Top five care home build tips shared by chartered surveyors

Kiwi House residential care home in Derby.  

Photograph by Martin Neeves Photography - www.martinneeves.com - Tel: +44 (0)7973 638591 - E-mail: martinneeves@googlemail.comKiwi House residential care home in Derby. Photograph by Martin Neeves Photography – www.martinneeves.com – Tel: +44 (0)7973 638591 – E-mail: martinneeves@googlemail.com

Chartered surveyors, Edward Cooper Young, who worked recently on Adept Care’s Kiwi House, has shared how what they consider to be the five most important care home build tips.

According to the surveyors, the most important aspect to any new build development is getting it set up correctly from the outset.

The following points, put forward by Edward Cooper Young, are based upon a new build 64 to 78 bed care home facility:

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1) Appoint a suitable professional team – usually, we would expect an architect with good care home experience to be appointed, along with a structural engineer and mechanical and electrical engineer with similar experience, all with suitable levels of professional indemnity insurance.  Many operators choose not to employ a mechanical and electrical consultant; however, this can be circa 30% to 35% of the total build cost of a home.  Having an expert advise and review these key systems is important to achieve minimal post completion issues with your electrical, heating and plumbing systems and to create a highly comfortable living environment for residents.

2) Procurement route – most new build schemes are built using the design and build approach where the risk of the design is transferred to your selected main contractor.  In most cases the architect and structural engineer who have worked up the drawings for planning and tendering ; then provide continuity in the design  by being novated across to the main contractor – they effectively work for the main contractor during the build process, passing on the design risk to them.

3) Budget – having a sensible budget from the outset is important.  This should include for your construction costs, professional fees, surveys, planning costs, legal fees, funding costs (inc ext. fees), loose furniture and fitting out costs and remember to add VAT to all non-construction costs.

4) Design – make sure you include all stakeholders and key members of staff involved in the design process prior to any planning application being submitted.  Your existing managers and staff have a far better guide on how the home is run than most owners and therefore the design, location and sizes of rooms should be approved via them prior to application. A series of design work shops should be used to evolve the design process. At this stage prior to any application I would usually speak to a couple of suitable main contractors who we have worked with or have been recommended to us. Remember the main contractor is your key partner to deliver your multi-million pound investment!

5) Main contractor –the most important member of the team is your main contractor, they can make or break the scheme.  The selection of which main contractor’s you have on your tender list is vital.  You need to take advice from your professional team who have experience in working on similar schemes and who they would welcome on any tender list.  I would always get them involved as early as possible for initial advice as noted above.  Interview them prior to going out to tender – find out if they have the capacity to undertake your scheme. Make sure you can see yourselves working with them.

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