Pieces of the Puzzle: Architectural Choices—Casino Bathrooms

Editor’s Note: CEM continues its new series of articles in place of our past Architecture, Construction & Design Update, profiling one particular feature that goes into the building and construction of a new casino. Following our first article on casino entrance doors, we now explore the components that go into casino bathrooms, particularly the innovation of pre-built, modular bathrooms. On the following pages, you’ll find out which vendors provide this particular feature, as well as notable architects’ opinions of them. So if you’re looking to update your bathrooms—whether in individual guest rooms or lobbies—or just want to see what your options are for a future project, we’re here to help. Just read on.

Choctaw Casino, copyright 2010 Darius Kuzmickas
When it comes down to business, the bathroom should be one of the most comfortable rooms on your property. Your guests will remember whether the bathrooms were spotless and stylish, or dirty and drab. The bathroom is part of the overall casino experience and just as important as the lobby, gaming floor, nightclub or spa. So this is one area you don’t want to overlook in planning.

“Patron-use bathrooms are critical features of function and customer satisfaction in casinos and resorts,” says Jocy Teske, CID, IIDA and LEED AP, interior design principal at Walsh Bishop Associates Inc. “Convenient access to well-appointed restrooms enhances the patron’s experience of the facility, leading to a longer stay at the casino.”

LeKathryn Champine, senior interior designer at WorthGroup Architects, agrees bathroom quality contributes to a guest’s experience. “Guest room bathrooms have become key in the guest’s perception of the quality of the room,” she says. “Sophisticated and not-so-sophisticated travelers expect a more spacious bathroom with more fixtures and higher-end amenities than ever before.”

It may be one of the smallest rooms on your property, but building or remodeling a bathroom is a big undertaking. “Bathrooms and restrooms tend to be some of the most time-consuming and expensive space within any type of building project,” says Patrick Gardner, AIA, vice president at WorthGroup Architects. Decisions must be made on bathroom fixtures, toilet-area set-up and wall, floor and ceiling décor. Not to mention the number of people that will need to navigate the small space when it comes time for installations.
copyright 2010 Darius Kuzmickas

The process begins months before the bathroom is ready for patron use, Teske says, and several people are involved. “Initial planning with the casino determines expectations of quality of materials and type of space required. The architect and interior designer must provide a plan and design for the restroom facility that meets all local codes, the accessibility guidelines, and storage requirements which complements the casino’s brand and aesthetic. Coordination with the mechanical and electrical engineers for heating, venting, cooling, plumbing, and lighting requirements is required as well as the selection of finish materials.”

Champine warns about the woes of bathroom tiling. “Installation of tile can often be challenging,” she says. “The majority of tiles used today do not have trim pieces available, which can lead to some nasty edge details.”

Gardner agrees, adding: “The greatest degree of difficulty lies in the craftsmanship involved in creating intricate tile patterns, the installation of complicated plumbing fixtures and such. Tile installation requires a great deal of careful planning, unless the designers have created detailed drawings illustrating the process of install.”

To make your own casino bathrooms memorable requires creativity—and talented architects and contractors. “Public restrooms, especially in restaurants and bars, have actually become entertainment and visual stimulation,” Champine explains. “Whether it is unisex stalls around a common vanity set-up, glass stalls that fog when you close the door, or urinals that look like Marilyn’s pouty mouth, the guests are always looking for something new and different.”

But that “new and different” should never compromise quality. “Bathroom products require the careful consideration of several factors,” Teske says. “Appearance, style and color options are important as well as quality of material, the product warranty, viability and longevity of the manufacturer, and the commitment the company has in supporting their products.”

Teske says quality workmanship, quality materials and eye-catching design make casino bathrooms stand out. “Proper planning for bathroom placement and sizing, well-performing material and lighting systems, and discreet yet well-oriented signage provide the means to set the casino bathroom experience apart from others,” she says.

But as mentioned before, creating that unique experience can take a good amount of time and money. Providing a solution to the problems associated with construction of a casino bathroom came the advent of modular, pre-built bathrooms. One unit, assembled off-site, has all the typical bathroom components that can be “plugged” into the bathroom space on your property. You could think of it as a very upscale, 5-star port-a-john built into your building.

But our architects caution it doesn’t completely take away all the hassle, and there are several considerations to keep in mind. “The modular or pre-built bathroom has been typically provided in the hotel guest bathrooms where standard dimensions and expectations are repeated many times over,” Teske comments. “The modular product requires the same mechanical, electrical and architectural work. Coordination of trades is still required between electrical, mechanical and plumbing contractors. There are potential labor cost reductions for some of these trades installing the modular products in the hotel guest bathroom projects.”

Gardner reminds that the modular solution is a relatively new thought process, and mostly targets the high rise hotel and apartment market. And Teske contends that it can be more difficult to provide modular solutions in casino restrooms due to a variety of considerations each facility has, including codes, size of building, location of existing plumbing or mechanical systems, and the unique nature of the casino’s aesthetic.

So whether you decide to go the traditional route, or utilize a modular unit, is up to you. But if modular units appeal to you, check out the next three pages to see a sample of vendors revolutionizing hotel/resort bathrooms.

Eggrock Inc.
Distributed and Installed by KHS&S Contractors
Eggrock Inc., founded in 2004, is the leading manufacturer of factory-built bathrooms in North America, and the company believes that better construction doesn’t have to be more expensive. To date, the company has installed more than 3,700 factory-built bathrooms across North America. In May 2010, KHS&S Contractors became the exclusive distributor and installer for Eggrock’s factory-built bathrooms.

