Planning your adaptation

Major home adaptations step-by-step guide

Step 3: Planning your adaptation

This step takes 1 to 24 months to complete.

What happens in this step?

Your occupational therapist (OT) will share your assessment with the adaptations team for your area. The team will give you a case worker, who will contact you to tell you what happens next. This depends on where you live.

In some areas your case worker will tell their surveyor or technical officer (TO) about your case. The surveyor or TO may want to speak to you about the next step. If they do, they'll get in touch to arrange a home visit.

In other areas, the surveyor or TO doesn't make a home visit. Instead, they may ask a builder or someone from an equipment company to speak to you.

A surveyor or technical officer may carry out a feasibility visit. They want to make sure that:

  • your home can be adapted
  • the adaptations are reasonable and practicable.

To do this, they look at the nature, layout, age and condition of your home. Sometimes, the surveyor will find that:

  • the OT's recommendations are not possible
  • there is a cheaper way of meeting your needs

If this happens, your case worker will talk to your OT. They'll look at what needs to change and decide if it's major. If it is, your OT may need to change the Occupational Therapy Major Adaptation Report (OTMAR). They will need to be sure that any changes still meet your needs.

This first visit helps everyone to understand what is possible in your home. It's unlikely that you'll know exactly what adaptations you're having at this stage. For example, the surveyor and OT may need to talk to each other about making changes. Whatever happens, the final agreed plans must:

  • be agreed with your OT
  • meet your needs

Your case worker will make sure you're involved in the process. If the adaptation is small, this could be from the start of the project. For more complex adaptations, the OT and the surveyor may look at what is possible before speaking to you.

Sometimes, it's not possible to adapt your home. This could be because:

  • your home is in serious disrepair
  • the layout or site of your home won't allow it
  • it would cost too much

If this happens, you might need to think about moving. Your case worker will talk to you about this.

Your OT or the adaptations team will talk to you about what may be possible. It's your home and your opinions matter. Make sure to tell them what you want or if you have any concerns. Your OT and the adaptations team will talk to each other about what you want.

It may be possible to have a different adaptation than your OT has recommended. Your suggestion must still meet your needs. For example, your OT might recommend a stairlift to help you get to your upstairs shower. You would rather have a bathroom extension downstairs. You would need to have this agreed by your district or borough council. The grant would then only cover the cost of your OT's recommendation which you can use to partly pay for the extension. You would need to pay for the rest yourself.

The adaptations team may ask you to talk to your builder about this. They may also decide that you should be in control of the work. If this happens, their involvement would stop until the builder has finished the work. They will then check to make sure it meets quality standards. The OT will also need to make sure the finished adaptation meets your needs. Failure on either point could mean your grant funds are withheld.

Once you have your final plans and permission to start the work, your surveyor or technical officer might write a detailed plan. This would explain what works the adaptation will include.

Your adaptations team may send you a schedule of work. This would include:

  • what the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) will fund
  • what you will fund
  • what works you are having done

Some works may come under a schedule of rates. Here, your local district or borough council will fix or agree in principle the cost of your work. This can happen for simple adaptations and means that you don't need quotes. In these cases, your work can start sooner.

If your works are not on a schedule of rates, you'll need quotes or tenders for prices. The adaptations team will do this for you. They will need more than 1 quote and will send your schedule of work to approved builders.

They do this to make sure:

  • that costs are competitive and reasonable
  • to increase the chances of finding someone who can do the work

This part of the process can take a long time. Builders can take several weeks to reply to a tender request. Your adaptations team will chase them, but it can add time to the DFG process.

Sometimes, builders or specialist equipment providers may need to visit your home. Your case worker, surveyor or TO will tell you what to expect.

You may be able to use your own builder. If you have someone in mind, you'll need to send their quote to your adaptations team. They will see how it compares to the approved builders' quotes. If you're getting the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) and their quote is cheaper, you will get the funds to cover their work.

If their quote is more expensive, but you want to use them, you must pay the difference between the cheapest quote and theirs.

You can ask family members to do the adaptations. The adaptations team will need to make sure they can carry out the work. In these cases, the DFG will only pay for materials and not labour costs.

If you use your own builder, you may want to oversee the adaptation yourself. If you don't want to, you could ask your adaptations team to project manage for you. They may charge a fee for this service. If the DFG is paying for your adaptation, you can add the fee to it.

Sometimes, your case worker might need to make changes to your plan. This could be to make sure that:

  • the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) will cover the cost of your works
  • you are getting the most cost-effective solution

Your OT will tell you what works are essential as the final adaptation must meet your assessed needs. They will also need to agree any changes. If this happens, your builder might need to do a new quote. This can take time.

Your adaptations team can finish your grant application once they have:

  • the final plans
  • all the permissions you need
  • your quotes and tenders

If you're getting the DFG, your case worker will send your application to your grants officer to approve.

It's quite normal for this step to take a long time.

You can help by:

  • sending any information you're asked for as soon as possible
  • making sure you understand where you are in the process
  • knowing what happens at each stage of the process
  • knowing the right person to contact with the questions you may have

Depending on what you're having done, you should get plans of your adaptation. This will show the layout and the area which is being adapted. These plans may be very simple. For more complex work, you might also get technical drawings. There can be several changes to plans before the final plans are produced.

You may not get plans if you're having equipment fitted. This could include a stairlift or a specialist item like a wash-dry toilet. Instead, you may get something showing you the type of equipment you're getting.

  • your consent and agreement for the final plans
  • your consent for the adaptations team to act as your agent in progressing the application and managing the works
  • a contract with the builder
  • agreement to pay any financial contribution necessary

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