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Bathroom Renovation Explained

Like every other home renovation project, bathroom renovations are a great way to improve the aesthetics and value of your home. Before beginning your bathroom renovation project, you may want to find out what the regulations say about such a project and whether or not you need council approval.

Sometimes, it can be tricky to determine whether or not a bathroom renovation requires council approval or not. In this article, you will uncover the various kinds of bathroom renovations and which of them require you to obtain council approval. Let's get started!

Bathroom Renovations And Council Approval

It all depends on the specific type of renovation you want to do. For instance, if you are working on a bathroom renovation where the existing bathroom has been split into two, creating two smaller bathrooms. In this type of renovation, the original structural design has been altered, and more fittings, plumbing, and electrical components have been installed.

This will require building consent. When doing a bathroom renovation, there are two factors that you need to consider. First, does the renovation involve altering the structure of the building? An example of this is removing the wall dividing the bathroom and the toilet areas. Walls are essential to the structural integrity of any building.

As such, you have to be very careful because you could remove a wall supporting the roof, which could affect the structural stability of the entire building. The second factor you have to consider is altering the plumbing system. You do not need council approval when you are not increasing the number of sanitary fittings or performing some minor changes, such as changing the taps, shower unit, vanity, your toilets' position, and others.

However, if you are embarking on a renovation project that involves redesigning the plumbing system, you need to obtain a building permit. An example of this is installing a tiled wet area shower. There are situations where it may not be evident if you need council consent or not. An example is replacing a shower over a bath with another shower over a bath. It is vital to consult the council to see if consent is required in such a situation.

Get Council Approval For Bathroom Renovation

The process varies from council to council however it typically involves the following:

  • Get in touch with your local council and confirm their policies, procedures, and charges.
  • Get a building certifier to confirm your plan. This approval is needed to affirm that the planned renovation conforms with the building code of Australia.
  • Make someone your Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). This could be the same official that evaluated your plans; they are responsible for certifying that the work was completed per your plans. Once the construction is finished, they will issue an Occupation Certificate.

Fast-Tracking Complying Developments

What is complying development?

Complying development is known as a combined planning and construction approval process for easy development that can be determined through a fast-track assessment. A private certifier or a council typically carries out this assessment. Complying development applies to businesses, homes, and industry.

Get all the required information ready

To ease the application process, please ensure you offer accurate information. Approval can take many months, so be patient. When asking about whether your renovation work requires approval, make direct contact with the local council – don't rely on the opinion of friends, neighbours, or contractors.

Keep in contact with the council

Maintain continual communication with your council while preparing the papers for submission. Once your application has been submitted for approval, you must be proactive in responding to requests for more detailed information.

Work with professionals

Work with professionals such as builders and architects to obtain certifications, blueprints, or designs for your project, since this helps to instil confidence in the council. In the same vein, you will need to budget for the fees as it varies depending on the stage.

Avoid changing your project plans

Once you have got approval, avoid making changes to your project plans or drawings because revisions to approval are expensive and lead to project delays. Ensure that you begin the work or the renovation process before the authorisation expires. There is a set time limit within which the work must begin; otherwise, you may just have to go through the process again.

How To Carry Out Bathroom Renovations

Bathroom renovation may appear to be complicated, but it is something you can do with the right tools and information. This next section will assist you through the different stages of bathroom renovation.

Step One: Decide on what you want to do

Think of what you appreciate about your present bathroom and what you would like to change. Many bathrooms may not even require a total renovation. All you need to do is change some fittings and maybe tiles, which will be enough to give it the required upgrade.

For your layout, you'll need to decide what you want to move and where you want to move it while keeping the plumbing lines for the toilet, sink, shower, and/or bath in mind. Hire a draftsperson or architect to design your layout before speaking with a builder, tiler, or plumber. You should also be aware of your state's building standards and codes, which may impact your planning.

You also have to look at your budget. Your budget should cover demolition, lighting, waste disposal, tiling, plumbing, electrical, waterproofing, fittings, and a certificate of compliance (depending on your local council).

Bathroom renovations can cost anywhere between AUD 10,000 and AUD 30,000, depending on whether you're updating fixtures and tiles or completely redoing the space. You should also have a mitigation strategy (typically 15% of your budget) in place for any unexpected expenses that may arise along the road.

Step Two: Assemble your team

While plumbers are the first professionals who come to mind for bathrooms, some individuals prefer to hire a builder first. While plumbers handle the plumbing, the builder can supervise the project from start to finish and coordinate other trades.

Some find supervising a renovation very stressful, especially if they make a mistake that an expert plumber or electrician would know to avoid. However, with careful preparation and a trustworthy team, remodelling your own bathroom can be an enriching and enjoyable experience.

Aside from a plumber, builder, and electrician, you also need a painter and a tiler for your renovation.

Step Three: Disconnect the fittings

When the plans and agreements are finalised, the construction can start. Disconnection is the initial step in the labour process. For plumbers, this entails removing tapware, toilets, valves, and taps. Electricians will also remove power points and disconnect cables.

Step Four: Demolition

Next is demolition. Depending on the extent of your project, this could require removing the shower screen, plaster, and bath, or plaster and tiles from the floor and walls where piping needs to be adjusted. You may decide to remove the plaster and floorboards yourself, but remember to check for asbestos and adhere to OHS rules.

Step Five: Rough-in

Rough-in refers to bringing in various components, including plumbing and electrical, but not completing final connections. If any pipes need to be relocated, this is the stage at which they do so.

In most circumstances, the plumber is the first to do the rough-in, followed by the electricians. Checking that all measurements are precise during rough-in is critical. Getting your tap even a few centimetres out might mess up your tiling, which is a costly problem to remedy.

Step Six: Install the wall and floor coverings

This stage involves installing the plasterboard, waterproofing, tiling, grouting, and painting in that order.

Step Seven: Connect, clean, and polish

Fitting off is the final stage of the renovation from a builder's perspective. This is when the plumbing and electrical fixtures are reconnected to the services installed during the rough-in phase. Installation of toilets, shower screens, taps and mixers, mirrors, towel rails, and other fixtures is part of the fit-off process.

After fitting off, nearly all of your tradespeople will have completed their portion of the task, so now is an excellent opportunity to schedule a deep clean. This will eliminate any dust and filth from the job's rough-in, tiling, and grouting sections.

This stage frequently includes the application of caulking or silicone between the plaster and tiling or between the tiling and fittings to make the space clean and practically seamless. Then you may decorate your bathroom to your taste by hanging pictures, adding plants, painting, and other finishing touches.

Use Experts For Your Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom renovations are the most important internal renovations that you will ever handle in your home. It requires careful planning, thorough implementation, and superb finishing to get the best result. If you are seriously considering renovating your bathroom, it may be best to hire professionals to handle every aspect of the job and, if possible, outsource the entire project to a reputable firm with the capacity, track record, and tools to deliver the bathroom of your dreams.