The sizes of bathrooms and toilets in typical Soviet-built apartments, to put it mildly, are not very encouraging. As a rule, the area of the bathroom is no more than 2-3 m2, and the toilet can be only 1 m2 in area. There is no need to talk about convenience and exquisite design in such conditions. The redevelopment of the bathroom, which is aimed at increasing its area, will help to change the state of affairs for the better. What legal regulations and advice should be taken into account when doing this?
# 1. How to agree on the redevelopment?
Almost any action in the conversion of a bathroom must be coordinated with the relevant authorities. Depending on the scale of the change, you need to use one of the following two coordination schemes:
simplified diagram. Suitable for those who demolish the partition between the bathroom and toilet, but do not increase the area of the bathroom due to the adjacent premises. This option is also applicable when moving plumbing items from place to place, but is not suitable if you need to install a new item. In all these cases, a sketch will be sufficient;
redevelopment according to the project takes more time for all approval procedures. It is necessary in the case of combining a bathroom with adjacent rooms, for example, a storage room, or moving it to another part of an apartment or house. If you plan to increase the number of plumbing fixtures (for example, at the expense of a bidet), it is also necessary to draw up a project, because the amount of water consumed and the points of its use will be increased.
As you can see, such redevelopment requires a competent approach and coordination with the Housing Inspectorate. Unauthorized execution of assembly and dismantling works can result in impressive fines and an order to return the home to its original state.
Possible options for redevelopment of the bathroom today are as follows:
- transfer and / or replacement of plumbing fixtures;
- combining bathroom and toilet;
- division of a bathroom into a bathroom and a toilet;
- expansion of the bathroom area due to non-residential premises.
# 2. What legal norms should be taken into account?
Although the apartment is privately owned by each of us, you cannot do whatever you want with it. It is important to know the basic safety rules so that an innocent redevelopment of a bathroom in the desire to increase your comfort does not turn into a danger for all residents of the house and for household members.
When drawing up a plan for the future bathroom, you must take into account the following rules:
- redevelopment cannot be made if after it the bathroom is located above the living area or the kitchen of the neighbors below;
- the entrance to the bathroom cannot be from the kitchen or living quarters if this is the only toilet in the apartment. If, for example, there are two bathrooms equipped with a toilet, then the door to one of them can be located in the kitchen;
- unification of the bathroom requires high-quality waterproofing of the floor of the entire wet area. In order for the Housing Inspectorate to accept the redevelopment, it is imperative to remove the previous screed and put a new one (along with waterproofing). Such works must necessarily be reflected in the Hidden Works Act, otherwise the inspector may not accept the redevelopment;
the floor in the bathroom should be 1.5-2 cm lower than in the living area. You can avoid floor cutting by installing a dividing pad.
As for the requirements of ergonomics, for convenient use of the bathroom, the standards provide for the minimum required space in front of all plumbing fixtures. In front of the bathroom or shower – 70 cm or more, in front of the toilet – at least 60 cm, on the sides of it – 25 cm each, in front of the washbasin – 70 cm.
No. 3. What to consider when replacing plumbing?
Relocation and replacement of plumbing in most cases refers to the conversion, which is carried out according to the sketch and requires only the notification of the Housing Inspectorate. Replacement of one plumbing fixture with a similar size can be made even without notice. Coordination requires the transfer of devices from one place to another (for example, replacing the bathroom and toilet, etc.).
No. 4. What are the benefits of combining bathroom and toilet?
This redevelopment is one of the most popular. It allows you to increase the area of the bathroom, place a more spacious bathroom, or vice versa, free up significant space by installing a shower cabin. As a rule, the partition separating the toilet and the bathroom is not load-bearing, and therefore its demolition does not require the production of project documentation. A sketch made by a specialist of the design organization is enough.
The advantages of combining a bathroom are obvious:
- when dismantling the wall and eliminating one doorway, additional space is formed, which can be used to install the necessary plumbing and furniture items, and it will be more convenient to place them;
- saving on facing one wall and installing a door, because instead of two doorways there will be only one;
- often the problem of bathrooms in apartment buildings is not the most logical location of communications, which take up a lot of space. With redevelopment, this shortcoming, at least partially, can be eliminated.
A small life hack. If the layout of the apartment allows, it is better that the bathroom door opens outward. In this case, there will be more space in the bathroom for the location of the necessary items, and this is an increase in functionality.
No. 5. When should you refuse to combine a bathroom?
The main reason why they go to the process of dismantling the partition and combining the bathroom and toilet is the insufficient area of these premises. But in some cases, this is still not worth doing:
if the family is large, then at certain hours (in the morning and before bedtime) a queue will accumulate in the bathroom. In this case, it would be more expedient to have a separate bathroom;
- some elderly people, most of whose life was spent in Soviet times, still perceive the combined bathroom as something uncomfortable and not prestigious. If you don’t want to quarrel and upset the old people, it makes sense to leave the partition in place;
when the bathroom is adjacent to the kitchen. A shared bathroom is a source of odors that can enter the kitchen even with good ventilation and the use of air fresheners. And not everyone wants to endure the sounds of the flush cistern, reaching the diners from the bathroom.
