Glenn Payne Head of Projects UK at GROHE offers bathroom specification advice for local authorities and affordable housing developers.
The changing market of affordable housing
Planning a bathroom to meet future needs is an integral consideration for any affordable housing project. Fortunately, in 2018, ‘affordable’ can go hand in hand with style and quality when the right products and brands are specified. Local authorities no longer have to comprise on looks and quality when working within a specific budget. Here’s why:
GROHE Bau: An affordable solution for coordinating bathroom design
The Bau range of bathroom ceramics launched in 2017 and allows GROHE to offer a full bathroom solution for projects. The GROHE bathroom solution now encompasses sanitary ware, fixtures and fittings. Bau was developed with streamlined aesthetics and functionality in mind. It offers a contemporary, yet versatile design with soft, round forms that can work within any bathroom interior. Positioned at an affordable price point, the range offers on-trend features such as wall hung toilets and high-quality ceramics manufactured in Europe. All Bau ceramic toilets come complete with rimless technology as standard, making them effortless to clean. Such an understated yet versatile design is the perfect solution for public building specifications such as schools, as well as for social housing projects.
Featuring a clean and modern design, the Bau collection will co-ordinate effectively with a large range of bathroom styles. Offering wide design variety, installers can choose between basins, toilets, urinals and Bau Cosmopolitan accessories, to ensure a perfectly coordinated finish for the client. All fittings are available in various heights and models to best suit the room and space, from full and semi-basin pedestals to rimless wall-hung, floor-standing and close-coupled WCs. A variety of mounting options are also available for design flexibility and homes with multi-generational and less-able residents. All products have been designed to ensure a hassle-free and quick installation for specifiers and installers. For ultimate peace of mind, the Bau collection is available with a five year guarantee on all products.
Increasingly strict sustainability regulations in the housebuilding sector means there is an interest from specifiers for water-saving products. The expectation to conform to a rating system like LEED or the WELL efficiency label combined with the designer/specifier being more aware of sustainable products means we are seeing more technologies such as Infrared ‘touchless‘ taps specified on affordable housing projects. At GROHE, we are committed to providing sustainable solutions, and many of our products feature water and energy saving technologies. For example, our EcoJoy technology works to reduce water consumption without impacting on product performance through aeration. Homeowners will still receive a powerful and enjoyable water experience. Another example is our showers that either come with, or can have fitted a flow restrictor, which allows users to accurately regulate the flow of water at a chosen flow rate, whatever the system pressure.
Where to spend and where to save in bathroom specification
If you are looking to create a premium design by installing concealed products into the bathroom (like shower valves, basin mixers or built-in flush systems) this will certainly save space but will result in higher costs. When designing a bathroom based on aesthetics, direct your spending towards a particular focal feature, for example a large shower head or high spout tap, and opt for slightly lower priced items elsewhere in the bathroom.
To ensure a bathroom lasts for a long time, consider investing into mechanical parts hidden behind the wall. It is important that built in flush systems and shower valves are protected to prevent damage during and after installation, which will help to reduce maintenance costs further down the line. Brassware fittings should also be a focus as, when properly maintained, they will stand the test of time. Opt for a brand with strict quality testing procedures so you know the product will still be functioning to the same high standards for years to come.
Finally, an effective way to reduce costs is to install a shower system which offers all the benefits of a fixed head and hand shower, but is secured to the wall instead of behind it. Costs and installation is reduced with a valve secured to the wall and you still get the great benefits of a powerful shower.