Ann Boardman, customer services and marketing manager for Saniflo UK, highlights some interesting facts about how our changing society is increasingly relying on property conversions that include additional bathroom facilities to make life more comfortable and the ingenious solutions available to deliver a dream bathroom in some very awkward spaces:
There’s no doubt that the market for bathroom products used in conjunction with macerators and pumps is likely to grow, if the results of the 2011 Census are anything to go by. More people than ever are living alone (with the number of single person households growing by 166,000 a year) and the UK’s growing ageing population is increasingly converting and adapting their homes to create extra facilities.
A 2014 report from ComRes reveals that one in ten (11 per cent) of British adults report having a mobility problem, meaning that they could benefit from a disabled-friendly home, whilst a recent DisabledGo report states there are 12 million people in Britain with disabilities with an estimated spending power of £200 billion.
The ComRes report claims many disabled and older people unable to live comfortably, unless they convert their property and states that two-thirds (63 per cent) of people reporting mobility impairments say they do not have a bathroom large enough to fit a wheelchair into.
Many people – young singles, the over 60s and people with disabilities – are taking matters into their own hands and opting to convert their properties to make them more comfortable and in many cases these conversions are only possible thanks to macerators and pumps.
Macerators and pumps are designed for unconventional situations where a water supply can reach but drainage is a problem. Basements, lofts, garages, even under stairs cupboards can all become bathroom spaces with the use of these and compact bathroom products.
There’s a wide range of pumps and macerators perfect for awkward spaces whether that’s adding a bath in the basement, a loo in the loft or a shower under the stairs, all providing the industry with an opportunity to think adventurously about using all the available space, no matter how seemingly impossible.
In a loft conversion, for example, space is particularly limited for an en-suite in the rafters. You can hide a pump or macerator in the triangular loft space next to the room and this is enough to service a WC, wash basin and shower, giving you a more complete en-suite rather than just a WC and basin.
Even an under the stairs cupboard can be converted with a WC that has an built-in macerator, meaning there’s no need for a bulky cistern, which allows extra space for the door to open inwards without compromising access.
Ceiling height can be an issue in conversions. A great showering solution for these lower ceiling spaces is a shower cubicle in a shorter version designed specifically for such awkward spaces. Also consider a low-level shower tray, so the overall height of the shower is not compromised by a high tray. These complete self-contained cubicles also save time, as the installation process is less disruptive partly because no tiling is required and a cubicle can even fit over the existing décor. Some conversions are only made possible thanks to macerator and pump solutions.
Let’s consider the option of creating a new bedroom and bathroom in the roof space of a property, one where the existing drainage infrastructure isn’t adequate for a traditional bathroom solution. In such a scenario it will be important to cleverly hide pumps behind a wall in the new bathroom and you might need a solution for the WC and basin and another for the shower. If hidden, it’s essential to guarantee easy access, this could be achieved by proving a large hatch in the adjoining bedroom, for example.
Achieving a beautiful contemporary en-suite bathroom that makes life more comfortable, adds value to the property and saves on the cost of expensive groundworks is possible with macerators and pumps, even within the existing drainage footprint.
So, rest assured that the next time you’re presented with a seemingly impossible request for a new – domestic or commercial – bathroom, before dismissing it and saying it’s not possible, look at the wide variety of macerators and pumps available today and seek professional, technical input from the manufacturers. You’ll not only fulfill the dream of your client, but you could also save them a lot of money, time and hassle.