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I have this bungalow with a small bathroom in which I want to switch out the toilet and the sink. I called in a remodeler and he was resistant to the idea. Mentioning that the toilet, by code, had to be installed a certain distance from the side walls which would make the project impractical.
What is that distance?
 

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I think it's 12". I don't see why you couldn't replace a toilet in it's present location. Replacing a standard toilet with a standard toilet?
 

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I had the same issue when I turned a broom closet into a half bath.
(this is Florida Code - yours may vary) I got the toilet for $5.00 at a yard sale - perfect fit.
and I couldn't find a sink that would fit so I made one out of HDU and fiberglass.
(photos and measurements of your project may help with more accurate feedback)

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I don't know if you have to modify any existing structures, but, this is what I had to work with. the building inspector said I did a fantastic job since I was a "hobbyist DIY guy" and he has seen professionals that doesn't do this quality of workmanship.

648837
 

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I have this bungalow with a small bathroom in which I want to switch out the toilet and the sink. I called in a remodeler and he was resistant to the idea. Mentioning that the toilet, by code, had to be installed a certain distance from the side.wall which would make the project impractical.
What is that distance?
Uniform Plumbing Code states 15" from center line of toilet to side wall. A cabinet top overhang is considered part of that 15" measurement . So a toilet stall minimum width is 30"

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A water closet, urinal, lavatory or bidet shall not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition, vanity or other obstruction, or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center to center between adjacent fixtures. There shall be not less than a 21-inch (533 mm) clearance in front of the water closet, urinal, lavatory or bidet to any wall, fixture or door. Water closet compartments shall be not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in width and not less than 60 inches (1524 mm) in depth for floormounted water closets and not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in width and 56 inches (1422 mm) in depth for wallhung water closets. See Chapter 11 of the building code for the minimum required dimensions for accessible fixtures.
 

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with those specs, it is basically saying the room itself can not be smaller than 30 inches wide.
and there is also specs from the toilet rim to the sink.
 
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