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Hiring Bathroom Renovation Professionals


Expensive materials and high-end fixtures won’t mean anything if the bathroom doesn’t function comfortably and safely. Even if you’re just replacing old fixtures with new ones in the same place, you want installers who demonstrate that they are very familiar with building codes and the plumbing, wiring, and structural aspects of the job.

Mistakes in this room can be costly or even deadly, especially with the combination of electricity and water. Moving a waste stack or a load-bearing wall is nothing to fool around with, either, so choose your bathroom designer and installer wisely.

Hiring licensed professionals is important: If they don’t apply for permits or don’t do the work according to code, an inspection by building code officials could be a bad experience for you. If your wiring and plumbing are not to code, could be requested to tear out new work and fixtures to prove compliance.

Any violations will be your problem and your cost, and if anyone is injured on your premises later due to non code installations, you’ll be in trouble again.

For this reason, experts advise that your contract specify that the hired professional apply for the contract in his or her name, not yours. That way, the contractor is responsible for making sure all work is done to code. Even if you’re planning to do much of the work yourself, apply for all required permits, make sure you and everyone else’s work meets code, and cooperate with inspections at each stage. They exist for your protection.

For any structural work, you’ll need a licensed architect or designer/builder as well as licensed contractors and skilled trades people.

Design services to actually plan your bathroom may either be handled as a separate professional fee or built into the price of the products used in your bathroom (Think twice about using dealers who advertise “free design services”: If it’s true, they may not be around long, or the quality may not be what you expect. If the design service price is actually built into the price of the products they install for you, you’d rather know that up front, too.)

Some bathroom designers are specialists but not dealers. These independent designers can spec (short for “specify,” or select on your behalf) products from many sources, but they do specialise in bathroom design, offering their design services for a fee.

Follow the same procedures as above before making your decision: See photos, get explanations, and talk to references. Some bathroom designers have been qualified, through education, professional experience, and testing, as Certified Bath Designers, identifiable by the “CBD” designation after their names.

A bathroom specialist who is a CBD is thoroughly versed in the “back-of-the-wall” aspects of design — electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and building, among others, as well as design principles, drawing techniques, construction estimating, and more.

Whomever you choose, he or she may provide only the design plus consultations with you and your trades people. Or they may oversee the contractors who, in turn, will supervise subcontractors such as the tile-setter, plumber, and electrician.

The designer can place orders on products for you to ensure that everything is acquired in the correct size and style. The bill may come to the designer or directly to you, depending on the arrangements made. You can then choose to take the documentation to a contractor or act as your own general contractor.

If you want to act as your own contractor, do some studying on what’s involved. You’ll need to be aware of local building codes and legal language to ensure that your contracts hold the subcontractors to working within the rules.

You’ll also need to know how to apply for building permits and plan for inspections by building code officials as well as at least understand the basics of each function, so you’ll know if a job is going seriously awry. Be patient, and keep in mind that building code enforcement is for your protection against unscrupulous or shoddy work.

Whomever you hire, you’ll rely on their expertise to guide you through technical issues, and you’ll count on their integrity in working within your budget. What’s more, your experts and their crews will be in your home and around your family for the life of the project. So make sure they really deserve your trust!

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