Friday, August 17, 2012

Warm toilet seats at the Centro Forum, Camden

I have a  memory of reading 'Boy', by Roald Dahl and there being a practise in in the posh boarding school he went to of the younger boys being forced to sit on the toilet seats to warm them up for the old boys. Well that's not needed here at the Centro Forum, part of the Centro Buldings group in Camden.

I really like the company I'm working for at the moment. The people are great and the work is interesting, even if it is AS2 (in 2012, I know!). However the office building is nothing short of a disgrace. Five floors with one incredibly slow lift that break down with worrying frequency. Four of those floors are occupied by tech companies, including the one I'm working for now. There are four toilets, 2 for the men, 2 for the very few women (fun fact, the room I'm in has about 40 mens and no women. tech companies, ya know), with 2 cubicles in each men's plus urinals.

The toilets have always been fairly inadequate and squalid, and it was a frequent occurrence to have to wait in the dingy, cramp toilets for a cubicle to become free. This became even worse earlier this year as there were a string of plumbing problems, leading to overflows, blocked and overflowing toilets and more queues.

I'm guessing, largely due to this the management started on refurbishing the toilets at the beginning of July. They closed one of the mens and one of the womens and began ripping them up, leaving only one toilet apiece for each sex. Cue queues.

Cue waiting outside the cubicle in July heat for someone to finish because you know that coming back later is pointless and it will be exactly the same. Cue coming in to sweaty, warm toilet seats and bundles of hand towels overspilling the bin because of the sheer amount of people using a toilet meant for a fraction usage. You even had people talking about going to the gym or  a restaurant at lunch because they need a shit.

This was supposed to last two week, then they would start on the other toilets. Instead it took them over a month.

They opened the new toilets at the start of August, and yes, they're much nicer. Dyson airblade dryer (there's something very amusing about watching people who don't know how to use these try to try their hands), huge extractor fans and a lighter decor. Yes, they did have a leak that closed them for a day almost immediately but that just seemed par for the course.

We're all now praying there won't be further breakdowns because they've close the other set of toilets to redo them. The new ones are being used almost continuously and there permanently someone stationed out the cubicles waiting to get in. The new toilet is more pleasant as a place to stand a read the web on your mobile while you wait but I don't think this is how it's meant to be.

The sad thing is that even when the other toilet is finished, and even if they've fixed the plumbing issue, the toilets will still be sadly inadequate for the numbers who work here, and the lift will need replacing at some point. this building just isn't fit for purpose.

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