The Federation of Master Builders

Dealing with a Dilemma

The Redwood’s aim was to rejuvenate their en-suite bathroom

That the bathtub might be too big to squeeze up to the first floor of their home was an afterthought for Claire and Paul Redwood when planning the redevelopment of their master ensuite bathroom last year. So when it arrived on the back of a lorry at their detached six bedroom family home in Esher, Surrey, questions were raised.

The answers came from their builder Andy Stevens at Eclipse Property Solutions, who rebuilt one wall of the bathroom in order to crane the 200kg-plus bathtub upstairs.

The plan was always to install a larger window in this wall looking out on the back garden, so when Andy and his team were given the opportunity to install the bathtub by crane they took it knowing it would be an impossible task to navigate the staircase.

The Redwood’s aim was to rejuvenate their ensuite bathroom, linking it to the master bedroom via a dressing room, which was converted from a redundant bedroom. The recently developed family bathroom was then revamped again with tiles laid to match the work carried out on the new bathroom.

Having previously completed work for Claire’s sister Amanda on her renovation project in London, Andy was an obvious first choice for the Redwood’s bathroom project. “Andy Stevens was recommended to me by my sister who had previously used him with a larger renovation project,” says Claire. “I trusted my sister and her decision and I am very pleased with the result and how they went about their work.”

Andy has tackled several projects similar to this in his time as a builder and believes trust is essential to success, and needs to be a two-way street. Dealing with the installation of the bathtub is a prime example of why earning the trust of your customer is beneficial for both parties.

The design came mainly from Claire, who was confident in taking on the planning and management of her bathroom with the help of Andy’s experience. Together the pair perfected the plans and tweaked the design. Andy also came up with the idea of displaying the bath on a raised platform, rather than simply locating it on the tiled floor, to really make the most of the feature. The inclusion of recessed shelves is not only practical in this situation but also provides flair and character with the lighting giving a relaxed aura.

Changes to a builder’s brief are so commonplace that it’s something Andy and his team sensibly factor into their planning process. Making sure that their client is well aware of the possible challenges that can relate to bathroom refurbishments is at the forefront of preparations. “The key is to get that relationship right from the start,” Andy says. “The average job we do never finishes in the same way that we expect and plan it at the start. When you do these things people start to make changes and that’s why you have to have that relationship with your client and make sure that they are able to trust you. “The work starts for us before the work really starts. I am there well before the first work is done on the project, sorting everything out so that when you do start you haven’t forgotten or missed something.”

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