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GC reduces room size - didn’t tell me

May 22, 2019

Completing our home build and realized yesterday the water closet is much smaller than our plan. Measured and confirmed. Contacted GC who states at plumbing they had to move toilet forward due to flange/plumbing/ floor joist so they framed the wall out without notifying us and literally reduced the size of the smallest room in the house. I’m claustrophobic, it’s noticeably smaller and would have been easy to push the adjoining wall out to make the room its original size as it connects to a large closet. He has stated he is “sorry”. What do we do? Do I have any recourse? The walls are finished painted and trimmed out, tile installed.

Comments (99)

  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C


    Yes, I haven't seen it here, I took that picture when I was in Belgium.

  • Bri Bosh

    Bebreli, I’m sorry for your construction snafu. That really is a bummer! I’m still confused though, per your post a few months ago the room was going to be 2’6”. ? So isn’t it built according to plan?

  • bebreli

    Hi Bri - I don’t know where 2’6” is coming from. I think that measurement is the door width? The room is around 36” wide. The snafu was the length of the room which was reduced not the width. The GC is lucky the door size was smaller because if it was bigger it would hit my legs and I couldn’t open or close it if I was sitting down. Unfortunately though if I had a bigger door he probably couldn’t have gotten away with not telling us. Shame on me for wanting more space on the outside wall.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    The 2'-6" shown on the plan is the width of the door. There is no dimension line that corresponds to it.

    EDIT: I would like to blame the image posted, but it could be my eyesight. The plan shows the door 2'-8" wide, as pointed out downstream.

  • morz8

    GN Builders, my brother had a similar toilet with hand washing sink, faucet over the tank. It wasn't in a water closet or enclosed at all, but in an open corner of his basement 'shop' that also held the laundry. And a makeshift carpeted play area for the children. I never did find reason to sacrifice my privacy to simply avoid a trip up the stairs.

    He sold that house, first day listed, in 2005. Portland, Oregon. I don't remember how the listing read, maybe something like 2 1/8 baths?

  • Bri Bosh

    Doesn’t this plan indicate 2’6”? Even if that’s just the door measurement it shows that 2’6” door touching the wall...?

  • Bri Bosh

    I think your confusion came from thinking the outside wall dimension was the inside wall dimension. But that doesn’t account for the framing and drywall, making your interior toilet room dimension 2’6” as noted in the plans...

  • Bri Bosh

    Sorry, that would make it 30”. Isn’t that what you ended up with?

  • Bri Bosh

    Ugh never mind!!! I can’t math today! Ignore me struggling over here. Sigh.

  • bebreli

    Bri the plan shows a 2-8/6-8 door which is a 32” door. The room is 36” wide. Again the width isn’t what was in question. It was the leg room of what is in front of The toilet now as he framed out the wall behind the toilet significantly reducing the room size.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    I have a silly question... have you used this toilet yet? Do you really feel the 6" difference ( if that is what the difference is - I am unsure ). Also the door really should be opening out for safety reasons - will that make a difference?

    I agree you should speak with your contractor and sort out what will make you happy, but is there a compromise that can be made where you will be ok with the resolution as opposed to tearing into 2 spaces and having to redo walls and floors and closet racks etc.?

    Hope there is a happy ending here.

  • cpartist

    Please for your safety have him make the door a swinging door.

  • PRO

    Sorry, it seems a bad bath plan from the get go! Hope showers aren't a big " thing" for you?!

    Seems if you run bathe together the removal of the loo doo would not be a big deal. The big "event" means someone steps out of the bathroom? :)

  • loobab


    " Six inches? 6”? If that tiny amount is worth all this kerfluffle... "

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear,

    Mark Bischak- I thought for sure you would have risen to that bait!

  • ci_lantro

    If you have an elongated toilet in that room, you could replace it with a round toilet bowl and gain back around 3" of the lost 6".

    I have a round bowl toilet in a powder room with an inswinging 24" door. The toilet sits out from the wall about 2". The room is only 5' deep. Not a problem. You go in the room and close the door to use the facilities.

