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I have a half bath that is 5' 2" x 7' 3" (measured from drywall to drywall) that I'm hoping to add a shower to. I know that it will be tight, and I'm ok with that, but I'm trying to figure out if I can do it to code. Below is a diagram of the installation I'm contemplating. I'm planning on tiling the shower, and I've allowed 3/4" for the thickness of the waterproofing membrane, thinset, and tile on the left wall, which is why the full length is only 86.25" rather than 87".

Layout

My municipality recognizes the 2015 International Residential Code, which I believe is the proper code governing clearances here. My questions are as follows:

  1. For the shower, I am planning on installing a glass wall in the middle of the shower curb. Does the width of the shower curb that is on the shower side of the glass count towards the minimum dimension specified in P2708.1 of the code?

    Shower compartments shall be not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in minimum dimension measured from the finished interior dimension of the shower compartment, exclusive of fixture valves, shower heads, soap dishes, and safety grab bars or rails. The minimum required area and dimension shall be measured from the finished interior dimension at a height equal to the top of the threshold and at a point tangent to its centerline and shall be continued to a height of not less than 70 inches (1778 mm) above the shower drain outlet.

    It seems to me that since the minimum dimension is measured "from the top of the threshold," I could theoretically reduce the shower width to 27.75" and still hit the 30" minimum when the 2.25" width of the enclosed shower curb is included (I'm not including the thickness of the glass for simplicity). I'm just not clear on where the point "tangent to its centerline" is, as curves have tangents, not centerlines.

  2. Do I need to account for the 6" high shower curb when measuring the clearance for the toilet, or will this clearance be measured from the glass shower wall that is centered on the shower curb? The relevant code is as follows (section P2705):

    A water closet, lavatory or bidet shal not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition or vanity or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center between adjacent fixtures.

    I could see this being at the discretion of the inspector, and if I am correct regarding question 1 above, then I can eliminate the shower curb's overlap with the toilet clearance by reducing the size of the shower floor and moving the glass partition from the middle of the curb to the edge. I would prefer not to do this if I don't have to, however.

  3. Based on the section P2705 quoted above, it would seem that my vanity placement will not work, as the center of the sink will only be 27" from the center of the toilet, and 12" from the adjacent wall. That said, I believe that 24" vanities in corners are fairly commonplace, so am I missing something here? I can find a lot online about toilet clearance, but few discussions on sink clearance. I am able to find corner mount sinks, and these would allow me to achieve 30"+ of clearance between the center of the sink and the center of the toilet, but I can't fathom how these would be to code if you need 15" of clearance from the wall.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide on any of these questions.

Edit: I also realize that showers with an area greater than 1,300 square inches can actually have a minimum dimension as small as 25", so I can reduce the width if I have to. 30" is already really tight though, so I don't want to go much smaller than that unless I absolutely have to.

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    We have some code wizards here at DIYSE, but I'd run your plans by your inspection office. They're the final word. – isherwood Apr 2 '18 at 19:43
  • Code doesn't say "specify to minimum dimension", it says "build to minimum dimension". So don't specify to minimum dimension or you'll find that your spec 30" got built as 29-5/8" (e.g. bathroom not square, materials thickness unaccounted for, build tolerance, you name it) and is now redtagged and you have to tear it out. BTDT. – Harper Apr 2 '18 at 20:14
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    Have you thought about a corner pedestal sink rather than a vanity? Would reduce the dimensions of that area and allow for the toilet and shower to be moved a little... – Jeff Cates Apr 2 '18 at 20:49
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    We were faced by a similar problem -- 68"x73". We put the shower and the toilet side-by-side against one 68" side, and the door and a pedestal sink on the other. We use free standing clear glass for the shower walls and door, and also angled the shower door. See imgur.com/a/Nf8rO – Jay Elston Apr 4 '18 at 6:09
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because these are questions only your specific building inspector/code office will decide. – The Evil Greebo Jul 19 '18 at 13:32
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Just in case anyone stumbles on this post, I got a few answers from my local building department. Since my local building department uses unmodified versions of the 2015 international codes (Building, Plumbing, Residential, etc.), their guidance should be applicable to many other municipalities.

In short, the design I submitted was not approved. As the code clearly states, lavatories (i.e. the sink) must have a minimum clearance of 15" on either side, no exceptions. So, while there are many 24" and smaller vanities out there, if you put them in a corner, they will not be up to the 2015 International Residential Code or the 2015 International Plumbing Code.

Finally, as it relates to my questions on the shower curb infringing on the minimum clearances for the toilet and the shower, my municipality was not concerned with this, they said they would measure the clearances from the glass shower wall. Other municipalities may differ, so always check with your local inspector.

Here's a plan of the design that I eventually got approved by the city.

Approved Design

  • I’d switch the vanity with the toilet. This will give you the 21” clearance required in front of the toilet (without interfering with the door swing) (See Code R307.1) Also it gives a bit of “screening” to the toilet upon entrance into the bathroom and your reflection in the mirror over your vanity location will conflict with the light coming in the window. – Lee Sam Aug 4 '18 at 3:46
  • The toilet and vanity were originally swapped. We switched to this layout because the bathroom is at the top of a flight of stairs, and you would have been staring at the toilet all the way up the stairs when the bathroom door is open. – Nick Anderson Aug 4 '18 at 5:07
  • Yuk...I’d leave it that way too. – Lee Sam Aug 4 '18 at 5:54

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