August 9th, 2020 in


Use a Site Establishment Checklist Before Starting Construction

Before starting any construction work, it’s vitally important that you have a site establishment checklist on hand.

Checklist can come in handy to keep track of all the things to be done in any situation. And it is ideal to have a checklist right before the most important stage of renovation or construction – the on-site work.

It’s there to help you prepare the building site so the renovation process can begin.

What is a Site Establishment Checklist?

Site establishment checklist will make sure you have done all the required safety measures and preparation for the upcoming site work to proceed without any hiccups.

Site establishment includes things like:

  • Protection to floors and existing surfaces.
  • Safety signs and first aid equipment.
  • Designated areas for material deliveries and rubbish etc.


It’s during this stage (or day on site) that you will also need to locate all of your mains services like water supply, gas and electricity.

  • Know where they’re located in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t scramble around trying to find a buried water meter at the last minute.


Below is an example of a checklist that I use for site establishment (note: if you’ve enrolled in the How To Renovate A Bathroom video course, all these templates are included).


Site Establishment Checklist example

Below is the demonstration on how to use the site establishment checklist.

Keep The Neighbours Informed!

This is also the time you’ll want to let your neighbours know when you intend to start with your renovation.

  • A letter dropped into the mailbox of your surrounding neighbours is all you need.
  • Let them know to expect a little noise and dust for a few weeks.
  • Give them a heads up if parking will be an issue due to tradesmen trucks and deliveries.


Here’s an example of a standard template letter that you could use.


Site Establishment checklist letter for neighbours


You can download the Neighbours letter template here.

By doing this upfront you can save yourself a lot of headache by not surprising your neighbours with it. And remember that you have to live with these guys longer than the duration of your renovation project, so be mindful.


How to Perform Site Establishment

Site establishment can be anywhere from a couple of hours to take care of a few basics, through to a couple of days for larger projects.

Below are some of the typical site establishment checklist items for a bathroom renovation.


Site Establishment Checklist


1) Neighbour notification letters

Inform your neighbours of intended start date and site contact numbers.
Do this at least 2 weeks prior to starting on site.


2) First Aid equipment

To be stored on site in a prominent location.
Include for any site inductions with new contractors on site.


3) Site amenities

Including toilets, running water, site sheds, tool lock ups, lunchrooms, etc.


4) Permits

May need to be obtained from local authorities for project specific items i.e. skip bins, work zones or traffic control items.


5) Traffic control

Needs to be considered for organizing deliveries and managing pedestrians.


6) Plumbing and electrical services

Need to be disconnected to work zones prior to construction.
Temporary utilities may need to be installed for the duration of the build.


7) Signage

Builders contact details.
Private certifiers (if you have one) contact details.
Relevant warning signs.
Location of site office signs or any safety and induction signs to be erected on the site fence or in a prominent location.


8) Dial before you dig services

Is required before arriving on site.
This ensures that any authorities services or mains will not be damaged during construction.


9) Insurances

To cover the type of work being undertaken during construction.
Homeowners household insurances may need to be varied or amended during the course of the building works.
Includes insurances like:

  • Public liability.
  • Workers compensation.
  • Construction all risk.
  • Homeowners warranty.


10) Check approved development application

Ensure your DA is installed or considered at the time of the site establishment being carried out.


As I mentioned before, every bathroom renovation project is different so you’ll need to do some research well in advance to see what requirements need to be in place. By using a site establishment checklist you’ll ensure that all bases are covered.

The one thing I can’t stress enough though is to plan ahead and have everything ready for day one.

You don’t want be putting these measures in place during the project as it could be unsafe for anyone on site. You could also potentially risk heavy fines from authorities is you’re found not to be compliant with the requirements in your DA.


How to get site establishment checklist?

The site establishment checklist I use is available free for download with the Bathroom renovation course that will help both builders and owners to take up bathroom refresh.

Check out the bathroom renovation course for a complete guide on managing renovation projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason




Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.


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August 9th, 2020 in


How to do a Bathroom Demolition Properly?

When it comes to the bathroom demolition stage, it’s a good idea to have a plan of action before you get started!

How to do a Bathroom Demolition Properly


1. Turn Off Your Water & Electricity

Always have your services capped off and made safe prior to any demolition by your plumber and electrician.

If you don’t feel confident in removing any items such as basins, baths, taps, toilets, light fittings and power points – then you can ask the professionals to remove them while they are making the area safe for demolition.

Familiarize yourself where all your service meters are located for your electrical meter, water meter and gas. Even after your contractors have been out to make the area safe before demolition there can still be a pipe buried in the wall that may get damaged during the bathroom demolition.

