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Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

Planning now ensures you don’t blow your budget

When it comes to bathroom renovations, one of the biggest concerns for homeowners is cost. It’s no secret that these projects can quickly add up, leaving you with a hefty bill and a less-than-ideal outcome. But at Whywait Plumbing, we’re here to tell you that bathroom renovation costs don’t need to blow out of proportion.

First and foremost, you must clearly know what you want before you begin the renovation process. This means deciding on a specific design, layout, and materials. A clear plan will help you stay within budget and avoid costly changes or additions.

Another tip for keeping costs down is to focus on the essentials. While you may be tempted to splurge on fancy features, the basics often make the most significant impact. For example, you can create a beautiful, functional bathroom without breaking the bank by prioritising functional elements such as a new toilet, sink, and shower.

There is no disguising a bathroom in need of renovation

We have prepared a few tips and advice to help you keep costs down and maximise your budget when renovating your bathroom. Increasingly we are observing the simple fact that there is no disguising a bathroom needing renovation. These bathrooms have some or many of the following abominably dated features:

  • peach or pea green tiles,
  • failing grouting in floors and walls,
  • mould damage to the ceiling,
  • bathroom carpet,
  • gold plated taps with fake glass handles,
  • poor use of space,
  • wallpaper that looks like a ’70s disco freak chose it.

All of the above were standard design traits in bathrooms dating back over 10 years and often 25 years.

 For better or worse, bathrooms are a place for people to stamp their creative mark on a home.

 Often it was inexplicable to what they were trying to create with bizarre combinations such as black tiled walls and red-painted ceilings.

Bathrooms by their design and use factors are prone to failure over time

Generally, a bathroom needs some form of renovation after around five years, depending on how frequently it is used.

 But bathroom renovations do not have to be designer-level expensive affairs.

If you plan and know what you are doing, keeping a lid on bathroom renovation costs is not hard.

 Below are listed seven issues to be seriously considered so your bathroom renovation costs do not blow out:

1: Assess how much you need to change

The more you want to change, the more expensive the project will be. That is a guarantee.

If you are on a tight budget, you can still make a surprising difference to the look of a bathroom by just replacing tap handles, painting the walls and ceiling, plus sticking up shampoo shelves, towel rails or a lovely new mirror. All of which you could probably manage, provided you know what you are doing.

Re-tiling of floors and walls will cost a fair bit more. Still, surprisingly economical coating options are applied directly over existing tiles, reducing costs by reducing the amount of demolition work required.

Always be aware that anything involving electrical or plumbing fixtures, relocating fixtures, or adding new ones will cost considerably more.

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

2: Reuse or recycle fittings and fixtures

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it rule applies. If there is nothing wrong with the existing fittings or fixtures, you can save a lot of money and unnecessary waste by resisting the overwhelming temptation to replace them.

 If you think about ways you can style and theme the bathroom to utilise what you already have installed and focus on the worst aspects of your bathroom.

 Old-style taps can be replaced relatively economically and efficiently.

 If your bath and vanity basin have been seriously abused over the years, it is possible to have them re-coated and to look like new for less than outright replacement.

 Vanity unit cupboard doors and draws can be replaced for much less than the outright replacement of the entire vanity.

3: Do not move plumbing fixtures

Relocating or adding new plumbing fixtures can be expensive.

Most homes are built on a concrete slab which makes relocating or adding extra plumbing fixtures much more expensive.

As much as possible, focus on reusing the existing water supply and drainage connection for your toilet, shower, bath, vanity basin and floor waste, as this will keep plumbing costs under control.

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out call Whywait Plumbing

4: Shop around for materials

This may sound obvious, but it requires discipline.

If you have the time and inclination, you will save a small fortune by shopping around and buying the necessary materials, fittings and fixtures.

If you are shopping, make sure you have done your homework and know exactly what you are looking for. For example, there is a considerable difference between wall and floor tiles.

Buying a bath with a centre waste to replace one with a waste at one end will cost you more to install.

Replacing a toilet requires that you know whether it uses an S or P trap outlet or whether the water connection is concealed or bottom linked.

Any paint for bathroom walls needs to be suitable for use in bathrooms so that your walls are resistant to moisture.

If you are supplying the fixtures and fittings, ensure everything is ready and available when renovation starts to prevent delays. Delays in fixtures being available will translate into increased costs.

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out get advice from Whywait Plumbing

5: Get your hands dirty

If you are willing and able, you can save a lot on labour costs by doing some of the work yourself and project managing the renovation.

Likely, you will still need to hire licensed contractors such as plumbers, electricians, waterproofers, and tilers for the renovation project. Still, volunteering to do manual work, such as demolition, will translate into lower labour costs.

