Consideration of Equipment for a New Build

Whether you’re building a care home or a hospital, getting your sluice/dirty utility/pan room right is crucial. Not just from a layout point of view but where it sits within the building too.

Position it in the wrong place and have too few in your facility and you’re forcing clinicians or carers to walk too far carrying infectious material which significantly increases the chances of infecting others.

Not to mention the inevitable wasted time and frustration experienced by the clinician or carer as they’re forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their day walking between wards or rooms and the sluice/dirty utility/pan room.

This also represents an unavoidable cost and loss of productivity.

But location is only one part of designing an effective, reliable and sanitary sluice/dirty utility/pan room.

Of course layout is a consideration as, should you get it wrong, you’re creating an environment that becomes a breeding ground for harmful microbes instead of a bulwark against them.

But the considerations go further still.

Recognising that there is more than one solution and that not all solutions are the right fit for your facility is really important.

There are of course standard fittings and fixtures needed for a sluice/dirty utility/pan room to function: foot opening bins, smooth sealed flooring, a dirty sink, a disposal hopper, work surface and a hands free hand wash sink to name just a few.

However, this is all standard and the big decision is around the right infection control solution that meets your requirements, usage levels and budget.

So when fitting out your sluice/dirty utility/pan room for the first time you need to ask the following questions:

Who is your new build for? 

Both need adequate provision but the technology you deploy and in what concentrations will be different. Either way there should be an accommodation to allow for a worst scare scenario, that give your teams the flexibility to react to a major outbreak without putting them or the infection control solution under strain.

Depending on whether or not you are catering for patients or residents, the potential risks are different. People in hospital are more likely to have an infectious disease which could potentially spread but elderly residents in a care setting are more vulnerable to an outbreak due to a weaker immune system.

How much use will it get?   

Being pragmatic about the number of sluice/dirty utility/pan rooms you need prevents potentially life threatening problems further down the road. After all this really isn’t a part of the build you want to cut corners or cut costs.

Particularly high traffic/high demand areas or wards may require more than one machine or, in particularly large facilities, more than one sluice room in that wing, area or ward.

Directly related to who will be serviced by the sluice/dirty utility/pan room solution, the frequency with which the solution will get used will dictate not only the kind of solution that’s right for you but also the size of the machine.

However the ‘ticket price’ is just part of the equation as what use is a cheap infection control solution if it isn’t fit for purpose or constantly fails. Investing in a robust solution, backed by a reliable maintenance contract gives you better value because the machines last longer and fail less.

Cost is always a consideration for any build. Whether it’s a care home or a hospital the investment is considerable but budgets are tight so making sure you choose the right solution is important.

The right solution for me

Although there will often be a preference between one solution or another, it’s important to consider needs versus wants as well as long term value.

Performance, capacity, disposal cycle, energy and water efficiency as well as overall life expectancy all need to be factored into the decision making process, not to mention maintaining the solution.

Machines that aren’t regularly maintained by a qualified engineer last, on average, 3 years less than a machine with a Planned Preventative Maintenance contract supporting it.

Considering hospitals and care homes tend to be around for decades, getting 3 years additional use out of each machine you have invested in represents a major saving.


DDC Dolphin provides a specialist sluice/dirty utility/pan room service and can work with you or your developers to tailor the perfect infection control solution to meet your requirements.

Contact us today to speak to one of the team or view our sluice room page for more information.