    I still don't understand why a self-professed 'claustrophobic' would chose to build a water closet though. This room was/ is always going to be a problem; 6 missing inches on the long axis, a whole 1.5 square feet, really makes very little difference.

    But if gaining more space is a must, rather than move the closet wall, I would tear the framed out wall back to the original thickness and install an offset flange. As already suggested at the top of the thread.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    Is that on an outside wall? Can you put a nice window above the toilet? Or if it upstairs add a small skylight?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    A 3'-0" x 6'-6" windowless confined space used to evacuate one's bowels. I can not think of a more unpleasant space to be in in a house. It is truly a gas chamber.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    I knew you would come through Mark! Hilarious! Glass door is the answer. Not swinging but reversed to swing out of room.

  • loobab

    I guess I am down here in the gutter all by myself today...

    Or if I say in the street, will that make it more clear without actually spelling it out?

  • bebreli

    Jan you have had nothing good to say - if you hate waterclosets so much don’t come to this thread :) Have a great day!

  • loobab

    Insults followed by a "smiley" is passive aggressive.

    Passive-aggressive behavior is an immature defense mechanism.

    If person A is so bothered by, and so personalizes what they read on a computer monitor written by a stranger thousands of miles away that they feel they need to tell person B to go away,

    then perhaps person B should examine their ego strength and the extent to which they invest their emotions on a social website that is supposed to be nothing more than a fun past-time.

    The internet is no place for delicate snowflakes.

    bebreli thanked loobab
  • bebreli

    Hey loo - wonder who the delicate snowflake is here. I was at least polite :) <smiley face

  • cpartist

    Or maybe the OP is correct since Jan seemed to need to make her point in 8 different posts here. Frankly I think the OP has been more than gracious with Jan since there is no need for Jan to belabor the point that she dislikes water closets.

    bebreli thanked cpartist
  • loobab

    Well, I don't like them either, I'd rather not have anyone in the bathroom when I am using the throne room even if it is a separate one. A door might block sight but it doesn't really block sound. And yes, there are fans and all that so it isn't really a gas chamber but can't the other person just wait outside altogether a few minutes?

    And another thing, a room with a toilet without a sink just screams e.coli amongst other bacteria.

    Although your solution of a push door is brilliant! They should have that in restaurants, etc so we all don't have to use paper towels to hold the handles to open the doors, and then we can't reach the trash can to discard the paper towel!

  • bebreli

    @ Debbi Washburn a skylight could be an option. I am appreciative of the good options and the positive posts instead of “What a horrible plan” lol. The window would not be an option as that is where he framed the wall in to move the toilet. That outside wall is now double framed if that makes sense so a window couldn’t work. Which goes back the original sentiment of would have been nice to have that conversation.

  • bebreli

    @loobab Speaking of ecoli you do know when you flush a toilet even with the lid down sharticles go flying through the air? Let’s talk about germs and toothbrushes/ makeup brushes etc. Keep some wipes or sanitizer in there. I do agree with you on the restaurants and paper towels. A push door out is good idea if it doesn’t smack people in the face.

    I actually personally insulated and soundproofed the room. After playing a full round with my kids of “can you hear me make fart noises in the other rooms” - the soundproofing and the solid core doors did a great job!

    @Mark Bischak - RE- “I can not think of a more unpleasant place to be in a house - truly a gas chamber” - I would think most significant others don’t want to share your gas.

    This post has been a gas. Except for all the ghastly comments.

  • bry911

    I think the gas chamber discussion is absolutely ridiculous and is just some people feeling their opinion is way more important than it really is.

    I don't want my toothbrush in the same room I defecate in, I don't want to brush my teeth, floss, comb my hair, put on deodorant, shave, etc., with the smell of poo wafting around. I am OK with the fact that some of you all apparently like the idea of doing that, why is it such a problem for you that I don't?

    I do have a hand washing basin in my toilet closet, but really it is overkill. You can't really be worried about touching fecal matter on a door handle while not being worried about airborne fecal spores. When you smell poo, that is poo entering your body through your nose and mouth... So worrying about the door handle on a toilet closet is a lot like swimming with your hands out of the water, because you don't want to get wet.

