Bathrooms for the Elderly – Renovation Quote for Rosebay

Image of Bathroom Renovation Quote featuring bathrooms for the elderly in Sydney

Westpoint Building Services Pty Ltd provide custom made bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and full home remodels in the Sydney and greater Western region. We often have senior couples contact us needing senior friendly bathrooms.

One elderly couple in the city inquired regarding a bathroom renovation in Rosebay. They had watched many of the renovation shows on television. They wanted an impractical bathroom design which actually did not really suit their needs in terms of safety & functionality. Furthermore, they had been spurred on by a big renovation company coming up with ever more impractical solutions, of course, with a significant price tag. A giant quote amount for their bathroom renovation motivated them to seek more quotes.

Bathrooms Modifications for Elderly Citizens

A critical part of the design process when creating custom designs for bathrooms for the eldery is the consideration of the human factor, so often overlooked by larger companies with cookie cutter methods & solutions. We have never seen a client as a number & part of our planned growth is to consider & always stay in touch with our customer as a human being. It is part of the raison d’etre of our conduct in the industry.

Renovating Bathroom Tips for Seniors When Considering a Bathroom Renovation Sydney

The previous quote by the bathroom renovation company had suggested an industrial style frameless shower screen (without grab rails) & tiles that had no adhesion; they would have been incredibly slippery when wet, subjecting the elderly couple to a higher risk of injury.

The bathroom renovation company had a shower head coming out of the ceiling, convincing the couple that it was in style & fashionable, which would mean that the elderly couple would be looking up a lot more. One of the couple suffered from high blood pressure & was susceptible to dizzy spells & they would subsequently probably fall, injure or god forbid something worse could happen to them. I suggested a detachable shower head with a grab bar that is an anchor point attaching it. This is called a Grab Rail Shower kit. Details on this particular product are here. Btw, Sometimes a shower head is an accessory you will often see in photos for bathrooms for the eldery but in this case it was not appropriate. GET TO KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER, and treat them like a human being first.

It is not just about bathroom setups for elderly people being a crucial consideration in bathroom renovation design; you need to SPEAK with your customers & find out about them; their medical conditions, how they use spaces, their needs & then bring your own knowledge & expertise in to the equation & innovate for them.

I was quite flabbergasted by the lack of understanding & practicality of this quote. I guess they just did not ask the right questions. I also guess the salesperson did not have experience with senior bathrooms. Or empathy to consider other options during the sell-in process.

The Importance of Safety and Custom Design in Senior Friendly Bathrooms & Bathrooms for the Elderly

No where in the bathroom renovation company’s suggested design was the safety, the reality & the practical considered against a sound & contemporary design which could also be achieved & cost effectively executed, minimising spend & maximising safety while still creating a modern bathroom with resale appeal, all contemporary fixtures, design & even visual appeal. Also, most importantly, allowing this lovely couple to stay in their home for as long as they possibly can!

They could have it all, still, I told them.

Bathroom Modifications for Elderly Couples

We found ways to meet their design wants & expectations, to meet their needs, to quote for a wonderful bathroom that they loved in concept & design & practicality all within a much more comfortable budget which was significantly cheaper than the crazy high-end bathroom that would have been for a millennial couple or younger with no significant health or mobility issues.

The consultation was nearly two hours (usually our consultations are around an hour which we find is ample time to discuss a bathroom renovation).  Frank wanted to spend far more time with the couple because he felt they were not treated fairly from the beginning & were not considered in a humane way. He knew professionally that the proposed works lacked a safe planning strategy for the bathroom renovation for this elderly couple.

The outcome resulted in Westpoint Building Services not actually winning the work as the couple were given a much cheaper quote.  Frank was satisfied with the amount of effort he put in to the quote because at least the couple were now considering their practical safety needs & would be negotiating with any company in this light.  In fact, he found out that his considerations & suggestions were used in their renovation.

When the renovation was completed the couple re-contacted Frank & thanked him for his input & all the time he had given them, even though WPBS Services did not end up doing the work.

Bathroom modifications for the elderly mean that seniors can stay in their homes as long as possible as they age… They are therefore a crucial renovation decision & getting them right by understanding the unique needs of the client is as just as important.

