Our last blog covered all the aspects you need to be able to design a bathroom. This week moves onto the planning and installation. The CIPHE always advises using a professional for bathroom installations. Not only can you sit back and relax as the installer does all the hard work, but the DIYer is subject to all the same laws and regulations as the professionals are. If things go wrong, or you unwittingly break the law, it can be extremely expensive and stressful to put things right.
In this blog we’ll be covering:
- Finding a professional plumber / bathroom design and installation company
- Choosing and sourcing sanitary ware, tiles, taps, shower etc.
- Things to consider during the installation.
1) Finding a professional plumber / design and installation company
If you read our previous blog on the dos and don’ts of employing a tradesperson, you’ll already have the fundamentals covered when it comes to finding the company for you. If you haven’t here’s a quick recap:
- Ask friends and family whom they use.
- The CIPHE’s find a professional online tool lists vetted plumbing professionals in your area, who also abide by a Code of Professional Standards for your peace of mind. Alternatively, you can phone or email the CIPHE on 01708 472791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A list of Approved Plumbers is also available via the WaterSafe website at https://www.watersafe.org.uk/
- You can also visit directory sites such as Which? Trusted Traders, but be aware that not all trade directories vet businesses in the same way, or to the same standards, as the CIPHE.
- Many people also turn to social media, gaining recommendations from Twitter or community groups on Facebook. Be aware that a tradespersons friends or family may be recommending them, so do check their credentials out independently before employing them.
- Always obtain three quotes.
- Make sure you discuss all your requirements in full – you should have all the relevant information to hand if you’ve followed the steps in last week’s blog. Bear in mind that you may need multiple trades if you are also having electrical work done.
- Make sure you are all clear on who is sourcing what. Will the quote include all materials required (e.g., pipework, isolation vales) or will there be some additional costs as you go along?
- Ensure the installer / installation company has relevant insurance to cover the work being undertaken.
- The cheapest quote may not always the best. If you are going for a company to design, source and install your bathroom make sure you get a full breakdown of costs, to ensure the quality of products being installed is like-for-like.
- Ask for your quote in detailed writing and find out the project duration, along with when they can start.
- Keep a contingency budget aside for unforeseen issues.
- Remember you may have to wait for a good tradesperson or company – the best will be booked up with clients well in advance.
2) Choosing and sourcing sanitary ware, tiles, taps, shower etc.
With so many brands and sellers out there, it can be hard to know where to start. If you are going with a professional company to design your bathroom you may find that they recommend specific brands that they rate the quality of and have a good working relationship with. In general, installers don’t make money returning to fix things, so they are likely to recommend products that have a good reputation for reliability.
If you are going it alone you will normally be responsible for sourcing items such as the bath, sink, toilet, taps, shower, shower tray and cubicle, tiles, fittings and lights etc. while many leave sourcing plumbing and electrical materials, tile adhesive, mastic etc to their tradesperson. This may not all be included in your quote, so make sure you know exactly what you are responsible for and if further materials are required, how you will deal with the purchasing side.
Don’t forget to read product reviews and look for warranty information to help you decide along the way. It can also be useful to see where the products are manufactured as cheap imports are unlikely to match the quality of their more expensive counterparts. While your budget will dictate what brands you can go for, it’s always wise to spend a little bit more on taps and showers if you can. You can also ask your plumber for advice before you buy.
When it comes to sourcing products you will need to keep an eye on delivery times so that your project can go ahead as planned. Coronavirus and Brexit has led to supply chain issues, so if you are ordering online, it is worth phoning the supplier to double check stock levels before you part with your money. Check out independent local merchants as well as the big trade counters, as they will normally carry a good supply of stock. If you are dealing with an online company or one that you haven’t done business with before, take a look at independent reviews on sites such as TrustPilot before you buy.
You can view some of the top manufacturers and merchants in the UK in our Industrial Associate directory.
3) It’s time to start work
So your products have arrived, your plumber is booked in, and you are ready to go! However, there are still some considerations to keep in mind:
- Fitting new bathrooms can be noisy and dirty work, so expect disruption. This can be tough, especially if you are trying to work from home.
- You need to be prepared to have no washing or toileting facilities for at least part of the install. If it’s the only toilet in your home, talk to your installer about how long it will be out of use, as you may need to find somewhere else to stay or have an alternative put in place (e.g., hire a portaloo).
- Your water will need to be turned off periodically throughout the installation. Make sure you have the kettle and any other water bottles / containers required filled.
- If you are having electrical work done e.g., fitting new electric bathroom mirror, shaving points, having a new fan or spotlights installed, be aware your electrician will need to turn some electrical circuits off too.
- Tradespeople normally work from 8-4pm, so if you are working from home, you may want to schedule important work calls later in the day.
- Remember that if you change your mind part way through the job, you will be likely to incur more costs and extend the project deadline. Make sure you discuss any changes in full with your installer.
- Be aware that engineers have been advised to keep workspaces well ventilated and to wear PPE. You should keep socially distanced from your engineer(s) and if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you must inform them immediately. Likewise, they may need to reschedule works if they experience symptoms too.
Once the work is complete, there’s only one thing left to do, and that’s enjoy your new bathroom! Remember, if you need any help finding a plumber head over to our find a plumber online tool. To find products and merchants, head over to our Industrial Associate directory. Good luck!