The last thing you want is to have water flooding your house and you cannot locate a water meter that might be buried in a garden!

bathroom demolition work

2. Check What’s Behind The Wall

Another consideration is what is behind your tiles, if you have a hollow wall (timber frame with wall sheeting), there could be a possibility that asbestos sheeting may have been used.

Depending on the age of your house, if this is a concern then an occupational hygienist can be engaged to test the materials and let you know before you start work.

Here is an example of a company here is Sydney that can perform such an inspection – You can always find similar professionals in your home town and country.


3. Inspect What Lies Below The Surface

With all renovation / demolition projects it can be hard to determine what lies below the surface, and sometimes the full extent of any damage or repairs needed may not be known until things are ripped apart.

For example in some old bathrooms waterproofing is non-existent and water damage over many years may result in a rotten timber floor below your tiles that may need replacing. Termites also come and go, and pulling linings off walls can often expose paper thin timber framed structural walls.


4. Have a Cash Contingency Plan

In most cases I would recommend having a 10-15% variation contingency up your sleeve for costs that might be unknown.

A few extra grand on a 20K bathroom might be all you need to be safe, but its recommended to have a little buffer for those hidden surprises.

bathroom demolition tools

5. Bathroom Demolition Tools

If you plan on tackling the demolition yourself, here is a list of tools and equipment you may need.


Now with the above recommended tools listed out, you need to ask yourself if I already own many of these tools? If not, what would it cost me to purchase or hire them for a few days or a week?

If the costs start adding up it may actually be cheaper to hire a demolition contractor or carpenter to come in and do your demolition and strip out of the bathroom for you.

Demolition can be a rewarding task when you get to pull out that ugly bath that you’ve had to put up with for years! But it can also be dangerous, so make sure you have fun but play it safe!


If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason




Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.


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August 14th, 2020 in


Bathroom Renovation Carpentry Guide for owners and builders

Here I outline some handy carpentry tips and advice to cover both structural elements and final fit offs.

Carpentry Guide for a Bathroom Renovation


The carpentry stage in a bathroom renovation will usually come before the installation of services. For example, if a partition wall is required to be built that will have new services running through it.

Some bathrooms may be a simple strip out and re-installation of services, so your carpentry tasks will probably only be minor. While other bathrooms can be more complex and require the skills of a carpenter in more stages throughout your renovation.


1. What Jobs Will a Carpenter Do?

Some of the tasks that a carpenter can undertake on a bathroom renovation are as follows, but not limited to:

  • The actual demolition of your existing bathroom.
  • Installation of partition walls or new wall framing.
  • Relocation of doorways and window.
  • Subfloor replacement of concrete or new fibros cement sheeting.
  • Replacement of rotten or damaged timbers.
  • New structural elements (if required).
  • New window and door installations.
  • Blocking out (framing) for toilet roll holders and other wall fixtures.
  • Installation of new cabinetry.
  • Fittings such as towel rails, mirrors etc.


So you can see from the above that a carpenter can play a pretty big part in your bathroom renovation.

carpentry tips bathroom wall

2. Where Will Your Fixtures Go?

One major tip to consider if you have timber framed walls when renovating your bathroom, is the location of any fixtures that need to be mounted i.e. towel rails, toilet roll holders ect.

If you can mark the locations of these on plan then a carpenter can install timber blocking between the studs so that solid fixing can be achieved. We have all seen the results of poor fixings into a hollow wall.

Once your carpenter has done his part in the early stages they’ll usually be back at the fit off stage.

3. Discuss Plans With Your Carpenter

Its important to run through the plans and put a scope together with your carpenter at the initial quoting stages. That way you can make sure that everything you would like them to do is covered in there quote.


Carpentry Fit Off

This is the stage of the project where your carpenter will come back and fit off items such as:

  • Towel rails.
  • Toilet roll holders.
  • Vanity cabinets.
  • Install doors.
  • Door locks and door furniture.
  • Window locks.
  • Robe hooks.
  • Mirrors shaving cabinets.
  • And much more depending on your scope.


If you are handy on a hammer drill you may be able to save yourself a few dollars by installing some of your own fittings.

Just be aware that it can be quite easy to scratch or chip a tile if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Here are a few videos covering some more carpentry tips that may help if you want to have a crack yourself.

1. How to Drill Through Ceramic Tiles Without Scratching Them


2. How to Install a Hotwire Heated Towel Rack


Now if you have a door that needs replacing and you are feeling adventurous you may also want to try and install one yourself. But I will advise that this is one of the trickiest things to master as a carpenter, and you’ll require a few specialist tools for the job.

That said if you would like to try your hand at it here is another full tutorial on how to go about it.

