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How to hire guide: bathroom designers and fitters

The bathroom of your dreams becomes reality when you hire the right tradespeople. But where do you start? Here are some pointers on finding the best local bathroom designers and fitters.

Finding a good bathroom designer and fitter

If friends and family have told you all about their brilliant bathroom, then that’s a good place to start. Failing that, bathroom refurbishments don’t come cheap so previous customers will always have something to say about the outcome of their outlay! Look for bathroom fitters with lots of positive reviews and check their profile photographs and company websites. Have they undertaken work similar to yours? Do they have specialities, such as bathroom design, wet rooms or accessible bathrooms and showers?

You should also consider whether different aspects of the job should be done by specialist traders. Would an experienced tiler, who could complete the job quicker and to a better standard, save money or be worth any extra cost? Apply the same test to other tradespeople, such as plumbers or painters and decorators.

Bear in mind that any gas-related work should be carried out by a Gas Safe-registered gas engineer, while you’ll need electrical work completed to be undertaken by a qualified Part P electrician.

Trade associations in this industry include The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI). All Which? Trusted Traders undergo rigorous vetting, but another accreditation from a trade association might give you extra reassurance about a prospective bathroom fitter's professionalism.

Getting bathroom design and fitting quotes

Some bathroom fitters have showrooms. Visiting is a good way of seeing what’s available and get-ting a feel for how much it would cost. In addition to the items on display in the showroom, most will have catalogues from lots of manufacturers. Don’t feel bad about browsing for ideas as the best bathroom designers won’t pressurise you into a sale.

Get at least three quotes for any bathroom design or fitting job, whether large or small. Try to get quotes that can be easily compared and make sure they include any ‘hidden’ costs such as waste disposal. Ask potential bathroom fitters if they have a minimum charge. If they do, you could end up paying through the nose for small jobs.

Another thing to look out for is subcontracting. The benefit of a bathroom fitter that subcontracts some of the work is that you’re more likely to have a specialist, who has already successfully partnered with your chosen trader, undertaking the job. On the flip side, can you trust a trader that you haven’t personally hired? Find out where this leaves you, legally, in the event of anything going wrong.

Check that your prospective bathroom fitting company has insurance that covers them for any damage inadvertently caused to your property.

Be clear on the supply of materials, too. Is it more cost effective to buy a basin and bath, for exam-ple, yourself? Or can the bathroom fitter get trade prices and organise convenient delivery?

Hiring a bathroom designer and fitter

If you’re undertaking a complete bathroom refurbishment, then your bathroom design company might have supplied a sketch or mock-up. Make sure you are clear on every aspect of the drawing as, once agreed, the fitters should follow it to the letter.

Any major work should come with a contract to be signed at the outset. Check this carefully – it should include, as a minimum: the total cost, the payment schedule and start and completion dates. Make sure you understand the terms of any insurances and guarantees, too.

Paying for bathroom work

If the job demands lots of costly materials, then it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the bathroom fitting company to ask for a deposit up front or on commencement. Under these circumstances, you should make sure that a significant amount will reserved until completion – this gives you more power should anything not go to plan.

Find and hire a Which? endorsed bathroom fitter and designer in your local area.

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