You do not explain 'why' your client wants raised floors in bathrooms. If we had that additional information we might be better able to respond.
In kitchens, raised floors are not uncommon, but they are usually reserved for portions of the kitchen, not the entire facility... they are most common at the actual cook line and food preparation areas... and there is an assumption the surface panels comprising raised portions will be removed and cleaned/sterilized regularly (if not daily) along with the underlying waterproof floor system. This allows liquids to drain through to the waterproofed floor beneath while not 'pooling' or causing slippery conditions for workers during meal preparation... while also allowing for the necessary sanitation (as mandated for public health/safety purposes). Therefor, there is a 'logic' for the use of the raised portions - facilitation of the primary function, with concurrent required maintenance.
In bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, etc... the customary treatment is impervious flooring sloped to area drains (for general drainage and to facilitate water and steam cleaning). The question not answered in your post (and without which a meaningful reply may not be forthcoming) is the rationale behind having a raised floor system in those areas. Is the client's 'directive' based on a desire to have components of any kind beneath the floors - wiring, piping, or other (???) item(s). If a raised system were to be used in such an area, at a minimum there would have to be a 'continuous' maintenance function to counter sanitation concerns, similar to what is needed in a kitchen. But, to what end? If the only 'reason' for using raised floors in bathrooms is consistency of construction methodology, then nothing is gained, while the risk of creating public health/safety hazards is significantly increased. We need more data!
Without more information there is only one piece of advice I might offer. It is true that you have an obligation to apply your skills toward achieving (implementing) your client's program. However, you do not have an obligation to incorporate components or systems that in your professional opinion run counter to your over-arching obligation to protect the public health and safety. Even if you are unable to cite a legal or 'standard of the industry' authority upon which you could base your decision, you must apply your accumulated knowledge, skills and experience (along with common sense) to this situation - as you do regarding the thousands of decisions inherent in any complex project.
If in your best judgment you think it's a 'bad idea', then stick to your guns. Inform you client that you will not include the raised floors in your construction documents, and explain the rationale.
Some will advise that you should simply do what the client wants after obtaining your client's written agreement to hold you harmless (and defend you in the case of later litigation). However, I would caution that if there is any aspect of the system you design that is later seen to be inconsistent with the greater public interest, or any code or standard that might be seen relevant, any such written agreement may be legally unenforceable. Remember that you are working for a sovereign nation with its own courts. Your agreement probably includes that you are subject to Indian law and courts, with no other recourse. If you do not already have one involved (in drafting your contract) I suggest you may want to consult with local counsel experienced in dealing with the Tribe that is your client, in order that you better understand your rights and obligations under Tribal law. You also need to understand your professional liability insurance policy/coverages as they relate to this situation (i.e. practicing in a foreign nation, applicable design codes/standards, legal standards, defense obligations, coverage adequacy, etc.). If this is the first time you are dealing with an Indian Tribe client, and you have not already researched these topics, you are behind the curve and need to understand what you have signed on for (as a risk-management issue).
I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY, AND THE ABOVE IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.
Howard Littman AIA
Forensic Architect, Expert Witness
Howard I. Littman, AIA
Agoura Hills CA
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