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WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD A GOOD CARE HOME?

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It doesn’t just take bricks and mortar to build a care home; it takes design, planning, and construction that is compliant to meet the

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needs of the people who will use it.

A bourgeoning idea or ambition to create the most outstanding care environment the UK has seen is a growing trend but who takes the idea from a sketch on a napkin and runs with it to realise the dream?

Who considers the need for the facility? Where will it be built? Has the land been bought? What about the design, specification? Will it be compliant? Will it gain planning permission? Who will build it? Who will manage the build, the budgets?  Will it gain its
CQC registration?

With this many questions and uncertainties you can begin to understand the enormity of the task at hand.

So where do you start and what qualities should you look for in a development and project management partner?

You will need an experienced partner, someone who understands the design and development process. They must demonstrate an understanding of current legislation and compliance requirements to become CQC registered, and not least what it takes to be a good project manager.

The design and build of a care home is incredibly complex, however there is a process to follow. It starts with finding or assessing the land, and then working out the deal such as land and outline building costs, finance costs, professional fees, and agent’s fees. Once this stage is agreed the planning process begins.

The submission of a planning application comes at the end of a very lengthy process of design, survey, and risk appraisal research

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and consultation that assesses everything from noise nuisance potential, land contamination, services overhead and underground, surface water disposal, environmental impact, and biodiversity.

Once planning is securedthe next phase is design development. This involves the development of a brief and the commissioning of a professional team before addressing planning conditions, building regulations, the design stages, specifications, cost management, project procedures and quality assurance. Only after the latter is confirmed can the negotiations with contractors begin.

Construction begins only when the funding package has been confirmed at which stage project and construction management works to a cycle of client consultation and feedback in the form of site visits and project and budget updates taking the build to completion and handover.

We spoke to a global award winning project manager, Ian Holmes from NorthStar,about the reality of developing care home environments for the future and what it takes.

“We make this complex process look incredibly easy, it’s our job, but getting a care home to completion requires operational, planning, architectural, technical and project management experience.

“We are unique, we provide all of these components. My business partner Danny can literally meet a client at a site, do a sketch on the back of a napkin and work it up in to a design with the client before submitting it for planning. Again we are unique in the fact we understand the care sector so well we have a 100% success record of gaining planning consent,and once secured I take over with organising tenders and overseeing the build.

“It can be tough delivering excellence as development and project managers, we’re very rarely in the same place from day to day and in between the meetings there’s the serious stuff of ensuring the project is on schedule and running smoothly.

“To give you an idea, only the other week I clocked up almost1,000 miles in just three days to ensure our projects were on schedule BBH2and gearing up for completion. Ultimately we advise and control during a hand-holding process, imparting our professional recommendations to ensure the brief is met with a fully prepared and enabled care facility that is CQC registered.”

Building a care home isn’t a 9 till 5 job. With many hurdles to overcome you can begin to understand how the task is so much more than developing a design from a plan. It can take three years to develop from initial idea to completion and even then a good development and project management team will still be very much on hand for at least 12 months after.

NorthStar is an award winning care home, extra care and dementia care home design, development and project management company specialising in 5 star CQC compliant developments throughout the UK.

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