Designing a commercial laundry isn’t rocket science, but it does require a thorough knowledge of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering together with local administrative and building codes (see The Role of Engineers,Codesbelow).
In its Code Notes for Retail Laundry Facilities, the New York City’s (NYC) Department of Buildings reports that retail laundries generally have anything from 1,500 to 6,000 square feet of floor space. Of course, smaller businesses may operate with only a fraction of this floor space, but whatever space there is available, the layout will make or break the business. Whatever the size, traffic flow is vital.
Generally, high-capacity washing machines should be located together against a wall, and dryers should be located along another wall. Top-loading washers could be located in the center of the space as long as they back up to a bulkhead housing water lines. In all instances, there must be at least 500 mm behind machines for service access.
Work tables for customers to sort their laundry should be accessible but not in the same space as washers and driers. This work area should also be divided into clean and “dirty” spaces so there is no possible contamination of clean items. Generally, one-third of the so-called workspace can be used for dirty clothing and linen and the rest for items that have been washed, dried, and possibly ironed. Ideally, customers bringing dirty items into a laundry should enter through one door and those talking clean items out should leave via a different door.
Ironing boards, irons, and automatic ironers should also be in their own dedicated space.
If it is a self-service facility, coin-operated machines for instances, there should also be a seating area for customers to wait in comfort for their laundry to wash and dry. This is also the ideal place to locate bill changers, detergent vending machines, snack machines and so on. While it is rarely possible to design a commercial laundry without artificial lighting, natural lighting adds a sense of comfort and improves the working environment. So, if possible, large unobscured windows might be included in the design.