No. 6. Features of combining a bathroom in Khrushchev and panel houses
The Khrushchev buildings are planned so that the wall between the toilet and the bathroom is not load-bearing, so it can be removed without fear. With panel houses, things are a little different. Often, it is possible to demolish a dividing wall in them, but there are houses in which it turns out to be a bearing. Owners of apartments in panel houses, already at the stage of thinking about redeveloping a bathroom, need to look at the registration certificate and make sure that such actions can be performed.
The process of dismantling a wall in a panel house is somewhat more complicated than a similar process in the same Khrushchev, because breaking reinforced concrete is not as easy as breaking a brick partition. In this case, a grinder is used, but it is difficult to do without supports for the walls, otherwise the concrete part of the wall may collapse, leaving only the reinforcement.
No. 7. Features of the expansion of the bathroom
Enlarging a bathroom or toilet can be done in two ways:
- at the expense of non-residential premises (corridor, storeroom);
- at the expense of living quarters.
The law clearly states that wet rooms (kitchen, bathroom or toilet) cannot be located above the living rooms of neighbors below. Therefore, an increase in the area of a bathroom due to living quarters in apartments located above the first floor is impossible. The only exceptions are two-level apartments (second level), as well as those apartments under which non-residential premises are located. It should also be remembered that the room, due to which the expansion of the wet zone occurred, ceases to be residential (it cannot accommodate a bedroom, nursery, living room, etc.).
When expanding through a corridor, it is required first to conduct a technical survey of the apartment for the possibility of this redevelopment. It is advisable to be conducted directly by a representative of the building designer. The survey will make it possible to find out whether the partitions between the bathroom and the corridor are non-bearing and whether it is possible to dismantle them without violating the integrity of the residential building. If the partitions are not load-bearing, then the reconciliation of the redevelopment is carried out according to the sketch, with the obligatory waterproofing of the entire wet zone and the reflection of this in the Act of hidden works.
No. 8. How to equip a combined bathroom?
After demolishing the partition and eliminating one doorway, additional space is formed that can be used to install the necessary items: a washing machine, bidet, cabinet, etc. But the first question that arises is what to use, a bath or a shower? Of course, using the bathroom is pleasant, but how often does someone in the family take it? If everyone mainly uses the shower, then the answer is obvious, and the space saved can be used profitably.
The choice of modern shower cabins, without exaggeration, is huge – there is a model for every taste. In addition, you can purchase a corner bathtub, which will be a compromise solution between a shower cabin and a regular bath. If even after combining the area of the bathroom is not very large, then a great option is to use a shower panel, which takes up a minimum of space.
Additional storage space can be conveniently organized under the sink by equipping it with a countertop and placing cabinets under it. It will be possible to store equipment items, towels, hygiene items there.
To visually make the bathroom a little more spacious, you can use some tricks. For decoration, it is better to choose light shades, to ensure a sufficient level of lighting in each of the zones, and the floor and shower area can be laid out with tiles of the same color. Instead of floor-standing plumbing, you can use hinged ones: the room will seem more spacious, and cleaning will be easier. Mirrors, like air, are necessary in the bathroom: they serve not only so that you can see yourself, but also visually enlarge the space, and if they are correctly located, they simply work wonders. It is better to give preference to large mirror canvases.
No. 9. We share a combined bathroom
As the number of older family members increases, a queue begins to gather in the bathroom during rush hours. At this point, many decide to share a combined bathroom. The wall will still have to be broken to form another doorway, and the partition can be laid out not only from bricks and foam blocks, but also from moisture-resistant drywall. The partition must be double. It will be possible to erect such a wall quickly, and it will not suffer in any way from the effects of water.
If there was a bathtub in the combined bathroom, now it will most likely have to be abandoned in favor of a corner option or a shower cabin. If you correctly plan the space, then you will be able to place another sink and a washing machine.
No. 10. What to do after redevelopment?
When the redevelopment has taken place, you need to take care of updating the technical passport for the apartment, which should reflect all the changes. The procedure will be something like this:
- call the inspector of the Housing Inspectorate;
- obtaining acts of hidden work from a construction organization that performed all the work;
- receipt of acts of the completed conversion from the inspector of the Housing Inspectorate, which are signed by the construction organization and returned to the inspection;
- calling a BTI technician for measurements;
- obtaining a new technical passport.
Already at the stage of the idea of re-equipping a bathroom, it is necessary to make sure whether this is possible in a particular case. If yes, then it is better to start by taking measurements and drawing up a plan for the arrangement of plumbing fixtures and furniture in the future bathroom: this will greatly facilitate all repair work and prompt their sequence.