French home renovation: Must I replace bath with a walk-in shower?

A new law means it must be possible to put a walk-in shower into all newly built homes to help elderly and people with disabilities. We look at which properties this covers

16 November 2021

New builds in France must be designed so that walk-in showers can be installed in order to help elderly and people with disabilities Pic: Artazum / Shutterstock

By Thomas Brent

Reader question: I’m renovating my bathroom, am I required to replace the bath with a shower cubicle?

We believe you are  referring to a new law that came into effect in France in part on January 1, 2021 and then a second part on July 1 that states that the ability to have walk-in showers must be included in the designs of all new flats and houses in housing estates or that are to be rented out.

The measure was designed to ease access to showers for elderly and disabled people.

Read more: New-builds in France from 2021 must feature walk-in showers

It is an extension of a 2018 law, called the Loi Elan - Evolution du Logement, de l’Aménagement et du Numérique - which stated that there should be the possibility of retrofitting an “accessible shower” in new builds.

In September 2020 it was announced that this would be developed so that when designing a residential building, in each unit “a double slab should be made to provide enough concrete thickness to insert a drain”, which is required for walk-in showers.

This law has been introduced because walk-in showers without steps are easier to use for elderly and disabled people. 

This law refers only to new builds - whether individual houses of flats - and will affect building projects and their designs.

It will not impact our reader who is renovating their bathroom in an already-built dwelling.

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