Reflection

Reflection

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pump the Brakes

I am sure all of us have been involved with a decision making process where one small aspect of it becomes much larger than it really should be for those calling the shots.  I was finally able to bring one such issue to conclusion after nearly a year.

We have been proponents of installing in-counter soap pumps at bathroom vanities in our retirement work for years.  This prevents the companies who sell the facilities soap from gluing an ugly pump to the wall on our previously well thought out bathrooms.  On more than one occasion, this pump was actually stuck on the mirror's reflective surface.  It can really make an otherwise nicely appointed bathroom look more like a gas station rest stop. Or make a bad bathroom even worse.

If you can look past all the other stuff here, there is a soap dispenser ON the mirror. 
There was no reason to stick the soap on the mirror here.  But they did.

On a recent project, one of the staff members saw the pump to be installed and had concerns about infectious control as the pump had to be pushed down with one's hand to get the soap.  That's fine: so they wanted an automatic soap pump.  This is pretty expensive considering we were talking about 200 bathrooms all told.  And the cost is not necessarily only in the pump itself.  Soap companies make replacement soap bottles for fairly inexpensive hardware, but the soap itself can run thirty to fifty dollars a pop.  Again, the multiplication factor is 200 and this cost would be in perpetuity.

In an effort to keep these material costs down, I suggested that they talk to their current suppliers to see what they might have to offer, rather than going to a new supplier.  This didn’t seem to go anywhere, so we did quite a bit of internet research because we don't typically specify proprietary soap pumps.  So we sent some possibilities to the Owner and suggested that if they wanted to pursue one to purchase it to test it out.  I don't believe this went anywhere either. 

Same project if you can believe it.  Note the innocuous soap pump to the left of the sink. 


So nearly a year after we specified the simple unit that could be refilled by buying any bulk soap the Owner desired, word came that the unit, which had been on site for months,  would work just fine.  Considering all the extra time an effort we had put into helping them select an alternative, I was more than happy to wash my hands of the entire matter.

6 comments:

  1. Nice article - I can relate.
    Door access control is one that always seems to spiral out of control on the jobs I work on.

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    1. Yes - doors! Constantly adding/changing access even after the drywall is up. Thanks!

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  2. Also - not as friendly looking, but we recently spec'd an "Advocate" sink model by Bradley which features and all in one soap/wash/dry basin, reducing water dripping from hands as people find the dryer or paper towel dispense. (I don't work for Bradley, I just think it's a good solution in some applications where slippery floors would be a problem.)

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    1. Kind of like an airplane lavatory. Good solution for public toilets, but not sure I would want that in my long term living situation, as this was.

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  3. Some of the more recent projects that I've seen and worked on is that they don't want to specify a soap pump. They'll just go to the Walmart and buy a bottle of hand soap sit it on the counter top just like you would at home.

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    1. We like that in residential settings too. But the department of health isn't always keen on that in skilled nursing. Thanks!

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