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Leading our Home Modifications team – A focus on Lisa Ham

Including Lisa’s 5 tips essential for a successful home modification

Lisa is a Senior Project Manager coordinating the home modification service for Architecture & Access’ WorkSafe and NDIS portfolios. The service offers an end-to-end solution for the client and their families.

Unlike home renovations, home modifications deal with private and sensitive aspects of people’s lives. Lisa’s professional approach and calm manner enables her to provide a personal and collaborative experience for the client.

Since joining Architecture & Access over 5 years ago Lisa has worked side by side with a team of home modification specialists. This includes architects, building interior designers, and project managers with specialist knowledge in designing for people with disability and people ageing in place.

What has led you to be working in the Home Modifications field?

Firstly, I really do enjoy working closely with people and knowing that I can offer an outcome which is tangible and provides positive life-changing solutions and independence, this brings me deep satisfaction. I have previously worked in small architectural practices with both individual clients and larger commercial organisations. I joined Architecture & Access to build on this experience in a more specialised field and ties into my values of social responsibility and empathy for others. Working with people who have everyday challenges and helping them achieve independence is both rewarding and a great privilege.

You now lead the Home Modifications for the WorkSafe & NDIS portfolios for Architecture & Access. What does your new role comprise of and how do you make a difference for your clients?

There are so many components to a successful home modification project with many stakeholders involved. I work with a very skilled team of professionals to support the delivery of home modifications. My role is to support the team to deliver an end-to-end model of service delivery, ensuring that all work is carried out in compliance with building and planning regulations.  This means we are there at the initial site assessment with the occupational therapist through to the management of individual building contracts during the construction stage. For each project we liaise with stakeholders including occupational therapists and funding bodies. Ultimately, my goal, and the goal of my team, is to reduce the complexity and stress of changes to the client’s home so they can enjoy greater independence, safety and amenity.

What is your daily motivation to continue to provide this important service for your clients, their carers and families?

My motivation is providing a service that can aid someone to gain independence. Being able to do the simple day to day things for yourself and in private can be life changing. For me, leading a team of people who are providing impactful change is almost addictive and extremely rewarding.

Lisa’s 5 tips for improved occupational therapy prescriptions and successful home modifications?

John’s home modification

Number 1. Collaboration. Collaboration is the key to achieving the best home modification outcomes for clients. Defining the scope of the home modification and the design solution requires input from three key stakeholders: the person with a disability, the occupational therapist and the home modification specialist project manager. Each person has a distinct role, expertise and responsibility.

This collaboration allows a home modification to take shape, and all three parties are needed to define the right design solution and process for each project.

Number 2. NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation(SDA) Design Standard can inform occupational therapy prescriptions. Occupational therapists for many years have referenced AS1428.1 Design for Access and Mobility as a benchmark when prescribing home modifications. AS1428.1 was developed for public buildings, not people’s homes. The SDA Design standards were developed for new housing for people with disability following broad consultation with occupational therapists, access consultants, carers, service providers and people with lived experience of disability.

For most home modifications the Fully Accessible and High Physical Support categories provide benchmarks that exceed the minimum requirements of AS1428.1 and may meet individuals functional requirements more readily, depending on the existing constraints of the home.

Number 3. Ramps, landings and door circulation. Door circulation needs to be considered when prescribing landings for ramps. We often see a 1200mm x 1200mm landing prescribed for homes that have outward opening swing screen doors. These intrude into the circulation space of a 1200mm x 1200mm landing leaving little room for a person who uses a wheelchair or other mobility device to safely manoeuvre as the door swings outward towards them. It is important to reference the requirements in AS1428.1 for door circuluation and consider the size of the door leaf and the approach to the door. This review of circulation requirements can improve the outcome for clients.

Number 4. Grab rails – it is in the detail. For a home modification to successfully meet the functional requirements of the person with a disability, the specialist home modification project manager needs specific and detailed occupational therapy prescriptions regarding the location and type of handrails.

Not having a complete prescription can cause delays to the progress of the home modifications.

Number 5. Slip resistance and ramps. All the work we design and document is compliant with the National Construction Code. This means that we are cognisant of the slip resistance requirements for ramps. We often see ramps constructed with timber such as treated pine or natural timber as the ramp surface which does not meet slip resistance requirements, putting users at risk of slipping.

Collaboration with a specialist home modification project manager will ensure safety and compliance for home modification projects.

Contact Lisa and the team at Architecture & Access to discuss a Home Modification assessment of your home. http://www.homemodvic.com.au/

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Posted in Access Consulting