Cement board is the first step in any good tiling project. Getting perfect holes for the shower handle and pipes is a challenge but doable with the tips I provide in this blog post http://www.homerepairtutor.com/cement-board-installation-pt-2/ Please pass along my link if you know someone doing a bathroom renovation, they will be thankful :)
Aiden T, HDB bathroom, concealed pipes We usually expose all the water pipes before concealing them with a calcium silicate board, which we then overlay with tiles. It is important that the contractor uses this type of board as it is waterproof; gypsum boards won’t hold up in a wet area. Then, we seal up the entire length of the shower stall to cover any pipes, before installing either a rainshower from the ceiling or from the wall.