It’s always interesting to consider what independent sources think about the KB industry, as these are often go-to resources for homeowners when finding their perfect bathroom design or equally, selecting a suitable designer/manufacturer/fitter etc. The Bathroom Manufacturers Association have spoken to us about the most prominent worries every homeowner has when considering a bathroom re-design. And provided us with these insightful answers on what to suggest to the homeowner …
Be water wise! Being water wise means a change in behaviour as well as buying water wise products. For example, if your shower uses 9 litres of water per minute and you reduce the time you spend in it by 1 minute you could save a total of 3,285 litres of water a year. And if you’re a family of 4, that’s over 13,000 litres of water saved. Using less water will also reduce your heating costs. When you consider how much it costs to heat water, doesn’t it make sense to heat less of it? Consider fitting a water meter too. It will help you be more conscious about using water, saving you money on your energy bills.
Careful selection of water-using products in your new bathroom will save water and save you money. Today’s manufacturers use smart technology alongside stunning designs so being water wise doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Why not consider installing dual flush toilets (the smaller button typically flushes using 4 litres – or less – versus a massive 13 litres on old style toilets) or push taps in a cloakroom (where people only rinse their hands). Increasingly popular is fitting a domestic urinal for the men in your home. These can flush with just 2 litres of water. Today’s modern bathroom equipment has been designed to use less water – look for manufacturers whose products display the Water Label. This will show you water consumption levels of products allowing you to make an informed choice according to your needs – and your budget.
This is especially important for those of who like “finding a bargain”. To be certain you’re buying bathroom products which are fit for purpose, buy from a recognised brand and a recognised seller. Be sure to look for the CE mark on products. By placing the CE mark on a product, a manufacturer is declaring, on his sole responsibility, conformity with all legal requirements to achieve CE marking. This means a manufacturer has run his own tests to ensure a product is safe for everyday use.
For water-using products, look for those which comply with WRAS water regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent misuse, waste, undue consumption or erroneous measurement of water. Most importantly, they’re there to prevent contamination of drinking water. In short, check your labels.
Did you know 5195 children under 5 were so badly burnt by hot water in 2015 that they had to be admitted to a specialist burns service? That’s 14 toddlers every single day (source Children’s Burns Trust). And yet minimising the risk of scalding injuries in the home is simple and effective. Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) work by taking a hot and cold supply and blending the water to a safe, controlled temperature. The temperature is determined by the installer who will set the valve to the desired temperature at installation. This ensures the temperature of the water will not exceed this point.
If you’re using glass or plastic panels for your shower enclosure, they must be safe and strong and conform to British and European standards. If you use glass panels they must be toughened safety glass and carry the CE Mark. Do your own due diligence when buying. Check for BS and BS EN numbers on your product information brochures (or websites) for your shower enclosures and sanitary ware. If the product carries one of these numbers, you know the manufacturer has undertaken the necessary checks to ensure the product performs safely. If in doubt, always opt for a product which carries a CE Mark.
Factors such as age and physical ability need to be considered in any redesign. With 1 in 6 people in the UK now aged over 60 and one in 10 people registered as having a disability, bathroom manufacturers are increasingly meeting their needs with inclusive design products. ‘Inclusive design’ is about ensuring products work for all ages and abilities without sacrificing design flair and style. If, for example, a member of your family finds it difficult to operate the handle on a WC, ergonomically designed spoon-shaped handles make it much easier using a closed fist or elbow.
If a member of your family has mobility issues, your bathroom retailer will be able to recommend extra measures to ensure their safety and comfort. A retailer will be able to talk you through the regulations which help and offer guidance for updating bathrooms in existing homes. And if you’re planning your own new build, your retailer will ensure you understand how to comply with new regulations.
It comes down to the individual needs of bathroom users. If you have a small bathroom and need to save space, make use of shower enclosures with ‘bi-fold’ doors or ‘walk-in’ shower types (with seats or added shelf space). Increasingly popular are fully enclosed shower cabins, which include body jets and steam generators – an affordable luxury these days. More important for some than shower size, is shower power. It’s good to know these days you don’t have to sacrifice a powerful shower for the sake of water efficiency.
‘Wet rooms’ or ‘wet zones’ are where the entire bathroom is fully sealed so excess spray from the shower simply drains away into a specially constructed drainage system. Anyone who lives with elderly parents or who deals with a disability within the family understands the value of wet rooms to allow independent access for wheelchair bound individuals and their carers. That said, wet rooms are the ultimate in bathroom design, so not just for the elderly. Why not consider changing an en-suite bathroom into a wet room and keep the family bathroom as just that, for the best of both worlds?
Bath tubs are great for relaxation and charging the batteries. However, did you know a bath uses a minimum of 100 litres of water? If water efficiency is top of your priority list, short showers are much more water efficient to use regularly. These days many bath designs incorporate over bath showering facilities making it easy for you have both options. If you don’t want to give up your bath completely, save it to luxuriate in once in a while.
Absolutely – this will influence your needs going forward. It’s important to reflect on your current bathroom to decide what you like and dislike about it. Current factors such as height of the fixtures, amount of storage and safety need to serve as guidance in choosing your new bathroom. However, consider the longer term needs of your family so you don’t have to undertake another unnecessary re-design before you need to.
The key is to set a budget. Take into account lighting, wall and floor coverings, accessories and installation costs when setting out your budget. Also, understand how much time you have to do your research. To be a savvy buyer, make sure you know what you’re looking for to ensure you’re buying quality goods which are fit for purpose and which are from a recognized source. Always look for the CE Mark on products to ensure you buy smart and safe the first time.
If you have the time to visit local showrooms, you ought to. You will learn what styles you like and you’ll be able to get your questions answered. This is the best way to learn the differences between the models available, and their respective price ranges. Decide on a manufacturer whose products you like AND whose products are energy saving and water efficient. Local showrooms can also recommend you local suppliers and fitters. New build and consumer magazines are a great way to learn about latest trends.
Minimise the risk of having to re-do any of the work in your new bathroom by speaking to the professionals. If you’ve taken the time out to discuss which products best suit your requirements with retailers, why not ask them who they’d recommend to install them? Reputable retailers will recommend reputable and efficient plumbers and installers.
Narrow down your search by using an independent source like The Bathroom Manufacturers Association http://www.bathroom-association.org/. On their website you will find a list of their member manufacturers (who are all CE mark compliant). If you want to find out the efficiency rating of any product you’re buying for your bathroom, you can find that out here http://www.europeanwaterlabel.eu/home.asp.
The Bathroom Manufacturers Association | bathroom-association.org