There is only good plumbing and bad plumbing.

One firm touts their bath as having low profile (sic) fast flow plumbing.

Fast flow, low profile plumbing etc.  This is just unhelpful jargon.  Speed of drainage is a function of the diameter of the plumbing beneath the bath and the distance to the foul drain.  As our plumbers put it, gravity works the same and the only plumbing that counts is good, compliant plumbing.  In the past we were called out by hospitals as they had ‘other’ baths that had started leaking – all were around the plumbing area.  The low profile pipe inserted at an angle to the bath was the point of failure.  It is evident from their brochure (and the exclusions to their guarantees) that this weakness has been recognized if not addressed.

We designed our baths from the plumbing up.  We use only standard, purpose made plumbing fittings because these alone give the best fit, the longest life and are easily replaced by Estates and Maintenance in years to come.  We also introduced the use of the quarter turn ball valve as they are far superior to the gate valves used previously.  We are glad to see that this innovation has been taken up!
We also use waterless traps which still prevent odours and backflow but do not provide a reservoir for the build up of stagnant water.

Also, as our baths are designed to incorporate all the plumbing beneath the bath.  This keeps it all concealed but also the trap can be fitted very close to the bath waste as required by water regulations (BS5572), which reduces the length of ‘uncleanable’ pipework.  We note from ‘tother’ company’s brochure that their standard requirement is still only for trapping in the floor below.  The baths should be trapped in the room as close to the bath as possible without the customer having to order the special adapted higher steel subframe (another expensive fix and design ‘cul-de-sac!). The ‘tother’ company’s website used to advise that it was not necessary to put a trap on the bath, it was sufficient to just close the sluice gate valve.  I know from site visits that there were hospitals that fitted in this way.  Thankfully, we have been imitated in terms of  improved (if not ideal) trapping arrangements and better valves.

These so-called ‘fast flow / low profile’ drains are not only inferior in terms of durability, we have had comments from an NHS infection control department that

“This form of design has infection prevention and control implications with the potential for biofilm development”.

The sooner the ‘fast flow / low profile’ plumbing is seen for the jargon it is, the better.  It is trying to put a positive spin on inferior design and plumbing.

Bradford Royal Infirmary & the Canberra Birth Bath

Birth Rooms by AQB Pools Ltd A couple more pictures from the opening of the new Birth Centre and Bradford Royal Infirmary.

The hospital now has several of the Canberra model birth baths each in its own beautiful new birth room.  The Canberra birth bath is designed to be universal in that it can fit into most rooms and situations.   It is available on short lead times or from stock and costs well under £5000 (and discounts for 2 or more baths).

The photos came from Lorne Campbell / Guzelian.

Letter from a customer

Hi Ruth & David,


Hi Ruth & David,

I’ve finally got the green light to order!

After lots of careful measuring we have realised that the Canberra bath is our preferred option. We are going to order 3 Canberra baths, each with a light, steps and poles.

I have my order book at the ready to complete the process then realised after reading your website we have to attach the quote. Obviously we haven’t got a quote. Can you possibly send me something I can attach so that we can start our journey!

I must say that your heart felt support was overwhelming and gave me the determination to challenge my estates when they said “it couldn’t be done”. I truly cannot thank you enough and look forward to the day when I email you some beautiful pictures! (or you could come and see for your selves!)

Many thanks


Bradford Royal Infirmary

Bradford Birthcentre’s successful launch

It was the launch of the Bradford Birth Centre on 1st February 2013 – already over 280 babies had been born there.  Feedback from Mums is fantastic, the birth pools (which Aquabirths supplied) are in constant use, and the rooms are beautiful.

The Heart-Shaped Birth Bath at Leeds – Design Your Own Birth Pool.

Here isHeart-shaped Leeds birth bath by Aquabirths the Heart-shaped birthing pool in the finished room at the Leeds General Infirmary. A beautiful birthing bath, designed by midwives and hand made in Yorkshire. Made and delivered for under £7000!  The midwives wanted a very large birth pool so that women, short or tall, would have plenty of room to move around and adopt whatever position they wanted during labour. This is probably the biggest birthing pool on the market and really is a ‘statement’ birth pool.


Plugs and drains and such glamorous things!

For historical reasons (that is, reasons lost in history and no-one knows why any more!) birth baths had their waste pipes leaving sideways at an angle.  This has caused a problem because these so called ‘low profile’ wastes have an inbuilt weakness: standard or proper plumbing fittings don’t fit conveniently.  One solution was to try and incorporated a piece of plastic pipe as part of the bath, which is what one company did and still does.  The problem being, as evidenced by several site visits to leaking baths, is that the seal between the the bath and the pipe was never durable enough, water got into the fabric of the bath and caused bloating and staining.  Repairs were usually ugly and ‘stop-gap’.  The best seal comes from using plumbing fittings designed for the job.  But a plug hole on its side gives a bit of a lip.

So, for a bath with a better sealed waste, the plug should go through the base and not out sideways.  One company claims to have a (sic) low profile fast flow system.  Not sure what this is because pipes are pipes and gravity is the same everywhere! Also, the slightly higher bath (1″) with the plug in the base (more water pressure still) would be quicker to empty than a  ‘low profile’ arrangement.  ‘Fast flow’ might include an in-line trap, and we did introduce the use of in-line waterless traps to birth pools, so it’s nice to be copied.

Being able to use standard plumbing fittings mean that the most appropriate fittings are used, they are easy to source, easy to fit and can be repaired.

With this in mind we have redesigned one of our baths to incorporate these improvements to give the best value for money bath that is easy to fit and keeps on going.  We call it the Canberra bath after the first hospital to have this improved birth bath.

New Bespoke Birth Pool Being Installed at Leeds

Midwife-led design IMAG0178

Made in Yorkshire.

Designed by midwives and Bradford-based firm Aquabirths, made in Yorkshire: a brand new birthing bath has been installed today at the Leeds General Infirmary so that Yorkshire mothers can birth their babies in water.