  • PRO

    OMG. Around here, we flush as we "go" Toothbrushes don't sit on the vanity top. Neither do combs but we like drawers and clean those frequently. I don't like dust or hairspray on a toothbrush either. Hardly matters. Because you really can't escape poop. Don't believe it? It's everywhere......: ) Along with a million other germs and bacteria.

    Might want to think about this as you leave the just washed dishes piled for hours on end at your sink side.Popular Science below.

    1. On computer keyboards
    2. In your kitchen sponge, on the kitchen drain, and on your kitchen sink faucet handles
      (By the way, this same study found that kitchens had more fecal
      bacteria than bathrooms! Toilet seats were actually one of the least
      contaminated spots in the whole house.)
    3. All over your phone
    4. In a “fecal veneer” on indoor climbing walls
    5. Hanging out on grocery shopping carts
    6. On your shoes (duh)
    7. Inside all of your clothes, probably because you wash them with your underwear—which contains a tenth of a gram (!!) of fecal bacteria per pair, on average
    8. Surrounding you in every hotel room you’ve ever been in
    9. Literally in the air you breathe

    We could go on, but we won’t. You get the point: bacteria from poop
    is all around you all the time and there’s really nothing you can do
    about it. And why would you need to? It’s only a very small minority of
    bacteria—yes, even from your poop—that can make you physically ill. Lots
    of the organisms hanging out in your crap were just swept out from the
    inside of your intestines, where they’ve set up colonies that help you
    digest your food and regulate all kinds of bodily functions.

    It’s nothing to be afraid of. We would be a pretty useless species if
    we got sick from every little microorganism that crossed our path. Even
    those bacteria that pose a potential threat are often neutralized by
    our immune systems. Most just never pose us any harm.

    The reason “fecal bacteria” sounds so threatening is that plenty of
    legitimately awful, dangerous diseases spread via poop. Hepatitis,
    typhoid fever, cholera, norovirus, polio, E. coli, tape worms,
    giardia, rotavirus—they’ll all spread via the aptly named fecal-oral
    route. You don’t want to get any of these, which is why we’ve developed
    an evolutionary aversion to poop in general. It’s just better to stay
    away from it.

    But just because some truly terrible illnesses spread via poop
    doesn’t mean that the bacteria we find all over everything are
    dangerous. They just happen to come from poop. Yes, you should wash your
    hands when you use the bathroom and yes, you can reduce the bacteria on
    your hands by using paper towels over hand dryers (jet dryers are
    better than standard ones, but worse than paper towels, according to this exhaustive literature review from the Mayo Clinic).

    The fact remains, however, that poopy microorganisms are all around
    you all the time and there’s just not much you can do about that except
    to embrace them. They are the tiny pathogens that help bolster your
    immune system and create colonies of organisms that make your body the
    beautiful, diverse place that it is. Celebrate them! And wash your

  • J Williams

    Huh. Never in my life have I had the opportunity to have my toilet separated from the bathing/tooth brushing area. Oh except while camping or using a cottage that has an outhouse and a lake. If I need to use the washroom I don’t want or need company, even tho that isn’t always respected lol.

  • ruth0552

    Pocket door?

    bebreli thanked ruth0552
  • cpartist

    And Bry brings up the other good point

  • remodeling1840

    This probably isn’t the place to mention a 2 X 4 isn’t 2 X 4.....

  • remodeling1840

    Oh, smiley face.

  • Jennifer Hogan

    J Williams - you along with 99% of the population. I don't care if someone has the money for such luxury and wants to spend their money on this luxury, but it is bothersome when luxury wants are passed off as needs. We have had indoor toilets that spray fecal matter particles in our bathrooms for the past 100 years without any reported epidemics caused by this great imaginary health risk.

  • Helen

    Color me strange but I don't think of a 36" wide room with a door to house my toilet so that I can do so behind closed doors as a LUXURY. It seems as though it literally is a closet and I can't imagine wanting that experience. My bathrooms don't smell - if the smells are that bad aren't they compounded by festering in a small enclosed space? My Toto washlet theoretically has a deodorizer built in so perhaps that's why it's not an issue.