Frank Cetinich, Director WPBS Services

Recommendations for a Senior Friendly Bathroom by Westpoint Building Services Pty Ltd

The Senior Friendly Bathroom Space – Making Bathrooms Safer

The Fixtures & Accessories for Senior Friendly Bathroom Designs

  • Walk in shower with ample room for a shower seat if/when required (with a low or no threshold entry). Install a wider door than a standard opening if possible for the shower entry allowing a wheelchair or walker. How wide you can make the door will also depend on the space of your bathroom as well, which needs to also be considered.
  • A flexible handheld shower wand with an on/off button which can be used simultaneously with a shower chair (this means the shower head can be disengaged from the wall).
  • Grab bars/rails on the surrounding walls & especially in the shower (two grab rails either side anchored into wall studs to sustain the weight of a human being). Towel racks should never be installed to function as a grab rail as they are not designed to hold a lot of weight like a grab bar/rail.
  • Bathroom tapware should include a kip bath/shower mixer which is friendly to wrists (hot and cold turned off and on by an extended lever basin mixer & not turned with a ‘star’ grip (a cross basin tap set that has the grip like a cross). A basin mixer should be used with the vanity, all making it easy to turn water on & off. The category you find this under online is usually ‘Assisted Tapware’.
  • The toilet can also be replaced with a higher, raised toilet specifically designed for differently-abled & senior citizens. Of course, there are toilet seat raisers you can buy as an accessory. These kinds of toilets are often called ‘ambulant toilets’ or ‘ambulant disability toilets’. If you are looking for these toilets in online categories you will find them under the classification ‘Toilet Assist‘ usually.

We share this on the website as it gives light to the way we conduct ourselves in business both morally & ethically as well as in the professional industrial aspects of running our company.

Recommended Websites for Bathrooms for the Elderly

Alphacare – Senior Safety Bathroom Information (Australian company)

https://homeimprovement.lovetoknow.com/Bathroom_Designs_for_the_Elderly_and_Handicapped

https://www.pinterest.com.au/tracyjonovski/bathrooms-for-the-elderly/

Property Management Maintenance & Emergency Call Out

A tenant had been cooking in the kitchen and after he had finished cooking and cleaning he retired with his wife for the night.  Some hours later, a fire ensued originating from the gas cook top, making its way up to the range hood above.  Unfortunately, the tenants had not cleaned the range hood since they had moved in and due to a lack of preventative maintenance and checks on the property, the range hood was full of fats and oils.  Of course, fats & oils are accelerants and a terrible new blaze flared up, uncontrollable and life threatening.  (Usually on a lease this is stipulated & listed as a responsibility of the tenant to clean the range hood filters.)

The tenants evacuated, calling the fire brigade.  The damage was extensive & resulted in the tenants having to move out & the landlord losing 6 months of rent on the property due to the inspection taking time before it was assessed & the actual insurance process, from claim to payout.

I was called first thing in the morning as an emergency call out, attending site with my electrician.  We immediately disconnected all power to the light in the kitchen which was full of water from the burst pipes in the ceiling cavity and then disconnected and isolated all power in the unit so no one could get electrocuted.

I cut an access panel in the kitchen ceiling to assess the damage.  The fire had spread in the ceiling cavity so extensively that the intensity of the heat melted the hot and cold PVC water pipes.  I contacted my plumber to attend the site once I assessed the ceiling cavity and the damage.  My plumber attended shortly afterwards and installed a temporary valve for the hot & cold pipes so the water would not continue to leak if the main water valve was turned back on by anyone.

My job was to make the property safe for the insurers to assess and for the property manager and owner to have access.  We comprehensively checked everything to ensure there was zero risk on site to anyone.

It was an incredibly unfortunate event that did not have to be such a serious one.

Why a Preventative Maintenance Program is Crucial & Essential

This highlights the crucial need for a Preventative Maintenance Schedule for each property so events like this can not only be minimised but also completely prevented.  Perhaps this is something that needs to be paid particular attention as the Property Manager conducts the Ingoing and Outgoing Condition Report as a tenant enters a lease contract and takes up residence at a rental property or vacates the property.  Not only was this a serious event, but, of course, there was a massive impact on the landlords bank account and a serious loss of income over half a year recovered quite late in the insurance process by the Landlord.  Fortunately, the landlord had a clause in the Insurance Contract for loss of rental income due to fire, etc.

Preventative Maintenance Schedules and Checklists

If, in their maintenance checklist, they had a task of range hood cleaning as part of the checking cycle the extent of the fire damage would have been minimised as there would not have been such a dangerous accelerant present.  The tenant would have been able to control the blaze far more readily as it would not have spread so fast and so far.

