Going Beyond "Potty Parity" in Chicago

Along with a host of changes now being adopted by the city of Chicago's plumbing code, the number of toilets in newly constructed or substantially retrofitted large venues has essentially doubled.

05/16/2001


Along with a host of changes now being adopted by the city of Chicago's plumbing code, the number of toilets in newly constructed or substantially retrofitted large venues has essentially doubled.

"It's about time," says Kenneth Wentink, P.E., Cosentini Associates Inc., Chicago. "The 'potty parity' discussion has been going on a long time. It's nice to see that Chicago is jumping ahead."

Armed with the new code, engineers can now be part of the solution to the perennial long lines at ladies' rooms that are always found at stadiums, ballparks and theaters.

For example, according to Chicago's code, the numbers of required commodes at a 3,000-seat indoor theater have increased from 11 to 37 for women, and from 10 to 18 for men. At a 60,000-seat outdoor stadium the changes are even more significant: 66 to 410 toilets for women, and 66 to 205 for men.

"The plumbing code hasn't been rewritten since 1951, and it reflected very old building practices," explains Kristen Cabanban, spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Buildings. "This is our opportunity to bring the codes into the 21st century."

Cabanban also notes that the potty parity changes have attracted lots of national and media attention.

Wentink, who is also vice president of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers' research foundation, predicts that all this publicity may lead to similar changes in the national codes.

In addition to the new toilet requirements, John Bukalski, P.E., Environmental Systems Design, Chicago, points out a number of other Chicago plumbing code changes, including:

  • Floor drains are required in public toilet rooms.

  • Water pressure can be 100 psi in high-rise buildings.

  • Grease traps are no longer required at pantry sinks.





Product of the Year
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
40 Under Forty: Get Recognized
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
MEP Giants Program
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
August 2018
MEP Giants, lighting designs, circuit protection, ventilation systems, and more
July 2018
Integrating electrical and HVAC systems, emerging trends in fire, life safety, ASHRAE 90.4
June 2018
Chilled-water system design, NFPA 99, Grounded power supply systems
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
click me