These poor words have now acquired an almost pejorative meaning, stemming from the frustrations often met with by the citizen in trying to deal with the planning authorities. In fact, in planning your bathroom you will not need to be involved with the planners unless you are altering the external appearance of your house, by, for example, inserting a new window, or if you live in a listed building (on the List of Buildings of Architectural or Historical Interest). In this case, you will need listed building consent to alter the building even if you are not altering the external appearance. If you live in a conservation area you should take advice if you wish to alter your house, as it may be on a list currently being prepared. In any case, there should be no difficulty in obtaining planning permission, although this can take at least two months.
Planning permission must not be confused with Building Regulation approval, which will be required if you are altering drainage and so on. Should you be adding an extension to your house, then planning permission from your local council will probably be needed. Application forms and drawings will have to be provided and you will almost certainly require professional help in preparing these. You should note that improvements to your house, other than installing central heating or bathroom taps, should not affect its rateable value, but an addition or extension to the house almost certainly will.
More accidents occur in the home than in any other place of work, and many of the most serious take place in the bathroom. For obvious reasons, the hazards in a bathroom are more extreme, with the combination of water, electricity, and possibly gas, and the lack of protective clothing. Sensible people will avoid open-fronted electric power sockets, unventilated gas water heaters and other dangerous fixtures, but there are quite easy measures that can be taken to eliminate the less obvious hazards. Children and old people are particularly at risk and it seems only sensible that grab handles and non-slip surfaces should be incorporated into every bathroom, and not only into those designed for the old or disabled. Most good electricians will refuse to install unsafe electrical systems into bathrooms, but there is no such guarantee with other trades. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has this to say: lt is particularly important to guard against the use of portable electrical appliances in the bathroom, in particular, such things as record players, electric hair dryers, and electric fires, plugged into an open fronted power point. Do-it-yourselfers are particularly prone to dangerous electrical installations. Other important points include the necessity to ensure good ventilation whenever there is a gas water heater, and the vital need to make certain that the old, infirm or very young are always supervised in the bathroom.
Saunas and suchlike
Saunas, solaria, and impulse showers are, we think, beyond the scope of this website. Anyone considering such luxuries will be prepared to spend at least £1000 and will be thinking about far more than the bathroom. It may well be sensible to consider these installations in conjunction with a bathroom, however, and several specialist firms will be able to advise them on the best taps for them.