Geberit UP-Spülkasten

The modernisation trend gathers pace

Villeroy & Boch Antheus

New standards for quick and easy installation: With prefabricated assembly systems, bathroom modernization can be carried out without any problems - subsequent maintenance is often simplified by pre-wall elements.

The results of a poll conducted on behalf of the German Sanitation Industry Association (VDS) show clearly that upgrading the bathroom tops the list of modernisation work planned in Germany. According to the poll, some 16.7 million Germans are planning to invest in their bathrooms in the near future and no less than 6.2 million of them are considering a complete overhaul.

Against this background, ISH digital 2021, the leading international trade fair for the sector, has an important role to play. Product concepts focusing on modernisation could help the sector to exploit this dynamic situation to the full and more efficiently despite a shortage of skilled personnel.

A modern bathroom increases the value of the property

Designkonzept von Bette

The refurbished bathroom is restructured with one of the coveted free-standing bathtubs - water and sewage pipes can be laid independently of the walls, depending on the structure of the building.

In general, the baby-boomer target group is not embarking on modernisation projects because they are moving or have bought a property. Their focus is on defects, damage, general wear and tear and the need for improved accessibility. Additionally, modernisation taking account of environmental aspects is also growing in importance. Whereas personnel shortages and the new building boom made it difficult to begin many bathroom-modernisation projects in 2017 and 2018, B+W Bonn ( estimates that the proportion of modernisation projects carried out has now started to rise again in comparison with 2018. All in all, the 2020 study gives ground to expect a positive development in the number of bathroom modernisation projects to be expected in the future.

Inflation is a subject of no little importance: investments are made in owner-occupied or rented-out property to counteract the loss in value of money over time. “Property owners who have invested little or nothing in their bathroom for almost 20 years can now profit from the great technological developments made in the sanitation field over recent years. Besides the lasting value added and the lifestyle-oriented progress made by modern bathroom architecture, innovative bathroom products, such as an electronic bidet or a spacious, barrier-free shower, offer tangible value added and thus contribute to an increase in the value of the property”, says Jens J. Wischmann, Managing Director of the German Sanitation Industry Association (VDS). “For the next ten years, the VDS anticipates not only an upward bathroom-modernisation trend but also large investments in the public sector, for instance, in kindergartens and schools, as well as in the hospitality field. There is widespread interest in modernising the bathroom to provide an improved quality of life and the wish to make the time spent there more pleasurable is greater in no other room when it comes to private dwellings or in any other part of public buildings.”

Investment backlog in the private sector as well as in semi-public and public facilities

 TECE drainline Evo

The floor-level shower is a smart feature in the bathroom - especially if it is to be barrier-free: if the building structure allows, a floor-level shower can also be retrofitted - as here with a floor channel for the water drainage.

In addition to a modernisation backlog in Germany’s private bathrooms – no less than 17.7 million ‘first bathrooms’ have not been renovated since the house was built or the owner moved in (on average, they are 19.5 years old, VDS, Forsa) – the semi-public and public sphere is gaining in significance for the modernisation market. The hospitality sector is investing more and more in lifestyle foodservice, in high-grade sanitary facilities and in hotel bathrooms. There is also a dramatic investment backlog in the case of kindergartens, schools and other educational institutes. Germany’s sanitation industry is ready to meet the demand for the products required.