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AC Plumbing & Gas - 10 Minutes

Amanda Claasen, AC Plumbing & Gas, 12/03/2019

AC Plumbing and Gasfitting Ltd was established in December 2005 so we have been in business for 13 years, 12 of them spent in Feilding.

Our family lives in Feilding, but our office and workshop are based at 52a Bennett Street Palmerston North.

We currently have 4 staff, Ayleen in the office, answering the phones, general admin and scheduling jobs. She’s also pretty good at chasing up overdue accounts. Sean, who is a register plumber/gasfitter and drainlayer. Nick, who has been with us for 4 years, and is one block course and two exams away from being a registered plumber/gasfitter and Andrew who was a gateway student from FHS, and is now our latest apprentice.

Today I am going talk about plumbing considerations when renovating an existing home.

New houses are wonderful because you get a clean slate. While you may be constrained by budget or room size, you are able to tailor your plumbing to suit your fixture choice

Existing homes are not so simple. There are a number of considerations to be take into account and homeowners often have to work with their existing plumbing and the challenges that presents.

First - Check if you need consents

You need to work out whether or not you will need a building consent for your work. Find out what building work is exempt under the Building Act, when you need to involve your council, and when to call in the experts.

Failing to have a consent

You are breaking the law if you carry out building work that is not exempt and do not have a building consent. You may be fined up to $200,000 and, if work continues, a further fine of up to $10,000 for every day or part day during which the offence continues.

Your council can also issue you an infringement notice for carrying out building work without consent. This incurs an infringement fee of $1000. They can remove the building work if it is dangerous or insanitary.

Plumbing work requiring a consent

1 Plumbing and drainage where additional sanitary fixture is created (some repair and maintenance may be exempt) 2 Installing a woodburner or air-conditioning system 3 In some cases if you are upgrading a water heating system you need a consent. 4 Tiled shower inserts as these need the waterproofing inspected.

Work that does not require a consent

Interestingly, if you wanted to cover your bases, You can still choose to apply for a building consent, even if building work is exempt. Your local council must process your application.

Renovation Considerations

Consider where your current bathroom plumbing is positioned in the room. The less you need to reposition these, the less you will need to spend. You should also consider how well your old inlets and outlets will work with new fixtures and fittings. Other questions to ask include what type of water pressure do you have? What kind of flooring do you have? Do you want to open the walls up and how much redecorating you are willing to do?


What type of toilet do you currently have? Is it a S or P trap? The trap is the bend in the toilet pipe that gets rid of the waste, and keeps sewer gases from coming up into your bathroom

Measure the set out. The set out is the distance from the wall to the centre of the waste outlet for an S-trap, and the floor to the outlet for a P-trap. Set-outs vary, so make sure you take those measurements with you when selecting a toilet.

Common toilet designs include back to wall, close coupled, and wall hung. Back to wall toilet cisterns are attached directly to the bathroom wall, which allows the pipes to be hidden.

With close coupled toilets, the cistern and toilet pan are joined together to hide the flush pipe.

Wall hung toilets are mounted to the wall and have space beneath them for a clean, modern look.


There are 2 main types being wall hung or to the floor vanities.

Is your existing plumbing through the floor or the wall?

If you opt for a wall hung vanity, is there fixing in the wall to support the new unit?

Do you want one basin or two because if you want to add a second basin to your bathroom there will be additional plumbing required for taps and waste-water pipes.

And then taps, if you want to use a mixer, you’ll only need a one tap hole basin. However, if you want a more traditional setup where there are separate taps for both hot and cold water, you’ll need to use a three tap hole basin.


Do you want an inbuilt bath or freestanding bath?

Where is the existing plumbing for the bath mixer placement, did you want a freestanding tap or will it be mounted on the wall? Is a shower over bath an option for you?

Also remember to consider how heavy the bath is and can your existing floor cope with the weight.


There are so many options including free standing shower cubicles or tiled showers. Remember that tiled showers need waterproofing. There are many different types of wastes and various options for slide showers or fixed shower heads or even rain shower heads. Water efficiency is also a consideration for many home owners.

Before you start your renovation, if you have any doubts about building consent requirements, please contact your local council and then you can contact your local plumber, AC Plumbing & Gasfitting Ltd.

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