It’s been said a person is not limited so much by their physical abilities as by their environment. When there’s an increasing gap between a person’s natural abilities and their ability to independently and safely live within their environment, there’s a need for home modification.
Since 2001, the team at Accessible Housing Services has been practicing and incorporating universal design into home modification designs. Universal design exceeds the specifications of public accessibility codes – such as those stipulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – while keeping the overall design aesthetically pleasing and adaptable to future needs. In addition, our designs increase the marketability of properties.
Since universal design is implemented into our projects, the end result always works well for our clients. Since we use commonly available products to keep our projects cost effective, the changes are welcomed by landlords and property owners.
Remodeling a home for accessibility requires the ability to anticipate how an individual will live within an environment. In addition to applying universal design elements to clients’ living environments, AHS further personalizes each client’s surroundings with accessible design and assistive technology. The end result is an optimal living environment that is completely customized for each individual client.
Our home modification process is comprehensive and unique:
All our projects begin with an intake process that includes gathering baseline information about the person, the home, and the surrounding properties. We take into account all the occupants as well as their future goals and objectives while also considering the impact the modifications will have on the property’s marketability. Once we complete the intake process, our executive team creates the home assessment plan to maximize our time onsite.
When we arrive onsite for the assessment, we hit the ground running. Our intake process allows us to plan our work and then work our plan. Our home assessments typically last between 3-6 hours. By the end of the assessment, we’ve created a scale drawing of the house or areas of concern, generated various types of media allowing us to create a virtual tour of the house, and captured pertinent information on structural components and mechanical systems of the house.
Unless the project is new-build construction, incorporating accessibility features in existing structures typically results in concessions. Our scaled drawings and renderings allow us to work with our clients in the virtual world to project how they will use the space and identify potential drawbacks to each approach. This aspect of our process allows us to develop the most appropriate solution that meets our clients’ needs. The best part about planning in this manner is that our clients develop the solutions; we merely facilitate the process.
Plan, Materials, and Specification Development
The key to any successful project is proper planning and communication. We take the concepts developed in the planning phase and use them to create the plans, specifications, and materials necessary to complete the project. Depending on the size of the project, the plan can be a one-page CAD drawing or a full set of plans with full construction details. This part of the process is an extension of the planning phase and is completed with the client before any contractors are involved.
A contractor’s time is valuable. When they become involved in our projects, they appreciate being able to review our plans; with them, contractors can be much more efficient in generating work estimates. It’s normally very difficult for an individual to find the right contractor for the job, and that is why we’ve spent time honing this part of our system. We identify qualified and appropriate contractors for each individual project, and our solicitation process is one of the best in the business. The end result is a streamlined process that includes comparable and realistic bids.
With our tested and proven project management system, we monitor the progression of each project. Our system allows us to solve problems and work through issues with the contractor as they arise, developing appropriate and cost-effective solutions in real time. Our system keeps the home owner, contractor, and client in harmony throughout the duration of the project.
Since the majority of our home modification projects involve multiple parties who often have opposing interests, it is imperative that we remain objective. AHS facilitates the process between parties by considering what’s medically necessary related to the injury while protecting the fiduciary interests of all parties.
We also pride ourselves on being transparent. Our assessment process never includes input by an individual or company who may provide a service or product in our recommendations. Contractors and providers are not contacted until the plans are complete and agreed upon, and AHS never acts as a general contractor. The paying source remits payment directly to the contractor, and this process is overseen by the AHS executive team. Our services are unbiased and time-tested.