3. How To Install An Internal Door (Plus Lock) – Complete Beginners Guide


So that about covers it for my carpentry tips. Now it’s time to bring in your plumber and electrician for Stage 4: Construction – the installation of New Bathroom Services.


To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process




Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.


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August 8th, 2020 in


Best In-depth Bathroom Tiling Tips no one tells you

There’s a lot to cover when it comes to bathroom tiling. But if you’re new to renovating some of the technical terms may go over your head.

However, I am not gonna bore you with the regular procedure of laying the tiles. You can check out other articles on Bathroom tiling for it. This is the in-depth insight from a 25+ year experienced builder.

Bathroom Tiling: 7 Great Tips

So lets try and cover some of the things you need to know when doing bathroom tiling.

1. The Bedding (or Screed)

What is a sand and cement bed?

You will often hear this term when it comes to bathroom tiling, and it refers to the material that is placed under the floor tiles.

  • It’s usually a mixture of 4 parts sand to 1 part cement
  • It’s mixed up and placed over a bathroom floor in a bedding layer of approx. 30-50mm thick.

The bedding (also known as a screed) will have a fall or gradient from the door way and edges of the bathroom walls, back into the floor wastes to direct any water back into the drainage system.

bathroom tiling floor

2. The Floor Gradient

Without this gradient there is no place for the water to go.

This is often the reason there is sometimes a large step up (20-40mm) into a bathroom. It’s because the bathroom floor and the floor of the main house have been installed at the same level.

If this is the case, it’s the 30-40mm tile bed and a 5-8mm tile on top that is causing the step.

The only way to avoid this is to drop the floor down the thickness of the bed and tile in the bathroom area.

New Homes: Easy to Factor in During the Planning Stage

If you are building a new home you can factor it into the plan and have your “wet areas” lowered by 50mm.

Existing Homes: Can’t Always be Achieved Without Great Expense
If you have an existing concrete slab there is no way to get a level transition between your bathroom floor and house without having the concrete slab approx. 50mm lower.

In most cases the existing concrete slab would have to be jackhammered out.

This could be a consideration if you concrete was old and substandard, or needed to be removed for new drainage. If that was the case then this would be the perfect opportunity to lower the finished level of the concrete by 50mm.

Timber Floors

The above also applies to timber floors.

The carpenters would have to put in extra time and cost to lower a timber floor.

But again, if the floor was being repaired or replaced you could also take the opportunity to lower the finished level (i.e. top of sheeting) by 50mm.


3. Under Tile Heating

Another consideration is under tile heating.

Each manufacturer of under tile heating may have different installation methods. For example, some companies may install the wire element “under” the screed bed, while others may want the product installed over the screed bed under glued under the tile.

Here is an video of the product we installed over the screed bed on one of our bathrooms.


4. Setting Out Your Tiles

Next thing to consider with your bathroom tiling is the set out.

It’s rare that you will ever get full tiles to work from corner to corner of a bathroom. There will usually be a cut tile on one wall or the other.

It’s critical at the set out stage with you tiler to discuss where these cuts will go and what will look the best. This is especially important when you have a tile with a pattern on it.


5. Finishing Tiles at the Edges

Another consideration is how your tiles will be finished at external corners of walls, window recesses or doorways.

One option is to install a mitred edge i.e. 45% cuts so that they meet on a point. Although not all tiles can be mitred due to the size of the tile, make of material and a few other varying factors.

Another option is tile trims. These come in various sizes, colours and materials. A tile trim gives a nice edge for the tile to finish up to and allows for the return tile around a corner to butt up neatly to the same edge.

tiling a bathroom

6. Grouting

Once wall and floor tiles are installed then grouting is next on the list.

I like to use coloured grouts as they look a little nicer than a standard sand and cement grout mix on the floor. But I use white for the walls. Mid-grey goes pretty well with most coloured tiles too.

And you can’t go wrong with a good quality mould resistant grout. It will make the tiles look fresh and clean for longer!

There are also different grout products for the walls and floors.

Generally the floors are more of a course sanded mixture. Whilst the walls are a much finer composition. You can also use additives to help prevent mould, but I recommend using the manufactures suggested product if you go this route.

Here is a good video tutorial around grout from Jeff at Home Repair Tutor.


7. Silicone Installation

One other finishing detail to factor in is silicone installation to all corner junctions of the walls, floor, windows and doors.

It’s important to note that the tiler should leave these junctions free from grout so that silicone can be installed as expansion joints. This will prevent unsightly cracking if grout was installed in these areas.

Here is a video demonstrating how to install silicone to these areas.


Once the bathroom tiling has been done you’re then ready to move onto Stage 4: Construction – Plumbing & Electrical fit off.



If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason




Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.


Yes, I Want to Know More!