By , March 19, 2010 12:02 am




Preparing for the development or renovation/addition of seniors housing and/or care facilities requires considerable pre-planning with a range of functions to be attended to including consultation with municipalities CMHC, BC Housing, community interests and vested interests, as well as the regional health authority and the Ministry of Health. In conjunction with this the owner/developer may need to perform a Needs Analysis and Marketing Study. Having a clear destination in mind makes it easier to get there. These are descriptions of several points in the development and design process where we have specific expertise. Each describes the scope of services typically covered. This can be viewed as a cafeteria-type plan, where clients can pick and choose the services that meet their needs; or several tasks can be included in a Planning and Development Consultant role. We would recommend a monthly retainer based on the scope of the project. This offers best value for the client versus using the services and expertise for each of the specific component functions.

SWOT Analysis:

This initial phase will involve a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). We will need to establish what the municipality and other authorities (particularly funders) are prepared to accept on the site and factor that into our analysis of what is financially viable and sustainable.


We provide an overview to key therapeutic goals/requirements and associated design guidelines for the residents that clearly define the scope of the project. It is critically important when planning for housing and care for seniors that the liaison with the residents of the community is handled by experts who understand the costs, dynamics of the program set-up and care delivery systems.

Market Analysis:

We need to conduct a market study to find the level of unmet or pent up need in the community for services within primarily 10km from the project. This analysis would also look at competition, transportation, housing retail, community service and care related infrastructure.

Master Planning:

The relative locations of housing to other infrastructure are important within a site in determining accessibility and functionality. Proximity to services is critical for seniors.

Business Case:

This includes construction costs and related operating costs, along with anticipated revenues but there are bundled and unbundled services and programs to be factored in and these relate to the functional use of the building and client needs. An appraisal assists the developer in determining the viability of a project and either directly or indirectly lays out the risk factors for the business under consideration.

Preliminary Report:

The Preliminary or Sub Report brings all these soft and technical elements on seniors care and housing into the overarching report. It adds to the land and architectural components as well as the community consultation and municipal perspective. Basically this is a report that describes the best use of the site and building in relation to the community needs.

Compliance Audit:

It is essential to gain a clear understanding of how well the existing facility (assuming there is one) is working: i.e. to determine compliance with standards and guidelines, identify problems,  examine successful building characteristics and explore potentially desirable features and upgrades.

Functional Program:

Successful projects begin with a clearly defined functional/operational program that expresses the philosophies, therapeutic goals and models of care for the project. Design Guidelines, comparative designs and experience are utilized. This serves as the foundation for a Space program.

Space Program:

Once a detailed functional/operational program is developed, the architectural or Space programming process defines the range and size of spaces necessary to the project.

Capital Budget:

Based on the Space Program and current construction costs, we develop an Order of Magnitude Capital Budget, including construction and soft costs, and broken down into

Planning and Construction phases. A Quantity Surveyor is brought on to the Project to estimate and monitor costs throughout the planning process.

Consultant Selection:

We can assist in the recruitment, selection and contracting of an Architect and Engineers. We can provide a standard format for short listing, interview questions, reference checks, and fee negotiation. Once the project is approved for development we can assist in selecting the numerous other consultants necessary to plan and develop the project.

Project Schedule:

With the input of the Architect we can develop a Gantt chart, or project schedule, showing the critical path of major components. This will be necessary to project the various planning and project milestones, as well as the beginning and duration of construction, time for commissioning and the opening date. We will monitor the project schedule as it evolves to problem solve and ensure that the Project comes in on time.

Project Proposal:

The Preliminary or Sub‑Report can now be developed into a full Project Proposal with a Business Case based on Market Research, a Community Profile, Project Development Capacity, Service Delivery Model and Methodology, Functional and Space Programs, Project Schedule, estimated Capital Costs, projected Operating Costs, anticipated revenues and financing costs. This will probably be necessary to acquire financing and other approvals. (A full Project Proposal can involve 100 to 200 hours)


We can assist the owner to explore and apply for project financing, including grants, seed funding, project development funding, construction financing and take out mortgage. We have considerable experience negotiating with government authorities such as CMHC, BC Housing, Health Authorities, and other third party payers.

Project Coordination:

As the Project Coordinator (PC), we would manage the owner’s participation in the planning, construction, and commissioning of the Facility in accordance with relevant authorities’ requirements. This includes interpreting facility requirements, advancing and protecting the owner’s interest, anticipating and solving problems that threaten the schedule, cost, scope or quality of work. Accountability is demonstrated through regular reports of project outcomes including initiatives to solve problems, resolve conflict and control cost, submitted to the regular meetings of the Project Building Committee.

Design Reviews:

We will work closely with the Architect to ensure that several appropriate conceptual drawings are developed for the owner’s review. Once design is underway, our periodic review at each stage of the plans provides a check-point for insuring that the goals of the project are being met through the design and that all aspects of the building continue to comply with these standards and guidelines. Reviews are recommended at Schematic, Design Development, at 50% and then 95% of completed Working Drawings. (Each review takes between 5 and 20 hours) This task can be part of the Development Consultant role.

Quality Control:

Throughout the Construction process we can monitor the quality of the work by regular meetings with Design Consultants and through attending regular Site Meetings and Project Building Committee meetings. Generally there are several meetings a month with Design Consultants, and monthly site and Project Building Committee meetings.

Cost Control:

We can continue to monitor the Capital Budget, throughout the planning and construction stages, to ensure that the project comes in on budget. We will utilize the input of a Quantity Surveyor to project costs at each design stage. If projected capital costs are over budget, we can assist the owner to conduct Value Analysis to find and achieve cost savings. If tenders come in over budget, we can assist with negotiations and consideration of cost saving measures to bring the cost within budget. During the Construction Stage, we can assist in the monitoring of the Change Order and Project contingencies. Throughout the Project we can assist in the Payment process by setting up and implementing a monthly Payment Schedule system.


Knowledgeable and skilled caregivers are likely the most critical component to achieving a sustainable and successful supportive housing or care setting. We can provide staff training, policy and procedure development, tailored to the facility’s needs. Some facilities request simple directives to other available training resources, while others request a complete training package. Selection, tendering, purchasing, and delivery of start up Supplies, Furniture, and Equipment is a time consuming and complex process which we can assist with. Commissioning generally is a process that unfolds over several months. This process typically is best met through a monthly retainer from 6 months prior to opening and extending some months after occupancy permit.

Return to Top

Click to e-mail Bill Benbow


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Panorama Theme by Themocracy