Converting an existing recessed cabinet to a more efficient system is getting easier.

“There’s no 100 percent solution, but most of the time you can remove the door and pop in a roll-towel dispenser that’s designed to fit inside an existing recessed cabinet,” says Corcos. “It’s very easy in most cases.”

There are instances where it’s more difficult and costly to switch dispensing systems. If there is decorative tile around the recessed cabinet, for example, it may be in the property’s best interest to leave the existing cabinet intact and install additional dispensers or hand dryers to alleviate stress on existing units. This works best in restrooms with larger footprints.

Densification causes the greatest strain in older buildings with restrooms designed at a time when more space was allocated per employee. But that doesn’t mean new construction is exempt. Too often, facility managers discover after a building is complete that the architects didn’t outfit the restrooms with enough dispensers, or the right type of dispensers, to handle the traffic.

“The architect or interior designer is concerned with the aesthetics of the washroom, but performance is a secondary thought,” says Corcos. “They deliver a very elegant paper towel solution, but it doesn’t meet the capacity needs of the washroom. Within months, the distributor is helping upgrade the washrooms to higher-capacity dispensing systems.”

In fact, there are many attractive options available on the market today, says Butler.

“When you think about high-capacity, what comes to the mind of many architects is a big, bulky box that protrudes far from the wall,” says Butler. “But there are sleek, slim, stainless-steel options that meet the image and experience that tenants expect.”

Distributors should educate property owners and managers about these models, and also remind them to ask their architects whether they are including high-capacity dispensers in their designs. By taking this more proactive approach, distributors may help reduce the number of restroom remodels happening in new construction. 

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.

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