Without exception, any discussion about what you can do yourself has to include a big, flashing neon warning. You cannot cut corners on some things and do it yourself. Licensed professional contractors MUST do waterproofing, plumbing and electrical work.

Doing it any other way is guaranteed to be illegal, substandard, dangerous, non-insurable and without the protections of a warranty.

Never believe handymen who tell you they can do everything.

It is also essential that you are confident before you start working that there is not any asbestos in your bathroom. Asbestos sheeting was very commonly used in bathrooms up until the late 1970s, and exposure to it can lead to cancer, so you will need to have asbestos removed by a specialist contractor using the correct safety gear who will dispose of it legally.

6: Plan very carefully and avoid variations

Careful planning and having an exact idea of what you want to achieve, what you are getting and how everything will be done before you sign any contract with a contractor will ensure you’re not stung with hefty fees for necessary changes.

Suppose you use a builder to manage your bathroom renovation. In that case, it is guaranteed he will charge over the odds for variations to a contract if you have made a selection mistake or want to change your layout or add additional fixtures.

Many builders will come in with a low quote to prey on clients who are not clear on their plans and have not prepared properly.

Regardless of how well you perceive you get along with the builder or other contractors, ensure that the fittings and fixtures are precisely what you are after and will fit exactly where they are supposed to go. The colours and tiles are strictly correct, the costs are itemised on the contract, and you are confident that all labour, material and administrative expenses are included.

Please ensure any variations are fully costed, and you approve in writing before they commence.

 

7: Things to be careful of

Make sure you have more than enough tiles because if they break in future or if they break some during your renovations, you want to have some spares on hand that are from the same batch so that they are a perfect match.

Beware of non-certified plumbing fittings and fixtures which are non-insurable and can make any future insurance claim null and void. Ensure all plumbing products have the WaterMark certification and comply with Australian Standards.

Avoid ordering plumbing or electrical fixtures online or overseas, as they will almost always be shoddy or inferior fittings and fixtures and will come back to haunt you.

Ordering online plumbing or electrical fixtures online invariably is not worth the savings they appear to offer.

Consider where you’re going to shower as your bathroom’s going to be out of action for a week or two at least, and always double any timeframe you have given by any contractor.

It is widespread to discover rotten timber under baths or behind shower walls which will require extra work, with any other savings you make being eaten up quickly if you are unprepared for that.

 

Plan a bathroom renovation from beginning to end

Ultimately your bathroom renovation is all about careful planning and managing expectations.

 Careful planning will assist you in ensuring your bathroom renovation costs don’t blow up in your face.

Finally, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals. Compare prices and materials from different suppliers, and consider hiring a trusted, experienced contractor who can help you get the most bang for your buck.

At Whywait Plumbing, we understand that budget is a significant concern regarding bathroom renovations. But by following these tips, you can create a beautiful, functional bathroom without blowing your budget. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create the bathroom of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

Bathroom Renovation Costs Don’t Need to Blow Out

What is a Form 4

What is a Form 4

QBCC Form 4 Plumbing Compliance Certificate

We often receive questions from clients regarding why we charge them for Form 4. The straightforward answer is that it is required by law.

The Form 4 system for plumbing and drainage work has existed for over two decades.

Initially, licensed plumbers had to submit Form 4 to local authority plumbing inspectors. For those on the Gold Coast, this meant submitting the form to the City of Gold Coast’s Plumbing and Drainage section when replacing part of the sewer house drain, water main, or hot water service.

In 2012, legislative changes mandated plumbers lodge Form 4 with the Department of Housing and Public Works through the Plumbing Industry Council (PIC). This was the first time a fee was introduced for lodging a Form 4, which amounted to $25.90. In 2014, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) assumed responsibility for the Form 4 process as part of their role in overseeing occupational plumbing licensing.

Once Form 4 is submitted, it may be subject to a random compliance audit to ensure the work adheres to the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019. This process guarantees that work is carried out to the highest standards, safeguarding everyone’s well-being, health, and safety.

Whywait Plumbing has always been a proponent of the Form 4 process, as it ensures that all work on your property is compliant and registered with both the QBCC and the City of Gold Coast. In the event of a significant insurance claim involving plumbing failure, an accessor can easily trace the work to confirm that it was performed legally and in compliance with regulations.

In essence, Form 4 serves to protect homeowners.

Which areas of plumbing & drainage work are classified as notifiable work?

The definitions of notifiable work were updated on 1 July 2019 to ensure clarity and usability and establish cost-effective plumbing laws and regulations for both plumbers and property owners.