So, the moral to this story for landlords and property managers?

Top 6 Preventative Maintenance Tips for Property Managers

  • Add a field in your Preventative Maintenance Checklist to inspect the filters of the range hood for fat & oil build up when conducting the Ingoing and Outgoing Condition Report and have any maintenance contractors check these things while onsite to maximise their visit if they do have to attend for other reasons.  (Legally in Australia there can be up to 4 inspections per year on a property as we understand the law.)
  • All flexi hoses in the toilet, sinks, basins, vanity, kitchen and laundry must be replaced every 5 (five) years and it is necessary that each hot and cold flexi hose have a cock valve installed because in the time of an emergency most people, if they have not been shown where the main water valve for the property is located by the property manager during site induction, will not be able to act in time to stop a significant flood event.  The cock valve is a physical valve that needs to be manually turned off and turned on and allows you to shut off the water supply without shutting of the main water. It acts like a water flow valve, you can adjust the amount of water flow coming through the cock valve.
    • If you are buying a cock valve at Bunnings or any plumbing supplier, it would be called a Mini Cistern Cock.  This 1/2 inch chrome valve is interchangeable with toilets, sinks, basins & vanities, kitchens and laundries.
    • IMPORTANT: In some cases warranty is voided on flexi hoses if a mini cock valve was not installed at the time of the flexi hose being installed (note, this depends entirely on the flexi hose supply company/flip mixer tap company – if there has been Preventative Maintenance performed as a flexi hose can be replaced at any time, this does not mean the tap is the same age as the flexi hose.)
    • Hoses cannot be kinked during installation because the expansion and contraction for the water pressure will reduce the life of the flexi hose and would cause the flexi hose to crack, resulting in water leaking and spraying; that is, water leaks.
    • A cock valve looks like this:
  • Cheap is not always best and safe – trying not to spend money on what you may believe is not necessary (preventative maintenance checks) is a false economy in the long run.
  • Don’t cut corners on repairs and preventative maintenance inspections & their works & have the preventative maintenance checks managed & done for you regularly by a Preventative Maintenance Company.
  • Always review your property maintenance insurance to ensure it is up to date and covers you extensively and for the most important things – fire, flood, theft, vandalism, loss of rent.
  • Also note, when a smoke alarm is beeping, the backup battery may be flat.  The majority of smoke alarms are hard-wired to an electrical circuit.  The battery is a safety backup precaution.  Smoke alarms must be checked by law every 6 months.

How to Clean a Range Hood Filter

Tenants, here is a written guide to clean your Range Hood

Property Managers, are your Range Hoods Fully Compliant to Australian Standards for fire safety?

https://www.airepure.com.au/are-your-kitchen-hood-filters-fully-compliant/

Property Maintenance Insurance Report

As a property maintenance company it is common for property management and maintenance to include jobs where we need to act as a property maintenance inspector and write an insurance report and recommendations for building and property maintenance for our Real Estate, Strata and Hotel clients

  • We were contacted by the property manager to attend the site to investigate the carpet saturated with water
  • We carried out our maintenance inspection, identifying the cause of the water leak as being a waterproofing issue where water was leaking between the tiled hob and then making its way down through and then between the waterproofing membrane and sand & cement bed where the tiles were laid upon

We plug tested the shower area with colouring dye to pinpoint the water leak location.  After hours of investigation the leak finally made itself visible.  We then knew the main cause of the water leak and wrote our report and recommendations for the landlord and property and sent them the detailed report, evidenced below

We provided two different options of approach for the landlord to take:

  • To either remove the tiled hob and supply and install a new shower screen and retile where the existing tiled hob was

OR

  • Remove all the tiles of the complete bathroom floor and reproof and retile the entire bathroom floor (which is the absolute correct solution to ensure no further leaks in the future)

Aspect – Water-damaged Ceiling Replacement

We were called to an emergency to remove the ceiling so the plumber had access to determine the leak source form above unit and make emergency repairs.

After the plumber had fixed the leak we:

  • installed new gyprock sheeting
  • inspected & rewired the electricals as the previous water damage had penetrated the electricals
  • the exhaust fan was also not working which had resulted in mould in the bathroom ceiling which we placed with a new fan
  • prepared ceiling for painting & painted to restore to original condition
  • reinstalled the downlights/electrical fixtures as previously fixed

Waldorf Serviced Apartments, Rosehill – Preparation for Lease

Another recent job last week.  We were contracted to repaint an entire serviced apartment, privately owned, managed by KRE Property.

