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Scott Sevon, CGR, CAPS, GMR, with Men at Work Chicago (MAW), stumbled upon an untapped and overlooked remodeling market segment when a potential client came to him with a new challenge — to modify their home to accommodate a disabled child.
“The CAPS designation, along with other designations attained by our staff, has put us heads and shoulders above our competition,” said Sevon. “It shows the clients that we care about continuing education and that we are on top of the new trends in home remodeling.”
The experience and skills they had in modifying homes to enable clients to age comfortably in their home came in handy with this new challenge — which turned out to be a very successful project for the company.
“After completing that first project, we were able to secure similar remodeling jobs by letting fellow remodelers, suppliers, banks, trust departments and physical therapists know of our expertise,” said Sevon.
“We give seminars to help others understand our certifications, including our CAPS designation, and the value we can bring to this type of work. This has allowed us to diversify into a previously overlooked market,” he said.
For the original project and other remodeling jobs, MAW incorporated technologies and modifications that not only benefit the disabled family member, but the caregiver as well.
Elevators and Lifts to Expand Access
Wheelchair lifts are typically three times larger than standard stair lifts and feature a built-in handle to support the person as they go up and down the stairs.
Ramps That Conform to ADA Requirements
Some of their ramps have been constructed from cement, wood, recycled products, stone pavers and pre-manufactured systems, but all conform to ADA grades of 1-in-12 inches (or less) and ADA minimum dimensions. They all also have wheel stop toe plates.
Tracked Lift Systems That Help Move People Too Big to Lift
Tracked lift systems transport disabled children or adults who are too big for the caregiver to lift. The systems are used to transfer them in and out of bathtubs, showers, personal sanitary facilities, sleeping areas and more.
Sevon specifies Horcher, a single-track, overhead mounted system, or Egrolet, which manufactures a dual-track, wall-mounted slide rail tracking system, for his clients. He noted that both systems require detailed and defined site layouts and embedded support — engineered headers, beams and support systems — to carry the tracks and the individual.
The systems are often a boon to family caregivers because, as Sevon explained, they can reduce injuries and muscle strain sustained through years of lifting, while also helping to remove some family stress inherant in an already stressful situation.
Two Key Garage Renovations
Sevon said he focuses on two particular garage renovations when adapting homes for the disabled — enlarging the overhead garage doors and installing a climate control system.
The larger doors are necessary because they enable families to fit their conversion vans inside the garage so they can safely unload their disabled family members.
With many disabled family members sensitive and susceptible to heat or cold, he said, keeping garages at a comfortable temperature is important when they are transferring to or from their home.
Costs Will Vary
Sevon said costs will vary depending upon the extent of the remodel — whether fully gutting the home or just adding the features required by the client.
“If added to a full remodel, the backing and supports go in very easily and could add 10% to 15% to the cost of the remodel,” Sevon said. “The lifts and slings fall between $5,000 to $15,000 depending on options, access points and needs.”
He added that a fully renovated bathroom with supports, lifts, slings and an accessible tub, toilet and shower could double the standard cost of a remodel, but the comfort and assurance it provides clients is worth much more to them.
“Although the work is profitable, it is even more rewarding to know that we are able to help make houses a better home for our clients’ disabled family members,” said Sevon.
For more information, e-mail Scott Sevon of Men At Work, or call him at 847-359-3591.