15 Aging In Place Quick Tips – Did You Know?

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EtMM and our parent company ADM Architecture have recently been brought on board by the fastest growing “Resource Guide for Baby Boomers” and their families, a company and website called Answers For Elders out of Seattle, Washington.  As an expert and professional in the Aging In Place industry, we’ve been tasked with providing some of the content specific to our industry and profession.  We are blessed and honored to be on the AnswersForElders.com team, and we thought we’d share some of the insights we have provided to their site as professional expert content on Aging In Place.

Enjoy the tips!  If you have any questions, feel free to reach us at info@EmpoweringTheMatureMind.com

Before we get into the “Quick Tips” and insights into some of the “Did You Know”, we thought we’d provide a short list of information about simply…

What Do We Do?

–  We consult with home owners and their families on how to create a “forever home” for successful Aging In Place.

–  We provide In-Home assessments to evaluate the client’s specific wants, needs, goals, and design solution ideas.

–  We can provide property evaluations and feasibility studies to potential home-buyers and land / building developers.

–  We offer full design and permitting services as a licensed Architect (or a home designer).

–  We can design for new construction, remodeling, and additions to your home and property.

–  We are trained CAPS “Certified Aging In Place Specialists” and/or also licensed Architects, with proven design skills.

–  We are versed in “Universal Design”, “Aging-In-Place”, Visit-Ability & Accessibility, via training and experience.

–  We can expedite permit submittals, help with selection of a reputable contractor or builder, and observe construction.

–  We focus on aesthetically pleasing (non-institutional) full design integration for increased ease-of-use by everyone.

–  We save clients a significant amount of money when comparing remodeling to assisted living or nursing home care. (Sign up for our newsletter, and receive a FREE copy of our White Paper “There’s $500,000 HIDING in your HOME”)


Did You Know?

1) Anyone can call themselves a “home designer”, there is no licensing or exams process for residential design. (“home designer” is a self-proclaimed title.  Anyone can use it, if they know a structural engineer who will stamp the drawings to say the house will stand up to snow and wind loads, to explain it in an “over-simplified” way.)

2) A licensed Architect has typically completed on average 8 years of schooling and apprenticeship training under an architect, before they are approved to sit down for their first attempt at the NCARB’s A.R.E. licensing exams.

3) A licensed Architect has sat for (and passed) a minimum of 9 exams totaling 36+ hours of testing related to all aspects of design and construction, life safety, health, and welfare of the public in the built environment.

4) Your Architect / designer should be a good “fit” for you, as it’s a relationship you will have for a minimum of a couple months to a year depending on the scale of the project. Find someone that you feel comfortable with and feels honest, ethical, trustworthy, and builds trust and rapport easily with you and others. They’ll be your representative and advocate during design, permitting, and construction.

5) Look for an “active listener” who hears you (the client) and the WANTS, NEEDS, and CONCERNS you have. Ask for, and contact, a couple of their references (previous clients and industry colleagues) for feedback on others’ experience with your potential Architect / designer.

6) Don’t base your Architect / designer choice on the lowest fee structure alone, as that can be very risky. You typically “get what you pay for” in the design and construction industries.

7) New Construction and remodeling construction and design costs can vary significantly based on the size, scope, and scale of the project. Smaller projects cost more per square foot, as there is an “economy of scale” for residential projects, and some fixed costs for any project.

8) Your Architect / designer can assist with the bidding of the design and permit drawings, as well as the interviewing and selection of a General Contractor for your remodel, addition, or new home.

9) Certified Aging in Place Specialist is a designation sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders. It requires only three days of instruction to qualify for this designation. It is a known and understood credentialing & designation in the industry for additional training specific to working with older clients and their wants & needs.

10) While the CAPS designation does not immediately make an Architect, designer, or contractor an expert in disability remodeling, it is a good baseline education and credentialing for your design professionals to have if you have the choice.

11) Good design by your Architect / designer is an absolutely vital (and often overlooked) part of remodeling. Many times a well thought out design can save you more in construction costs than their ENTIRE FEE.

12) It is very cost effective and pertinent to work with an Architect / designer to get your concepts and design drawings figured out on paper first, even if you go through a couple of extra design ideas on paper. It’s worth the time & cost to get it right. Do this before submitting for any permits or asking contractors to bid the project for cost estimating. “It costs a dollar to move a line on paper, it costs $1000 to move a wall on the job site”.

13) Typical “full service” design fees for Architects from inspection through completed construction of the project equates to a range of 8-12% for new construction, and 10-15% for remodeling. Most will require that of the total designfee, a 20% retainer is held per the specifics of the contract, and released to be applied to the final billing at permit submittal or the end of the construction observation phase.  (This can vary by region and scope of work)

14) Be wary of anyone that is offering services for significantly less than the ranges above, as it probably falls into the “novice” or “fly by night” designer category, or not a realistic estimate for “full service”.

15) The project may be broken down into phases of design work and fee structure, if you don’t want the Architect / designer to oversee the construction process and advocate on your behalf with the General Contractor. Although this is an option that may save you 10-20% of an Architect / designer fee, it’s not recommended. Removing this can omit a security of 3 parties involved and the “checks and balances” that comes with a 3rd party vs. just the client and the Contractor.

We hope you enjoyed this quick list of TIPS for understanding a bit more about Aging In Place and the VALUE of a design professional as a part of your solution TEAM in creating your “Forever Home”.  If you need more information, you can reach us at info@EmpoweringTheMatureMind.com or contact us via our architecture website at www.ADM-architecture.com.  Our Mission at EtMM is “Dramatically improving our clients’ ability to live a longer and happier life AT HOME.”

For More Local Resource information in your area of the country on Aging In Place experts, you can go to Answers For Elders Planning and Design Decision Guide


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