Before beginning a bathroom project, you will need to consider the infrastructure of the bathroom space and related areas in the home. In chapter 5, Form 6: Jobsite Inspection is provided to help you carefully examine the structure of the home, particularly the areas where the bathroom project will take place. No matter what type of construction project you have planned, from remodeling a bathroom to designing a new one, you must take time to carefully plan infrastructure needs and double-check your list so that nothing is forgotten. Forgetting or miscalculating some aspect of the installation may not only be difficult to change later, but most likely expensive as well.

This chapter provides an overview of the structural and plumbing infrastructure considerations that may impact your decisions while designing a bathroom project.

Learning Objective: identify infrastructure needs assessment issues that can be posed by floors, walls, windows, and plumbing


The fundamental regulations that govern the types of materials that can be used in construction, as well as how they may be used, are called building codes. Although you may be working with a plumber or contractor who is very familiar with these codes, having a working knowledge of the codes will help you be more aware of restrictions or requirements that must be followed as you develop a bathroom design. Building codes are legally binding, and inspection may be required to assure compliance.

Although a new model international building code, called the International Residential Code (IRC), has been developed to form a set of consistent, correlated, comprehensive, and contemporary build­ing code regulations for homes throughout North America, the code must be adopted by state and/ or local governments. Some states and jurisdictions also adopt other codes in addition to the IRC or a more stringent version of a portion of the code. So becoming familiar with the state and local codes specific to your area is essential. A few specific items to be aware of are included in this chapter.

In addition to residential construction codes, your bathroom project may be covered by one or more codes targeted at making buildings accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility codes and laws for the United States and Canada are discussed in chapter 4, "Human Factors and Uni­versal Design Foundation."