Top 10 things to remember for architectural modifications

1. The primary requirement for barrier-free access is: How do people get out of the
building (exit)  –  NOT how do people get INTO THE BUILDING.

2. Most situations require at least 2 barrier-free exits from the building.  As a part of a
barrier-free path of travel, these exits should avoid the requirement for a person to use a mechanical lift in order to exit during an emergency situation.

3. In all situations, the life and safety requirements of the individual must supersede the aesthetic or life-style choices.

4. As people continue to change physically and intellectually these changes will affect their needs.  The design should allow for the changes over a lifetime.

5. The decision to renovate an existing building can be impacted by many people; the neighbours, building officials, zoning authorities, rivers & streams officials, and the fire department inspectors are just a few of the people that can greatly affect the
opportunity to modify a site.

6. The costs for a modification project can be greatly altered by the condition and capacity of the existing infrastructure and systems; for example the electrical supply, the heating system, and the water supply can all be affected.

7. ALL renovations will have unforeseen costs.

8. No work should begin on a project unless there is some form of contract.  In general a  legal contract does not exist if it does not have signatures of all the parties to the contract.

9. Documentation and communication are required for all changes, decisions, increased costs, ‘extras’, and any other modification of the original contract.

10. All construction projects must be supervised regularly. Problems will arise and solutions must be found in a timely manner.  The cost of supervision will always be less than the costs associated to ‘fix’ the job at a later date.

Remember the sweetness of the lower cost will never outlast the bitterness of poorer quality.

About Brian

A Professional Interior Designer who has also completed graduate studies in industrial design and business management, and has specialized in the areas of functional design for products and buildings in respect of the issues of disabilities, aging and Universal Design for over 30 years.