Shower fitting - why did the professionals do this?

We have a 1977 house which had its v. large bathroom 'refitted' at some time before we bought the house 5 years ago. It was obviously done by a professional, maybe even a bathroom fitting specialist given the co-ordination of decoration with tiles and fittings etc..
There was a 1200 x 760 shower fitted into one corner of the room, 1200 side on a partition wall, 760 on a brick wall. Floor is chipboard, the shower was fitted on a chipboard platform raised about 4 inches above the floor - to allow for the trap and to ensure fall on the waste I guess.
Tiles lifting on the partition wall and a crack in the resin shower tray led to a decision to renew bathroom. On stripping the tiles, I discovered the shower tray had been 'let into the walls'. That is to say, the bottom 8 inch of the brick wall had had its render removed and the bottom 8 inch of the partition wall had had its plasterboard removed and the tray was thus sited slightly under the walls!
The walls were tiled down to the shower tray and then sealed with silicone.. ... which of course had failed and water was getting thru to chipboard floor and inside the partition wall cavity and behind the tiles, speeding up their lifting perhaps?
Its not that the walls weren't square enough (I checked), so this can only have been done intentionally. but why???
Is this a common technique?
Should I replace in a similar manner? My inclination is to tile floor to ceiling and fit the shower afterwards...That is what I've done previously.
TIA
Steve Harper
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It basically means the water running down the walls is more likely to go into the tray than behind it and onto the floor.
Christian.
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 09:24:35 -0000, "Steve Harper"

I had to do this even with my "shorter" 1600mm bath, the old one was let into one wall then tiled down to/plastered in.
I have had to do the same due to the very tight fit, ie. the bath is too long to fit without the cut out in the wall.
Mark S.
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 09:24:35 +0000, Steve Harper wrote:

anywhere near enough to the wall to get a seal. This is because the side of the tray have an angle on them (which I strongly suspect is to allow the tray to be drawn from its mould in manufacture).
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Thanks to all who responded...
I can appreciate why it was done, but is it really a common *and* correct approach?
Steve

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On Thu, 13 Nov 2003 16:28:33 +0000, Steve Harper wrote:

The only other method which I know works is if the wall(s) is a stud wall. The tray is placed against the studs, then ply (9mm) is put on the studs partially down the gap by the tray. The remaining gap is then filled with whatever and the tiles are brought down to the tray where they will just over-lap onto the top edge.
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Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
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I think the problem is that the joiners or whoever built the studwork for the ensuite built it to the exact size of the tray. The angle of the sides of the outside of the tray is only slight and is easily catered for by the tiles and then the beads too.
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