Italian showers are now compulsory

On 1 January, a French legislative provision (from the Elan Bill) came into force. In order to reduce the number of accidents of elderly people or of people with reduced mobility, the French public authorities have made it compulsory to install Italian showers in new collective buildings. They are of the opinion that these showers installed on one level, without any step and in continuity with the ground, will drastically reduce the too many accidents. A delicate arbitration had to be made: this type of shower increases physical security, certainly, but also increases the sinistrality and water damages (e.g. inflitrations), according to the AQC (Quality Construction Agency – report of June 2019). The cost of an Italian shower would also be three times higher. Some lobbying battles certainly took place: for instance the Association of France Disabled was in favour of this measure, while the French Building Federation was against it.

The bathroom: at the heart of innovations

But the most striking thing is that at the same time this provision was being discussed and was about to come into force, innovation provided far more solutions than this section of the law! The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, in 2018, already made the bathroom an increasingly connected and safer place. Beyond comfort, health and physical security are also increasingly at the heart of innovators’ goals, for example through connected mats, voice controls, presence detectors, etc.

Two parallel worlds

These two developments (Elan Bill provision and 2018/2019 Las Vegas CES ) seem to be totally disconnected from each other. There are two worlds here that are disjointed, parallel and impervious: no dialogue between public authorities and these companies that innovate to make the bathroom more pleasant and safer. However, everyone has everything to gain by becoming better acquainted with each other’s work and objectives:

  • elected officials and governments can more easily (and effectively) achieve their public policy objectives through current and planned innovations.
  • companies, on the other hand, can more easily develop their products and gain awareness (and therefore market penetration) thanks to public support.

Lobbying: developing and nurturing the culture of partnership

This dialogue is essential, and that is lobbying also: a partnership (formal or informal) between the private sector and the public sector! Everyone is a beneficiary, including in his/her own bathroom!

Ludovic Espitalier-Noël – www.influences-reputation.com