    My take on all of this is that originally these separate rooms were installed in large expensive homes with huge master bathrooms so that the room housing the toilet was actually a comfortably large space. Then it trickled down into the normal sized bathrooms of the middle class where it really is somewhat dysfunctional.

    FWIW, that's how I feel about free standing tubs. When they are installed in large bathrooms where they stand alone as sculptural elements they are quite beautiful. When they are squashed into the same space as a normal bathtub they become dysfunctional and no longer have the same appealing sculptural beauty.

    And in terms of the OP's question, in contractual law there is substantial performance as a defense and whether the cost to give OP exactly what was bargained for - an additional 3 inches (or even 6 inches) justifies having the GC rebuilt the whole room.

    bebreli thanked Helen
  • Mrs. S

    We have one of those "gas chambers". I'm so used to it, I always wondered what all the fuss was about on these forums. Ours has a huge window, and is probably 4 x 6, as well as a fan. The thing is, one rarely shuts the door, unless the kids are tumbling into the master bathroom.

    Additionally, one washes ones hands afterward...and all parts of the room are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. Are we worried about touching the doorknob after we go? Because most people touch the flusher mechanism as well...how is that different from touching the doorknob ??

    And, upon reflection, I agree with bry911 (as usual), that you probably don't want all those flushed airborne germs travelling throughout your sink area.

    To the OP: I'd want that builder to correct the issue. I might compromise in some way, but not on 6". What if the builder moves all the walls 6" this way and that all over the house? We've seen kitchen designs down to the 1/2", so why would a builder feel comfortable removing 6" from a tiny space, carefully designed by an architect and planned by an owner, when folks are just a text away? I'm making a mental note now for when I'm building a house. Call out (in the contract) the importance of communication by the GC, and special adherence to moving walls in any direction, without owners' written permission.

    bebreli thanked Mrs. S
  • bry911

    "We have had indoor toilets that spray fecal matter particles in our bathrooms for the past 100 years without any reported epidemics caused by this great imaginary health risk."

    Who said anything about a health risk? I said something about the rather ridiculous assertion that if your toilet is separated from your sink by a door handle that you have an increased risk e.coli...

    For that matter, you can eat your own waste without any serious health risk, so long as it is fresh. However, that doesn't mean that it sounds appetizing. There is no marginal health risk from having your toilet in a separate room. So let's not say that.


    "you along with 99% of the population."

    I hate to be picky, but nope... First, only about 70% of the population even have toilets. Next, squat toilets are usually separated and since squat toilets outnumber sitting toilets 2 to 1... Most of the world craps in a different room than they brush their teeth in.

  • J Williams

    That’s true, forgot about the squat toilets I’ve used, but in the same country I used bathrooms where everything was in the same room, toilet, shower, an all in one package. I was merely commenting that somehow we have managed OK for a good long time not having separated toilets in NA, and never have I ever permanently resided in a home with the space for this set up, to me it seems a little unusual. Guess I’m just going to have to be OK with fecal spray unless hubby gets his wish and we move to the backwoods. Six inches may be no small matter if the door is going to hit your legs.

  • bebreli

    @Helen The room was never made to be a luxury but more for privacy. We installed a large freestanding tub next to our shower and I think it is beautiful. It also gave us more length for the tub, more room for a larger shower and more room next to the vanity. I think no matter the space a claw foot tub is gorgeous too.

    Honestly - these are all first world problems. My parents were helping us pack last night and they both grew up on farms and had outhouses. At my great grandparents house they even had a 2 seater outhouse! We chatted about community 4 toilet outhouses. Talk about “privacy” and as others mentioned no one died from poo. So I definitely have perspective.

  • bebreli

    @remodeling1840 yes we know the size of a 2x4 isn‘t 2x4 but that IS a good chuckle! :)

  • wantsideas

    Your GC was hoping you wouldn't notice and is operating under the ask forgiveness after as opposed to asking permission first. Really no excuse as everyone is just a text message away as mentioned earlier. Only you can decide how much of an issue this is going to be. Once you get into the house when you use the room are you going to say no biggie or are you going to curse yourself for not having them make it right?

