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Bathroom rules and regulations

Last Updated Nov 3, 2010 · Written by Craig Gibson

When planning your bathroom renovation, carefully consider the practical use of the space available, particularly the location of all fittings and fixtures and how they relate to each other.  Considering that a bathroom renovation is among the most complex projects a homeowner can undertake, take some time to carefully plan the layout beforehand.  This will ensure that the space is used effectively and that you do not compromise on the functionality or aesthetics of your new bathroom.  Local planning, building and safety regulations must also be taken into consideration.

The primary consideration for a bathroom, regardless of size, is the amount of space between each major fixture to allow ease of movement.  Local plumbing codes often specify distances.  In addition, there should be adequate ventilation and heating.  Access should be unhindered, with external and internal doors placed so they do not conflict with each other.  Fixtures such as shower, toilet, bath and basin must be placed efficiently with respect to each other and allow for convenient use.  The following practical rules apply to siting fittings in a bathroom:

-           Toilet - not in line with an open door, for enhanced privacy

-           Hand basin - near the door, for practicality and convenience

-           Shower - the shower door should not clash with the bathroom door

-           Drainage - appropriate siting close to bath and/or toilet, a sensible precaution if a basin or bath overflows

Accessory Placement

Positioning of all bathroom fittings must also include placement of appropriate accessories and fixtures.  These need to be taken into account during the planning process and sited for convenience.

Power points - The location of power points is important to create a functional bathroom.  The number you install will be determined by the number of devices you use e.g. shaver electric toothbrush, hair dryer etc.  If your bathroom is to incorporate an internal laundry facility, it may require additional power and plumbing outlets.

Towel rails - these should be within easy reach of the bath, basin or shower.  The size of your bathroom may require the installation of a compromise location or separate rails.  When siting the rails, enough space should be left for towels to hang freely.

Towel rings - are typically placed alongside the sink, at a comfortable height.

Toilet roll holder -- sited appropriately so it can be accessed conveniently from the toilet.

Lighting - appropriate placement for maximum effectiveness, especially with regard to the location of mirrors.

Mirrors - sited at a convenient height, and with adequate lighting.

Storage - try and incorporate enough storage at eye level for regularly used items.


Bathrooms are wet rooms, so certain safety considerations are required with regard to placement of electrical outlets. Rails and steps are another safety consideration and should be cited accordingly.

-           Light switches and power points should not be placed within reach of a person seated or standing in the bathtub or shower

-           Heated towel rails must be placed away from any water source

-           Grab rails and steps should be installed for safe entry/exit into a bath or spa

-           Non slip flooring is also a safety requirement in bathrooms

It must be noted that if you decide to alter the configuration of your bathroom costs may rise significantly, particularly if major alterations to plumbing are required.  Remember to only use approved or authorised plumbing products, and to adhere to planning and building regulations.  If you are considering remodelling your bathroom speak to a licensed and registered plumber, electrician or builder.

Site Resources

Bathroom Renovations

Bathroom Accessories

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