Design it out: Problem pipework

Designers check there is room for pipes in your plans

21 Jan, 19

Design it out: Improve communication 1

Former president of the chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) Paul Williams says pipework causes the biggest problem in efficient bathroom design and fit

In our Design It Out feature, installers point out the most common issues they encounter with bathroom plans.

We take a look at what designers need to consider at initial stages to avoid fitting issues and further snagging.

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Paul Williams says, without a doubt, pipework causes the biggest problems.

Soil pipes are one of the biggest problems I have faced with bathroom plans because sometimes what people want to buy can’t be fitted into the space.

With certain toilets, you can only take the soil pipe out of the back of the wall.

You haven’t got space to run the soil pipe down one side of the toilet.

It’s not necessarily that the bathroom design is incorrect but the products that have been chosen for the plan just aren’t suited for the installation.

But the pipework issues also extend to the walls, and it is particularly tricky as there are now more in-wall shower installations.

While designers may measure the lengths and heights of the walls to calculate the layout of the bathroom, what they can fail to do is measure the thicknesses of the walls.

If you have a built-in shower valve and the wall isn’t thick enough, then the pipework may not be able to fit.

I’ve had that happen to me on more than a few occasions, and it means specifying a new shower and possibly disappointing the customer who was sold a built-in look.

Bathroom designers have to pay close attention to what they are specifying for their plans.

The room may have a plasterboard wall or an old wall which is only 2 inches thick and, if so, you can’t get the pipes in.

So, designers will have to opt for a surface-mounted shower instead of a concealed valve.

Bathroom design is not just about available room space, more often that not it’s about what goes on behind the scenes too.

So bathroom designers must also look at the structure of the building when creating their plans.

See Paul William’s view on why bathroom designers should improve communication.