Relying on requirements
It’s a nice point of beginning and a great fall back position to recommend features or improvements for our clients because they comply with local codes or ordinances. However, the client may not require all of these changes, desire them, or have the budget for them. Also, the configuration and age of the home may suggest another direction.
We should be knowledgeable about codes, techniques, and best practices to be able to use and recommend them as appropriate by not apply them like a referee. Each home and each individual’s needs vary, so rigidly applying rules because they are well-defined or commonly known may not be what is needed in each situation.
It’s great to have a foundation in what is recommended or required generally, but then we interpret what our client needs and design a course of action that may include some of the commonly held or required elements and some others because it’s what the client needs.
A starting point
Unless something is a building code requirement that must be included and will be inspected to make sure that it is installed properly, we should rely on our client’s needs in determining what to recommend to them.
Included in our project scope and formulation is a determination of what the client would benefit from to increase their safety, general function, accessibility, and comfort or convenience. In that determination will be client preferences, reliance on what already exists and how easy it might be to modify it, codes that apply, timing, and of course, budget.
Accommodating the client
In the final analysis, we want a safer experience for our client. If that is accomplished by adhering to various codes and recommendations, great. However, the client may have other considerations and requirements we should address and not be rigid in our interpretation of what they should have – looking instead at what will help them the most.
Aging in place renovations are client-specific – addressing their needs and not those of anyone else necessarily. When we can accomplish what they want by using commonly observed practices, it makes it easier for all concerned. However, we should not be limited in our creativity or willingness to suggest what might work for them even if it is a little unorthodox or uncommon.
In short, we have codes, best practices, our experiences, the home itself, and the client’s desires and budget to guide us in any modifications or interventions we suggest or undertake with our clients.