is almost always met with an abrupt no by local businesses.

“We’ve had a few close calls,” Edmunds said.

State law, specifically the California Plumbing Code, seems to indicate that buildings must have public restrooms.

“The codes were written so that when people are away from home they have access to proper sanitation facilities,” said Robert Brubaker of the American Restroom Association, an advocacy group for public bathroom access. “It’s a public health issue.”

But there’s some debate about whether the code is always enforceable, especially with older buildings.

One thing is clear: Practically no one speaks up publicly about the lack of public restrooms. City agencies, including the health department, say they receive few, if any, complaints when people are denied access to bathrooms.

Sure, people will tell you privately about the problem. But file an official complaint? Who wants to have their name associated with that? It’s embarrassing.

One person who is working to solve San Francisco’s restroom dearth said she had been chided for trying to tackle the issue — as if it were degrading to the community to engage in such a discussion.

Let’s face it: We’ve created barriers in our language to talking about this. The most common words in use are too vulgar to be printed in newspapers, and the euphemisms sound so silly they undermine the seriousness of the problem. (Or as one editor described an early draft of my column: “sophomoric.”)

“We’ve completely disconnected ourselves from it,” said Bucknum, who seemed quite comfortable talking in detail about the need to deal with human waste, as both a health and environmental issue.

He said that as the world’s population grows, and there’s an increased need for food, there will be intense pressure to figure out how to replenish the soil with nutrients. In 50 to 100 years, Bucknum predicts, this will be a huge environmental concern.

The San Francisco pooplet restroom concept (which involves composting, not flushing) is designed to eventually cull some of those needed nutrients from human waste.

That’s an idea worthy of discussion. But to get there, people have to be comfortable with having the conversation. Perhaps the best way to start is to come up with a better name for these eco-toilets than pooplets

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/13ajS)

It’s the most basic of human needs — going to the bathroom — but it’s a subject few people are comfortable talking about.

“There’s this poo taboo that we have,” said Brent Bucknum of Oakland’s Hyphae Design Laboratory. Bucknum, a green designer who helped with the grass domed roof of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, is working on an innovative new idea for reinventing the public restroom in San Francisco. The new toilets would be eco-friendly, artsy and located in parking spaces, much like the city’s famous “parklets.” Because of this, the proposed restrooms have been nicknamed “pooplets.”

Details about the pooplets plan — and the public health crisis that’s motivating Bucknum and others to take action — are the subject of my latest column. San Francisco could soon be No. 1 when it comes to dealing with number two.

Right now it’s tough to find a public restroom in the city. Many business owners have restricted access to bathrooms because they don’t want to deal with any mess left behind by transients. Some operators of shuttered bathrooms in government buildings worry restrooms could be used by terrorists to launch attacks.

Whatever the reason, it’s hostile out there if you’ve got to go. Dr. Kathleen Edmunds and her family, including three small children, just relocated to the city from Los Angeles. Even for a toddler in potty training, a request to use the restroom is almost always met with an abrupt no by local businesses.

“We’ve had a few close calls,” Edmunds said.

State law, specifically the California Plumbing Code, seems to indicate that buildings must have public restrooms.

“The codes were written so that when people are away from home they have access to proper sanitation facilities,” said Robert Brubaker of the American Restroom Association, an advocacy group for public bathroom access. “It’s a public health issue.”

But there’s some debate about whether the code is always enforceable, especially with older buildings.

One thing is clear: Practically no one speaks up publicly about the lack of public restrooms. City agencies, including the health department, say they receive few, if any, complaints when people are denied access to bathrooms.

Sure, people will tell you privately about the problem. But file an official complaint? Who wants to have their name associated with that? It’s embarrassing.

One person who is working to solve San Francisco’s restroom dearth said she had been chided for trying to tackle the issue — as if it were degrading to the community to engage in such a discussion.

Let’s face it: We’ve created barriers in our language to talking about this. The most common words in use are too vulgar to be printed in newspapers, and the euphemisms sound so silly they undermine the seriousness of the problem. (Or as one editor described an early draft of my column: “sophomoric.”)

“We’ve completely disconnected ourselves from it,” said Bucknum, who seemed quite comfortable talking in detail about the need to deal with human waste, as both a health and environmental issue.

He said that as the world’s population grows, and there’s an increased need for food, there will be intense pressure to figure out how to replenish the soil with nutrients. In 50 to 100 years, Bucknum predicts, this will be a huge environmental concern.

The San Francisco pooplet restroom concept (which involves composting, not flushing) is designed to eventually cull some of those needed nutrients from human waste.

That’s an idea worthy of discussion. But to get there, people have to be comfortable with having the conversation. Perhaps the best way to start is to come up with a better name for these eco-toilets than pooplets.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/13ajS)

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