Well-designed and well-protected: vandal-proof SCHELL fittings

4-minute read

Random acts of vandalism in sanitary facilities are a huge problem, both for users and facility managers. The facilities have to be taken out of service temporarily and often need expensive repairs. All of which makes it worthwhile to look for options to prevent vandalism in the first place. Certain kinds of fittings make it less likely that they will be damaged by these kinds of opportunistic vandals. And the SCHELL portfolio offers many such fittings.

So what is vandalism, anyway?

The term is used to describe deliberate yet ‘random’ acts of damage or destruction carried out on private or public property. Public or semi-public buildings such as railway stations, sports venues or stadiums, swimming baths and schools are all regular targets for this kind of activity. Often, the damage is caused to the publicly accessible parts of sanitary facilities.

How can vandalism be prevented?

In many cases, it’s simply sufficient to ensure that any would-be vandal doesn’t have many objects or structures to work with. Less obviously, an appealing design is also advantageous, since the likelihood that a sanitary facility will suffer damage is directly related to whether or not it looks well-cared for or neglected. With their functional yet timeless design, SCHELL fittings create a modern, inviting ambience – making it less likely that vandalism will occur.

What is a ‘vandal-proof’ fitting?

There is no precise definition as such. In Germany, however, the VDI has published guidelines for these kinds of solutions. The guidance in the following documents recommends that buyers choose sanitary equipment that makes vandalism less likely:

  • VDI 6004 (‘Protecting technical building systems – vandalism and destruction’)
  • VDI 3818 (‘Public toilets and washrooms’)
  • VDI 6000 (‘Sanitary facilities: fixtures and fittings’)

What should I look for when picking a vandal-proof fitting?

  • High-quality and high-strength materials should be chosen (e.g. brass, stainless steel, aluminium), which offer ruggedness, stability and therefore durability
  • Avoid fittings with unnecessary ‘targets’ (e.g. handles on fittings, lever mixers, accessible WC or urinal flush valves)
  • Invisible controls and/or concealed installation
  • Not essential but very useful: a high-quality design

When selecting fittings, attention should be paid to quality and materials in particular. So installing fittings, shower panels or operating panels made from robust, chrome-finished brass, stainless steel or aluminium in public sanitary facilities is literally half the battle. As a finishing touch, contactless systems and concealed elements come highly recommended. In the words of Dr Oliver Fontaine, Head of Project Management at SCHELL: “If you can’t grab hold of it, you can’t rip it off, either.” Fontaine also has the following advice: “However, you should remember that nothing is truly 100 percent vandal-proof – no matter how well-engineered your fittings, shower panels or operating panels might be. Anyone who is really looking for trouble and has maybe brought a couple of tools along will simply see everything as a challenge. At the end of the day, we as manufacturers need to minimise this risk by using the right materials combined with the right designs.”

Does the SCHELL portfolio also offer vandal-proof fittings?

Naturally! SCHELL fittings, operating panels and other types of panels have been specifically designed for use in the (semi-)public and commercial sector, and are therefore durable, high-quality and hygienic. Their appealing design also makes these fittings an excellent choice for protection against potential vandalism. With their robust quality and long service life, these fittings also apply the increasingly important principle of sustainability. And if a spare part should ever be needed, these can still be ordered decades after your purchase.

Which SCHELL products are perfect for areas where vandalism might occur?

In these cases, SCHELL’s minimalist, compact wash basin taps from the CELIS E and PURIS E ranges are ideal: these robust, electronic fittings offer contactless operation to combine excellent user comfort with protection against damage. When it comes to urinals, the COMPACT LC urinal control is a great choice: the flush valve, control electronics and power supply are all installed invisibly. Almost all components are located behind the ceramics. The power supply, which is located above the urinal, is protected by a heavy-duty stainless steel front panel. For WCs, SCHELL also offers rugged solutions such as the WC MONTUS FIELD flush panel, with its robust, high-strength, all-metal design. The SCHELL LINUS concealed shower fitting is a great candidate for shower cubicles. The technical base system here is made up of two components – the masterbox (where the fitting is pre-assembled at the factory) and the prefab set (a front panel with corresponding controls). As an in-wall solution, the master box is well-protected. The LINUS front panels are available in a choice of brass with a chromed finish or, with LINUS Basic, in stainless steel, with only the controls here being made from chromed brass. Thanks to these robust materials, their minimal installation depth and slightly rounded outer contours, the LINUS front panels are generally very resistant to vandalism.

So I’d be well protected if I chose SCHELL products?

Absolutely. Products from SCHELL meet all of the requirements for high-quality materials and have long been synonymous with sophisticated yet functional design. Thanks to their smart electronics, many SCHELL fittings offer contactless operation. This means that they fit the bill for vandal-proof fittings and make it far less likely that sanitary facilities equipped with these products will suffer any random acts of violence.