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How many portable toilets do you need per person for your event?

We understand that if you’re planning an event, there are a lot of variables to take into account. One of the most important ones to get right has to be the toilet facilities. We Brits may be famous for our love of a queue, but if your guests are standing around in a queue for a loo, you can be sure they’ll be pretty disgruntled. So, how do you work out the best number of portable toilets for your event?

The first factor to consider is the type of event you’re looking to hire portable toilets for. A wedding reception requires one kind of solution, while a large-scale music festival needs something different. It’s much easier to calculate the number of portable toilets you’ll need for a ticketed or RSVP event, which will give you a good idea of the number of guests attending.

Where guests are allowed to turn up on the day and buy their tickets, attendance numbers can vary massively. In this case, it’s best to err on the safe side and hire enough portable toilets to cover everyone who might attend the event.

Those of us in the events industry can refer to a guidebook published in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive, which we know as the Purple Book. This book has guidance which helps us make recommendations to our customers about how many portable loos they need to hire to keep them safe and above board. Here’s a quick summary of the HSE recommendations for hiring portable toilets for events.

 

Short events without refreshments

If your event is a small, local event like a summer fete, which isn’t going to run for more than six hours, and you’re not going to be serving any sort of food or drink, the recommendation is that you hire one portable loo for every 100 women and another portable toilet for every 500 men as a minimum.

 

Longer events without refreshments

If you are running an event without food or drinks for more than six hours, then you’ll need to hire a few more portable toilets. We recommend that you hire at least one toilet for every 85 female visitors and one portable toilet for every 425 men.

 

Large-scale events with refreshments

If your event is one which is scheduled to last over six hours, and you’ll be serving food and drink, then you’ll definitely be needing more portable toilets. People will be eating and drinking, and looking for facilities to use after that. Because of that, this guidance is that the minimum number of portable toilets you’ll need to provide is one portable toilet for every 75 women and one portable toilet for every 400 men.

 

Events with alcohol

Thanks to the effects of alcohol on the human bladder, alcohol can make a difference to toilet usage. While it’s not written in the purple book, experience tells us that you’ll need to add an extra 20% to the number of toilets you’re ordering.

 

Camping or overnight events

Things are a bit different when it comes to events where your guests will be staying overnight. The toilets will be in use at all hours of the day, but will still require maintenance breaks for emptying and cleaning, which may take some toilets out of action while servicing takes place. You’ll need extra toilets to make up for the temporary shortfall.

Every event is different and has its own requirements, so this advice is provided to you as a guide. We’d recommend having a chat with our friendly event specialists, who can provide more bespoke advice on the best portable toilets for your event, as well as the best way to manage your servicing needs throughout the event.