The work was to:

  • repair damages in the unit and repaint:
    • repair the timber skirting that had become detached from the concrete slab
    • patch a hole in a wall and clean up mould around ceilings
    • patch any areas that were needed
    • repaint entire unit walls, ceiling

Here is a testimonial from the Property Manager of the apartment, Charlene Camilleri:

 

“Dear Frank, I would like to thank the time to thank you and your team on the prompt and professional service you have provided our client. Not only did you quote the job at a reasonable price you also had the work completed with in the shortest of time frames with exceptional quality and even went the extra mile to clean the site up once finished.
Thank you once again.

Charlene Camilleri, Property Manager

Vincent’s Job – Telopea – Preparation for Sale (Painting)

Another referral from David Wang at Tracy Yap Real Estate for a private owner, Vincent, for the Preparation For Sale Sydney of his house.

This was a very recent job.  There was a budget on this job, a timeline and a tight deadline. We had 2 full days to complete the work.

The job was to:

  • patch the cracks in the main wall of the house and repaint the entire wall
  • repair the major crack in the lounge/kitchen ceiling. Repaint whole ceiling
  • repair the cracks in the bedroom en suite and bedroom wall and repaint entire walls
  • filled all the gaps between the ceiling and the wall in both bathroom ceiling cornices
  • repaired the damaged stair case post previously chewed by their dogs and repainted the post
  • replaced the damaged skirting of the door jam which was also chewed by the dogs
  • repainted the door jam and entire door

The owner has also given us a testimonial on this job, given here with his permission.

“I have recently engaged Frank to repair my property prior to selling. I find Frank to be really efficient and easy to deal with when he explained the repair solutions. The preparation and repair work carried out by Frank and his team has been exceptional and thorough. The whole turnaround time from quote to finish was less than a week. I would not hesitate to recommend Frank and his team to anyone seeking for building services.”

Vincent

Aspect – Insurance Repair for Strata (Floor Replacement)

The unit 1801 adjacent to 1802 flooded.  This damaged both floors.

The insurance job for 1802 was given to our company through the Hotel Strata Management to remove the old floor and remove a new one.

I quoted for the extent of damage to the floor.  It was beyond maintenance repair.  I recommended removal of the existing floor, to scrape up the existing floor
and lay new flooring down.

We:

  • removed the old flooring
  • installed sound proof rubber matting underneath the floor
  • installed a commercial grade AC4 floating floor
  • reinstated the floor back to excellent condition
  • were given an excellent review as a result of our work to the Strata Management

Stapleton – Maintenance & Repair (Re-waterproofing & Tiling)

This was a job for PIA Real Estate approximately two years ago.

  • both balconies were leaking, part of a duplex
  • when it rained there was water flowing from the garage ceiling into the electrical lightning which was highly dangerous.  Both units lost power when this occured
  • investigation conducted & maintenance plan scheduled

We:

  • removed the skirting tiles (the floor tiles were left untouched as the balconies were leaking at their perimeter only
  • had to prepare before work could commence on tiling we cleaned up the steel structure beam supporting the balcony; it had rusted and corroded because it had not been originally coated with rust protector
  • sealed the steel structure beam with rust protection paint
  • took all the perimeter tiles and re-waterproofed the whole balcony
  • worked together; the tiler relaid all the tiles over 2 day period and I repaired the ceilings of both garages and repainted the ceilings

Ultimo – General Property Maintenance (Painting)

The ceiling was full of mould and in need of cleaning and repainting.

We:

  • washed the ceiling with mould remover/sugar soap
  • undercoated and sealed the ceiling
  • painted the ceiling with mould protection paint
  • repainted the ceiling with three coats of flat white ceiling paint
  • fixed the damaged light fitting

Before mould removal and repair

Mould removed and ceiling repainted (light fixed)

Bettington Road – Preparation for Sale

This was a referral from David Wang from Tracy Yap Real Estate; a job for a private owner, residential.  The owner was preparing for sale.

We:

  • replaced the vanity en suite
  • installed an exhaust fan in en suite bathroom which did not pre-exist (a handyman or the original builder had cut a cavity but service was ever installed)
  • installed screening and paneling underneath their granny flat to cover that space so the occupants could use this space for storage
  • did landscaping; laid new pebbles
  • re-positioned the storm water at the side of the house and redirected the storm water piping appropriately to match the new lay of the storm water piping