Bathroom Refurbishment

“The Lifetime Homes principle seeks to provide an accessible bathroom that has ease of access to its facilities.”

with the fitting of slip-resistant flooring. Easy-to-use tap handles, such as those in mixer taps, could also be more suitable for elderly residents compared to taps that twist, so consider this when deciding on the fittings for sinks and other sanitaryware.

Enhanced safety For safety’s sake, it’s sensible to install anti-scalding devices for showers. These would be particularly useful for those who are at risk from burns or slips due to a sudden change of water temperature. However, such devices would be a welcome addition to any bathroom in a rented accommodation, where protection of scalds and injuries to tenants should be a top priority for facility managers. Fitting humidistat fans will improve ventilation and reduce the risk of

mould growth on the premises. While some tenants could be reluctant to turn on their extractor fans amid worries over energy bills, this is not a concern with humidistat fans, which operate automatically depending on the humidity level in the room. This alone makes these solutions a worthwhile investment, which can help protect the building fabric while

keeping bathrooms safe and pleasant for residents. Another good idea is to install water resistant screening boards

instead of tiles. Boards require limited maintenance, help prevent mould growth, and are less likely to require replacing compared to grouted tiles. Apart from creating a nicer bathroom environment, it could potentially lower the refurbishment costs of void properties.

Lifetime Homes The Lifetime Homes principle seeks to provide an accessible bathroom that has ease of access to its facilities from the outset, and potential for simple adaptation in the future to meet the residents’ changing needs. With the number of people aged 65 or over set to increase over the

coming decades, we expect the number of bathroom refurbishments and adaptations to also increase accordingly and we advise housing providers to think ahead. Bathrooms can typically have a lifespan of anywhere between 20 and 40 years, depending on the housing provider. With careful thought to the future and to the needs of current and future occupants, unnecessary costs and upheaval can be avoided if certain design decisions are made from the outset. Through our liaison with tenants, we know that strong communication

and swift completion of work is of utmost importance to residents, and something that housing providers and landlords should take into account when planning such works.

Antony Newton is regeneration director at J Tomlinson

32 | HMM July 2017 |

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