You are considering buying a fitted bathroom and there are many decisions you should be considering. I will try to put them into some order of importance based on the questions I have asked and been asked by my customers over the last 30 years.

You need to determine the new use of your bathroom, do you wish to bathe or shower, so are you looking to have a large bath installed or a separate shower or a good shower over a bath. These answers will help to determine what goods you should consider in your purchase.

The type of domestic hot water system is also a very important factor as the type of your system, i.e. gravity with a cold water storage tank and hot water cylinder or a combination/high pressure system will determine the types of taps and showers you can have and these can have large financial implications.

The layout of your bathroom is nearly always fixed when you are working to an existing bathroom, the soil pipe determines the position of the w/c, although there are instances where it can be moved, this will be established on a full structural survey, and the grey waste pipes, ie sink, bath and shower are fairly fixed and their height is determined by where they can connect into the waste system externally. All these factors should be discussed by your surveyor on a site visit and the positions of joist, internal, external walls, windows and ceiling heights all come into play.

Although you can discuss the design prior to a site survey this will only be an indication of what you would like as until the survey is completed and only then you will you know if your wishes are actually possible.

So why can you not move the fittings around and alter the wastes to accommodate you perfect design. Soil stacks are connected to the main sewer and in some houses they are internal and so gaining access to them can mean a fair amount of destruction, and even then it may not be possible to alter the stack for a new w/c position and bear in mind that the more bends in a soil stack the more likely that you could get a blockage. If a soil stack is external you may be able to alter the branch and make a new hole in the outside wall to accommodate a new outlet however if you have a cast iron stack this would normally mean replacing the stack with plastic, at a cost of £400 plus, unless its listed, then it’s a whole lot more expensive and involves listed permission and specialist contractors.

The grey water waste pipes are easier to move however you are restricted to the building regulations and running through joists is considered to be bad practice, and in some cases illegal, however a good fitter will run the pipes under the floor if he/she can. The size of these pipes can be quite critical from 1 ¼ to 2 inch pipes are available and are used depending on the fall and the number of connections and bends.

So your survey has been completed and you have received drawings showing how the bathroom will look now it should be down to you to look at the design and see if it fulfils your brief and if you are happy with the layout, how you think it flows and it is suits your needs.

Up to this time you will only have discussed generic items, a bath a basin, whether it is a vanity or pedestal version, a w/c a shower enclosure and a shower fitting; now things start to get real. You may have seen things you like, but now in order to get a concise quote you will need to confirm, everything from the taps to the flooring. See Part 2 when we start discussing more specific items.

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