Criteria 13 –
updated September 2017
How To Details
Criteria 13 – Bath and Shower Control Positioning: All controls are offset from centre, roughly 1/2 way between the historic centre location and the outside edge of the shower or tub enclosure.
Let’s look at two important considerations in any home — plumbing and plumbing controls. Mass production homes often line up everything on one wall. Bathrooms and/or laundry rooms are back to back and all the plumbing for water either coming in or going out is on a single wall. While this saves drafting, production, and construction costs, it certainly isn’t SAFERhome!
In a common bathroom it’s normal to see the shower/tub controls on the same end of the tub as the wall the toilet is on. This presents a number of problems, the biggest being the toilet bowl and reservoir, you often have to lean over and around to reach your shower/tub controls.
A simple solution
Put the controls on the opposite end by flipping the tub around 180° when you install it or move the toilet across the room. Yes, you will have to move one water source, but this shouldn’t take a plumber more than a few minutes and is not expensive to do during construction.
Off-set those controls by six or seven inches so they’re midway between the traditional centre line location and the outside edge of the tub instead of on the midpoint of the tub.
A professional plumber shouldn’t charge for this slight adjustment in location of the controls, and now you have a customized tub you don’t have to lean over to adjust. Not only is it friendlier to use, it presents itself well. You end up stepping into the wider and flatter area of the tub.
Control or tap handles are your choice. But if you are installing round handles, we recommend you choose a product which can easily and inexpensively be changed to a lever action handle in the future. You should also consider where you place the diverting lever — the knob you pull up and out of the tub faucet to allow the shower to engage. This lever doesn’t have to be part of the faucet. Other design options can be mounted separately but at the same height as the flow controls that are easier to use and that don’t cost a lot more to install.
Don’t hesitate to plumb for more than one showerhead. Think about it: can one height really satisfy your 6-foot something adult and your 4-foot pre-teenager? Or what about putting the second showerhead on a different wall altogether?
Consider using a flex hose on at least one head. If you have the room but not the funds while you’re building, why
not reserve room for a future hot tub by putting a standard five foot tub into a larger area — don’t forget an extra AC outlet too. You can use the additional space as ledges, bleachers, and toy storage etc. Then later, a hot tub can just slide right into the existing space.
Another detail you should address is the distance between the front of the toilet and the wall of the bathroom. In most homes there is only 28 to 30 inches of space. If you want to make the bathroom meet SAFERhome Standards, this area is called a “pinch point” and the space you should have here is the minimum door size of 34 inches. Now mom and her walker can get by the toilet on her way to the universal tub or shower.