Design it out: Instruct and advise

Designers must instruct and advise consumers

26 Apr, 19

In our Design It Out series, installers offer their experience to designers, enabling them to create plans which provide more efficient bathroom fits. Owner of Albert Plumbing and former president of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and heating Engineering (CIPHE) Paul Williams says designers must better advise and instruct consumers

Design it out: Don't get floored


Consumers often want to keep up with the Jones’s  or want to outdo the neighbour, but may want a look – for example a wetroom – which just may not be achievable in their space.  They’ve seen it on the Grand Designs TV programme and they want to replicate it in their homes.

We are the trade professionals and if something isn’t suitable for the bathroom space, designers have got to tell the client. If it can’t be done, you’ve got to tell them.

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You’ve got to give customers an honest answer, whether they want to hear it or not.  And you shouldn’t be afraid of giving them your expert advice, just to ensure you make the sale.

Otherwise, it could mean longer-term problems for short-term gain – especially in the bathroom space where water flow and containment are major considerations.

For example, if there is movement of a floor or a shallow exit, you may have to take that into consideration when specifying a wetroom. [See Design it out: Don’t get floored]

It may mean that you have to advise the consumer not to have a walk-in wetroom but to have an enclosure with a door instead.

Sometimes say ‘no’

Bathroom designers, who work in shops, have to help their customers and design the bathroom for them, not just to hit their sales commission. Sometimes they need to say ‘no’ to the consumer.

If designers don’t advice and instruct customers, when they are selecting the look and products, then installers have got to do the job.

They will have to go into the consumer’s home and say ‘you can’t have that tap because you haven’t got high pressure’.

What we shouldn’t forget is that the bathroom is for the consumer and you have to make sure the bathroom functions as well as looks great.

Issues can occur when an installer goes to a job at a customer’s home and the products have already been chosen.

If you haven’t seen the list of product specifications, it may cause delays if they don’t complement the existing plumbing system. It may mean last minute swapping of products.

Installers and designers must work better as a team to say to consumer ‘this will work’ or ‘this won’t work’.

It would be nice to see what consumers are purchasing, before they’ve committed, and then look at their choice and say ‘that will work or that won’t work’.

It’s about creating more professional relationships between installers and designers.