During weeks 4 and 5 we had a few things change in our original plan as internal walls went up and we started the first fix of electricity and plumbing. First fix is where you have all the cables or pipework laid, before floors and walls go in, ready for the ‘final fix’ where taps and radiators are connected.
Our current main bathroom downstairs (see above) is being changed to a shower/utility room, with the shower and loo staying, the sink moving and us installing washing machine, dryer and a back-up fridge where the bath and sink are. In theory, you can have a shower and appliances like a washing machine in the same room, but the shower needs to be ‘fully enclosed’ right up to ceiling height or there needs to be a 3m gap to your first appliance. Consequently we now need to rejig things slightly to incorporate a dividing wall next to the loo, a bit of a pain but it should still be OK. It will need some creative thought to maintain natural light into the shower room and we need to extend the extraction but everything should be easily achieved.
As the plumber started his first fix, we come across a bigger problem. We had planned to have the bathroom upstairs in the room the other side of the stairs. But it turns out that although this is on top of the bathroom downstairs, the waste pipe for the loo would go under the floor and out the wall. In the middle of the photo below you’ll see that the joists supporting the top of the stairs are right where the waste pipework would go. These joists are so important they can’t be cut.
We also realised that once the internal walls were in the study next to the bathroom was much larger than we thought or really needed. And once we’d looked at the layout for the proposed bathroom, it became clear that a swap of bathroom and study (from the room below left to the one on the right) would make perfect sense. It would also move the bathroom closer to the boys’ rooms so actually a better layout for upstairs.
So that’s another top tip – don’t assume the layout you think you want is right, or can actually happen! Try and maintain some flexibility but also make sure your builder can cope with the odd change too. And if you’re building whilst living off site, go there daily so you can see progress and make any decisions you need to on things that naturally crop up, as you might end up with something somewhere that become a bugger to change!
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