And these companies are out to prove that modular bathroom units can still be top-notch quality.

“Visitors place a high priority on the quality of a property’s bathrooms when making their resort hotel selection,” says Jeff Barrett, founder, president and CEO of Eggrock. “They want both significant aesthetic appeal and high levels of quality and cleanliness.”

Eggrock’s products are built on creating ease for the customer, eliminating many of the concerns associated with bathroom construction. “Even a typical hotel bathroom requires eight trades and nearly 60 separate trips to each bathroom in order to complete construction,” Barrett notes. “Schedule delays, quality problems and costly rework can ruin a project’s budget.”

John Platon, senior vice president, KHS&S
That’s where Eggrock and KHS&S step in. They offer the gaming industry turnkey, fully customized bathrooms built in a controlled factory environment and delivered to the job site, ready for professional installation. “Using 3-D computer modeling, Eggrock’s design process assures that hundreds of components to a bathroom are integrated to fit perfectly into a project,” explains John Platon, senior vice president of KHS&S.

“Additionally, the company’s precision manufacturing and rigorous pre-delivery inspection process eliminate the on-site bathroom punch list, shaving up to two to three months off the construction schedule.” This, he says, gets “heads on beds” faster.

One big plus to Eggrock’s products: You can be confident in the reputable team at KHS&S to install the bathroom units, making it one less coordination issue for the general contractor to worry about.

Jeff Barrett, founder, president and CEO, Eggrock
And factory-built bathrooms can be customized to fit nearly every project design and décor. Barrett says: “Everything from the design, size, fixtures, mirrors, lighting and accessories can be customized based on project need. In fact, Eggrock recently partnered with a global tile manufacturer and distributor to develop a customized bathroom that showcased its signature tile and bathroom fixture products, creating a branded bathroom interior. The customizing options are endless.” While bathrooms can be manufactured in any size, staying within recommended parameters ensures shipping costs are manageable.

Eggrock’s factory-built bathrooms are built to last and include steel frame engineering, steel blocking for shower heads, tubs spouts and wall-mounted accessories, integrated, pre-tested and code-compliant plumbing and electric, and waterproof, thin-profile subflooring to support any floor finish, while also providing a seamless transition to the adjoining floor and does not require a depression.

And if your property is looking to go green, Eggrock bathrooms also contribute to earning LEED credits.

The company’s doors come backed by a lifetime warranty.

KHS&S At a Glance
Company headquarters: Anaheim, Calif.
Number of employees: 1,175
Years in business: 25
Solutions offered: Full range of services including preconstruction, BIM, interiors, exteriors, themed construction, construction specialties, rockwork, water features and more
For sales info: Contact Ken Bock, vice president of business development
Website: www.khss.com

Eggrock Inc. At a Glance
Company headquarters: Littleton, Mass.
Number of employees: 75
Years in business: 6
Solutions offered: Factory-built bathrooms for resorts, hospitals, student and military housing
Specialty: Bringing together technology, lean manufacturing principles and construction
For sales info: Contact William “Bill” Seery, vice president of business development
Website: www.eggrock.com

Neopod Systems

Neopod Systems may be a relatively new company, but that does not mean their products and staff haven’t been tested through years of proven experience. Together, the company’s team has more than 70 years in construction, plumbing and development. Juan Bermudez, president of Neopod Systems, says, “We have researched the best practices throughout Europe and the United States, studied the requirements of our clients and assembled a highly-skilled team to build the next evolution of pre-manufactured bathroom and kitchen units in the market.”

Seeing a lack of skilled labor, financial pressures and increasing quality expectations, Neopod Systems is there to provide a canvas for bathroom—and kitchen—pods. “Bathrooms continue to be a focal point for the guest experience,” Bermudez says. “Guests expect everything to work and be of utmost quality. New multi jet showers, LCD TVs in mirrors and exotic materials are just a sampling of what guests expect during their stay.”

Responding to guests’ expectations, Neopod Systems will also build to the exact requirements of the designer or architect. “We work closely with the design team in order to optimize the overall design and truly take advantage of what pods can offer,” Bermudez explains. “Things like sharing a wall between the bathroom and kitchenette can save materials such as piping and electrical and can easily be built in a factory environment.”

The solutions are impressive. Bermudez boasts a defect-free bathroom that conforms to your original design, right down to the last grout line. “We provide them with an opportunity to have the highest quality finishes in the shortest amount of time, resulting in reduced costs and increased profits,” he says.

Another benefit you’ll reap going with Neopod Systems is its strategic alliances, which can be brought into your project if needed. Their relationships bring a team of experts together that have worked closely with the company and are familiar with its products, making the process an even bigger success.

And you can be sure your pod will fit your needs every step of the way. Neopod Systems will build a full-size mockup of the unit prior to mass production so that the developer, owner, architect—essentially everyone involved—can evaluate and make any desired changes.

Juan Bermudez
The last thing Bermudez wants to share is that: “Neopod Systems will help you make your project a bigger success by cutting down the time of total construction, improving the quality of the product and ultimately reducing costs and increasing profits. We will not only provide with the best finished bathroom product, but we will take a look at your complete project and optimize it for the use of pods.”

Neopod Systems At a Glance
Company headquarters: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Number of employees: 5
Years in business: 1
Solutions offered: Custom-made, pre-built modular bathroom and kitchen pods
Specialty: Hospitality, student and military housing and health care markets
For sales info: Contact Juan Bermudez or Anthony Dwyer at 954-603-3100, jbermudez[at]neopodsystems.com or adwyer[at]neopodsystems.com
Website: www.neopodsystems.com

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