Twelve primary categories of notifiable plumbing and drainage work necessitate a Form 4:

  1. Extending water supply pipes – involves work on water reticulation pipes other than fire services in existing buildings.
  2. Extending or removing a fire service – applies to class 2-9 buildings with development approval as per schedule 2 of the Building Act 1975.
  3. Existing sanitary plumbing – pertains to work in existing buildings where sanitary plumbing is removed, replaced, altered, or extended.
  4. Existing sanitary drainage – concerns work on existing class 1 to class 10 buildings involving extension, replacement, alteration, or removal of any part of the sanitary drain system (excluding a combined sanitary drain). This also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building.
  5. Temperature control devices – includes work with thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) or tempering valves in existing buildings that require installing, replacing, or removing a valve. This also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building.
  6. Water heaters – involves work in existing buildings requiring installing, replacing, or removing a hot water heater. This also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building.
  7. Backflow prevention devices – work with testable backflow devices or dual check valves in existing buildings that require installing, replacing, or removing a valve. This also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building.
  8. Greywater treatment plants – pertains to work involving installing a greywater use system that includes a greywater treatment plant installed in a sewered area where the plant generates less than 3kL of greywater daily or for replacing a greywater plant.
  9. Fixtures in class 1 or class 10 buildings – include work required for installing a new fixture or relocating an existing fixture in class 1 or class 10 buildings. This also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building.
  10. Fixtures for class 2 to 9 buildings of 1 or 2 storeys – applies to all work other than sanitary drainage required for installing or relocating a fixture, provided the work is for an existing class 2 to 9 building up to two storeys above ground.
  11. Sanitary drains – involves sealing a sanitary drain after the connection point to the council sewer or a treatment plant.
  12. Sealing supply pipes – includes work to seal a water supply pipe after the council water meter, provided the work is for an existing class 2 to class 9 building.

The QBCC provides easy-to-understand guides on notifiable work and the definitions of building classes as outlined in the Building Code of Australia, which can be downloaded below:

Form 4 notifiable work compliance

Every reputable professional plumber I know wholeheartedly supports the notifiable work system. This support ensures that homeowners and property owners can trust that all work carried out on their property adheres to the required standards.

If you have had plumbing or drainage work done and have not been provided with a Form 4, as shown above, and the work falls under the listed categories, you should report it to the QBCC immediately or call them at 139333. High-quality plumbing and drainage work is essential for protecting your health.

If you are uncertain or need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at (07) 5580 4311; we will offer our opinion. Ultimately, all plumbing work is not about guesswork but compliance with the law, specifically the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

A Plumbing Inspection Is Not A Guarantee

A Plumbing Inspection Is Not A Guarantee

A plumbing inspection by the council is not a guarantee and never has been. They are a compliance audit – nothing more, nothing less.

Recently Kelly from Hope Island sent me an email that began with the comment, “builders are liars, plumbers are incompetent, and the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors are frauds who take no responsibility…..”

I can only repeat to Kelly what many of us know and see every day in new or recently renovated buildings – “everyone who worked on your home did so because they were the cheapest, not because they were the best qualified and skilled to undertake the work.” Sadly that has become a reality in the construction industry.

The pressure by builders on plumbers to reduce prices and take “SHORTCUTS” increases daily, as I have stated previously, and in fairness, is frequently driven by the client demanding a “LOWER PRICE” and looking for the “BEST DEAL”.

In respect to Kelly’s comment about the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors, I understand the remark as there is a common urban myth that once your home or building has had a final inspection that it has been certified by the council and that the plumbing is perfect and that they are guaranteeing it.

This is incorrect as the plumbing inspector’s functions are set out in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002. A plumbing inspector’s functions are to conduct investigations and inspections for monitoring and enforcing compliance with-

  • the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002; or
  • the Sustainable Planning Act 2009; or
  • the Local Government Act 2009.

The critical word in the legislation is COMPLIANCE. When the council inspector signs off the plumbing and drainage work on your home after being requested to undertake a final inspection by the licensed plumber responsible, you will only get a letter that says it is a PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE. It will state clearly, “This Compliance Certificate approves the regulated work or on-site sewerage work for the above property in respect of Compliance Permit number…..”

A compliance certificate from the plumbing inspectors is not a guarantee in any way, shape or form and should not be construed as such.

Unfortunately and sadly but these days, it is ultimately up to you to ensure that you are getting high-standard, quality work by dealing with reputable, experienced licensed contractors who perform work to the standards set out in the Plumbing Code of Australia.

Always ask to see the plumber’s contractor’s license, and always ensure for insurance purposes, you get a copy of either the council compliance certificate or the QBCC Form 4 compliance certificate, depending upon the work you have had undertaken.

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