Architecture & Access has more than 15 years experience working on behalf of insurance agents to deliver home modification projects for eligible people. The following is a summary of the process for insurance agents engaging and delivering project management services.
Please contact us for more information or to discuss any project-specific issues.
Step 1: Referral
- The agent refers an occupational therapist to assess the insured person.
- The occupational therapist completes the assessment report to the insurance agent including any recommendations for home modification.
- The agent assesses the recommendations against their criteria for acceptance and provides a written referral to Architecture & Access to engage our project management services. This request will include the occupational therapist’s report and contact details of the insured person. This is usually an email.
- Architecture & Access provides the agent with a Referral Acceptance including an estimate of the hours required for completing the assessment and planning process.
- The agent signs the Return of Acceptance Form and returns the form to Architecture & Access by email.
Step 2: Assessment & Planning
- A specialist home modification Project Manager from Architecture & Access visits the insured person to complete the assessment and planning process and develop options for home modification.
- In consultation with the insured person and the occupational therapist, the project manager will produce a schematic design. The proposed design will consider the occupational therapist’s prescription, the needs of the individual, and the existing site conditions and structure. This important stage usually includes preliminary room arrangements, fixtures layout, window and door opening sizes and orientation, indication of indoor–outdoor flow, and preliminary choice of construction systems.
- Architecture & Access provides the agent with the Schematic Design and the Project Plan including the scope and cost estimates.
- Architecture & Access submits the Schematic Design to the occupational therapist for sign-off to ensure the design meets the requirements of the insured person. Architecture & Access provides the agent with a copy of the occupational therapist’s acceptance.
- The project manager visits the insured person to discuss the project and obtain their sign-off on the Schematic Design.
Step 3: Home Modification Design Development
- The home modification design is developed incorporating input from the insured person, including more detailing of layout, the fixtures and fittings, and consideration of standards for accessibility, the National Construction Code and building permit requirements.
- Architecture & Access engages sub-consultants as required, such as a structural engineer and building surveyor.
- The project manager visits the insured person and obtains sign-off on the design drawings and specifications. The project manager will also liaise with the insured person about the process of construction, any impact on living arrangements and other concerns.
- The project manager liaises with the building surveyor to obtain the Building Permit if required.
Step 4: Contracting and Construction
The Architecture & Access project manager will manage the contracting and construction stage, which involves the:
- Provision of support to the insured person throughout the contracting and construction phase.
- Preparation of the tender package including the detailed design and technical specifications. Pre-qualified builders from our panel of experienced registered builders are invited to respond to the tender. For rural and regional projects, Architecture & Access will engage local registered builders.
- Assessment of the tender response and submission of a Tender Evaluation Report to the insurer for approval. The agent will arrange the Capital Service Agreement (CSA) with the insured person if relevant to their model of service delivery.
- Facilitation of the building contract to be signed between the builder and the homeowner.
- Oversight of the construction of the project to ensure the work is undertaken according the documentation. Progress claims from the builder and sub-consultants are certified and forwarded to the agent for payment.
- The project manager assesses and manages any changes to the contract including variations to scope, budget and time.
- Close-out of the project is managed, including collection of Certificates of Compliance and Certificate of Final Inspection. The project manager will liaise with the insured person and the builder to finalise and close out any defects.
- The project manager will notify the occupational therapist, if the required by the agent, to inspect and sign-off the constructed project.
- Final invoices are submitted to the insurer for payment.
Home Modification Practice standards
Architecture & Access follows practice standards for quality and compliance. These include:
- Using registered practitioners to undertake work.
- Undertaking all work in compliance with the National Construction Code and state-base laws and regulations.
- Undertaking all work with reference to relevant and applicable Standards inclusive of AS1428 as it applies to the individual needs and project requirements
- Administering domestic building contracts as required by law.
- Architecture & Access has achieved ISO9001 and OH&S AS4801 certification.
The control over the cost of each project and support for the sustainability of support system as a whole can be managed through the following practice standards:
- Service agreements and tenders to be inclusive of the cost of all inputs.
- Agreement on the cost management procedures and pricing mechanisms developed in consultation with the insurer and service providers.
- Agreement on management of variations in consultation with the insurer, service providers and participants.
- Scope of work for home modification to include accurate cost estimates.
In addition to poor scoping and cost-estimation, the majority of problems that relate to cost increases after project approval are traceable to some combination of design-related issues, variations to the contract, poor execution or non-compliance.
To control cost in these areas, Architecture & Access:
- Develops design solutions in collaboration with the project manager, occupational therapist and person with disability in line with insurers criteria.
- Prepares design drawings and specifications with great care and precision to avoid variations and construction errors and costly rectification
- Consults closely with the home owner during design development to include all the necessary details in the contract.
- Clarifies the binding nature of the building contract with the insured person and discourages unnecessary variations after contract signing.
- When variations must happen, strict procedures are followed to document and sign-off the variations.
Poor quality, defective or non-compliant work is obviously a poor outcome for the homeowner and the insurer. Home modification projects completed without permits or adherence to the building code and standards leave everyone exposed to risk.
The National Construction Code includes a list of standards, which set the technical and performance requirements for buildings. Compliance with the Standards is mandatory whenever they apply to any work. The law of Domestic Building contracts lays out some general standards to ensure that workmanship is of a reasonable standard and the finished product is fit for purpose.
Although not mandatory for residential buildings, Architecture & Access uses ‘AS1428 Design for access and mobility’ as the standard reference particularly in relation to ramp design, doorway widening, circulation spaces, toilets, grabrails, reach ranges, furniture and fittings and luminance contrast.
Practice standards for compliance include:
What is the criteria for engaging home modification project management services?
A home modification becomes a ‘project’ when specialist expertise is required to ensure the home modification is designed and delivered on time and within budget to meet a prescribed scope and quality.
Architecture & Access recommends a project manager to oversee any project which meets one or more of the following criteria:
The insured person has severe and permanent disability and the home environment is posing significant barriers to access and independence.
- Detailed design plans and specifications are required.
- A building contract is required.
- A building permit is required.
- The cost estimate triggers the threshold set by the insurer.
A home modification project may include a combination of some or all of the following:
- Creating stepless thresholds to improve accessibility including removing steps and uneven floors.
- Installing hand-railings, increasing circulation spaces and doorway widening.
- Accessible design and fittings for the bathroom, vanities and storage.
- Kitchen design – accessible appliances, tap ware, sinks, bench and storage design.
- Bedroom design – creation of circulation space and accessible wardrobes.
- Internal and external lighting design – sensor lights, location of switches and power.
- Furnishing, flooring, doors and glazing.
- Landscape design – external access paths, railings, car parking.
Project management is not required for minor work that can be easily delegated to a handyman or maintenance service with appropriate skill, such as:
- The installation of grab rails only.
- Changing of fittings such as tapware only.
- Rearrangement of furniture.
Please contact our project management team to discuss your project on 1300 715 866