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Technical Spotlight #1 Prefab Bathrooms and Building Heights

Welcome to the first “Technical Spotlight” – a series of blog posts aimed to answer key questions on designing for and installing SurePods pre-fab, modular bathrooms. The answers are meant to be a starting point for the building team. Always keep in mind when using prefabrication in construction that involving the prefab/modular manufacturer early in the process is critical to ensuring successful integration and outcomes.

To launch, we’ll address a common misconception with modular bathrooms, by answering the following questions:

Question: Will I need to increase the height of the building’s top of slab to bottom of ceiling to accommodate SurePods?

While you might guess that pre-fab, modular bathrooms require an increased vertical clearance space to maneuver into position and to place, the standard 104 in. (8’ 8” in clear) top of slab to bottom of ceiling height common in commercial project scenarios, such as hotels and multifamily buildings, is adequate to accommodate bathroom pods. As a result, contractors do not need to depress the concrete slab to use SurePods. Crews just need to slide the prefab bathroom pods into place, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) trades come through and make the connections to the building’s mechanical systems, the exterior of the pods are sheetrocked and then floor thresholds are installed. The pods are virtually indistinguishable from a site built bathroom.

Question: Will using prefab bathroom pods require me to build a taller building overall?

No. Since SurePods modular bathrooms comply with standard vertical clearances, there is no need to depress the floor slab or increase the ceiling height to fit the pod. This helps keep the overall building height within expected margins and costs down, as even an incremental increase in square footage over multiple floors can add up to valuable dollars.

Question: What ceiling heights can I get within the bathroom?

When working with SurePods, between a 7’6” and 8’ interior height is generally achievable, helping preserve the meaningful use of space within the bathroom. It is important to note this is a guideline, and problem-solving for tighter clearances is possible. For example, in the most dramatic case of restricted ceiling height, we were able to achieve a pod height of just 6” less than the floor-to-floor clearance.

Getting started

The above information provides sample details for what you need for a “typical” pod installation with respect to building heights and clearances. However, in the construction industry, I think we can all agree, nothing is ever typical.  So please note, to ensure a fit with your project, your SurePods rep will confirm all details pre-construction, including clearances for MEP services that may run above the pod ceiling.

For all clearances and building heights, it is crucial to plan early and appropriately to ensure success. This is a key reason why Revit® BIM conflict analysis is a part of the pre-construction process with SurePods. It leaves critical time for creative problem solving and design adjustments and can help your rep and building team members better understand project goals.

To learn more about SurePods, contact us at [email protected]


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