Toilet placement

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Posted by: from Kemptville
1/5/2013 at 9:10:52 AM

What is the Ontario Building Code minimum clearance requirement between toilet (center line) and wall or cabinet in a private residence?

I have done some research but cannot find the specifications required by law.

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Dave from 360renos in Navan
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 10:06:07 AM

Good Morning Ingrid,

It is 15 inches.

Enjoy the week-end.


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Constantine from Constantine in Toronto
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 10:10:38 AM

Good morning,

Usually we allow from 15 to 17 inches. The more the better.

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Date/Time1/5/2013 at 10:36:33 AM

Good Morning Ingrid:

The responses that you have had answer your question. However, unless space is at a premium, it is not how little, but what clearance makes one feel "comfortable".

Where is the tissue hanger positioned?

If you go with the minimum, the accessability to that hanger, especially for handicapped or larger folks can be a real issue. My plumber always gives a minimum of 28 inches for the toilet area. Yet, if I can I will allow up to 36 inches.

A little less vanity and more toilet space makes a big difference in the service of ones bathroom.

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Gus from Triworx Design in Vaughan
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 11:12:56 AM

As per OBC

Min for a regular washroom is 18".4 from the wall.

Min 19.2" on the cabinet side.

I don't know where 15" came from.

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Ingrid in Kemptville
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 11:27:55 AM

Thank you so much for the replies.

I have just moved into a custom home and was questioning the placement of the guest bathroom toilet. It is only 12 inches from the cabinet wall (12 inches = centre bowl). I was told by the company that 12 inches is to code, which is why I am using this forum to find out what the Ontario Building Code standard is.

Now I can go armed with accurate information that the code is:

As per OBC

Min for a regular washroom is 18".4 from the wall.

Min 19.2" on the cabinet side.

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Date/Time1/5/2013 at 11:29:39 AM

Ingrid, We are miles away but the answer is the same. The primary consideration is for your over-all comfort and ease of access. I sounds as though you might have limited space and are asking the question to see what will fit. If you are replacing an existing unit, you probably don't have much choice but if it is new construction use the 19" guideline as stated before. This allows for all concerned and meets or exceeds code.

Just my opinion. If you really want a confirmed answer, contact your local town/city/county office and they can provide the answer.

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Martin from Imperium Design in Mississauga
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 12:01:23 PM

16'' from center to any wall, etc.

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Gus from Triworx Design in Vaughan
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 12:09:20 PM

Its easier to stipulate the OBC part, section, subsection and article number. As oppose to shooting out a number from an unknown source. If you call the building department, they will only look at the section number and relate that to your scenario.

That figures I gave you are converted from mm. Which is 460mm x 480mm. The same numbers you would use for a wc stalls. Min. Spoace requirement on each side of the water closet.

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Date/Time1/5/2013 at 12:20:55 PM

The code requires you to have 15 3/4 inches of clearance.


All Canadian Construction

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Joj in Mississauga
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 1:23:47 PM

Back wall is 12"

Side to side 18"

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Date/Time1/5/2013 at 9:13:03 PM


Before you go running off to your builder, the Ontario Building code does not have standards for toilet clearances. The code that Gus quoted you applies to barrier free applications. So unless your washroom is for the handicap, or in a commercial building, it does not apply to your situation.

Standard plumbing practice is 12" to the back finished wall and 15" to the side finished wall. Even 15" is a tight fit and I usually go to 18" if it's possible.

Talk to your builder about it. Be prepared for them to do nothing about it. Then go to the new home warranty and file a complaint about it, they just might force the builder to change it, since it doesn't met standard building practice.

Good luck.

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Ingrid in Kemptville
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 10:52:47 PM

Thank you very much for all of your responses. It is much appreciated.

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Date/Time1/6/2013 at 12:11:49 PM

Hello Ingrid

The Rough-in dimension for your WC from the back wall should be 12". You could actually put this out a bit further as far as 14", but don't go to far. Otherwise the Toilet will appear to be out in the middle of the bathroom.

You must allow enough room around the water closet for people to use it comfortably. Allow a minimum of 24 inches from the front of the unit to the nearest object, such as a sink. For the side clearance, allow a minimum of at least 16 inches away from the center line. If any of these clearances are less, a person might get a bit cramped getting into a small space when using the water closet.

Not sure these standards are in the Plbg Code. They might be for a barrier free WC. You can also check out spec sheets online for the fixture you wish to install on . They should come up as PDF files.

Hope this helps.

Dominic Choocomolin

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Date/Time1/11/2013 at 9:15:40 AM

Generally, you want to have 16:" to center, or 32" of clear space for the toilet. Any less and your legs will be crammed when you sit down.


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