  • Jennifer Hogan

    @ bry911

    "We have had indoor toilets that spray fecal matter particles in our bathrooms for the past 100 years without any reported epidemics caused by this great imaginary health risk."

    "Who said anything about a health risk? I said something about the rather ridiculous assertion that if your toilet is separated from your sink by a door handle that you have an increased risk e.coli...

    -- Curb your arrogance. I did not mention you and I was responding primarily to the comment made by loobab regarding e-coli transmission in a home bathroom environment, however, your response to loobab "You can't really be worried about touching fecal matter on a door handle while not being worried about airborne fecal spores." suggests that airborne fecal spores would impose the same risk. I may be missing something, but in my mind, any concern regarding transmission of e-coli in a home bathroom environment would be a largely "imagined" health risk I cannot think of any other concern other than health that relates to the transmission of the e-coli bacteria.

    "you along with 99% of the population."

    I hate to be picky, but nope... First, only about 70% of the population even have toilets. Next, squat toilets are usually separated and since squat toilets outnumber sitting toilets 2 to 1... Most of the world craps in a different room than they brush their teeth in.

    -- Speaking as a statistical data analyst - A "statistic" (99%) is a characteristic of a sample drawn from a defined population. The "population" references a group of phenomena that have something in common. Since we have been discussing bathrooms with flushing toilets and I had stated "We have had indoor toilets that spray fecal matter particles in our bathrooms for the past 100 years" that would infer that the population that is being referenced is the population of households with flushing toilets.

  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C

    This is getting better by the minute... :-)

  • bry911

    Speaking as a statistical data analyst - A "statistic" (99%) is a characteristic of a sample drawn from a defined population.

    You aren't speaking as a statistical data analyst, no matter how hard you try to assert that. You gave a descriptive statistic, which is not statistical analysis (at least not when I got my PhD). I will happily spend the rest of the thread discussing why I believe your new statement doesn't match your original statement, but that seems a derail.


    It is a couple of walls, a cheap exhaust fan, a light and an electrical switch. It isn't a $10,000 refrigerator. I don't mean any specific disrespect to you, but people have strong opinions on this, and it really isn't anything other than their opinion being passed off as more important than it is.

    In an all too literal sense this is more about people sticking their nose where it doesn't belong, the irony that it also happens to be my backside isn't lost on me.

    My wife and I use the facilities in private, with the door closed. Unlike others who have actually stated in this thread that their crap doesn't stink... ours does. I prefer that it happen in a different room, as do many Americans. There is even a commercial about going in a "basement guest bathroom," so this is a concern that enough people deal with that someone spent money developing and running a national add campaign on it...

    Maybe, we should just stop worrying about the room that people want to crap in. As for the gas chamber thing, we are physiologically programmed to find our own waste less offensive than others. So a "gas chamber" just makes sense to me.

  • PRO

    Yeah, because it's one of those movies that could have been cut to 80 minutes, but runs for 180 minutes? And your legs go to sleep, or you do?

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  • Jennifer Hogan


    Your funny!

    Did they skip reading comprehension in your PhD program?

    I am a Statistical Data Analyst, therefore, I believe I can accurately preface any discussion regarding statistics with "Speaking as a Statistical Data Analyst".

  • Bri Bosh


  • bry911

    Did they skip reading comprehension in your PhD program?

    Actually, yes. They don't spend a lot of time teaching people, who have already had 5 or 6 years of higher education, how to read. They did, however, spend some time on integrity. Since you added your professional experience, as a statistical data analyst, to this conversation and then added the bit about this being a statistic, what data did you actually analyze to find the 99%? Because speaking in hyperbole and then trying to pass that off as a fact by claiming you are a professional is deceptive.

    Nothing more...

    It isn't a real statistic, so adding your qualifications to analyze real statistics is silly.

    It was fine as hyperbole. My comment was meant only to demonstrate the false-consensus effect, which is pertinent to this thread. However, this particular tangent is not. So, I am not going to continue to derail the thread, I assume that most readers will be able to form their own conclusions.

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