What are home modifications?
Home modifications are changes made to your home to improve your safety and independence. This could be something simple like a hand rail or access ramp or more complex major structural work.
What is the process for home modifications?
If you want to modify your existing home, purchase or build a new home, we can allocate a dedicated TAC home modifications specialist to help you manage the process and be your main point of contact. The TAC home modifications specialist can:
- Arrange a meeting at your home with an occupational therapist (OT) who is experienced in home modifications. The OT will assess your home and look at your needs,
- Review the report of the OT and make a decision about your home modifications,
- Approve the home modifications you need because of your transport accident injuries to improve your safety and independence.
The TAC can refer you to a Project Management company to supervise and work with you, or your representative, to complete your home modifications on time and within budget. We can arrange a project manager who will:
- Prepare a project plan and work out how much the modifications will cost,
- Let you know what modifications can be built at your home based on their building expertise,
- Choose a suitable builder from the Project Management company’s list of builders,
- Help you with the design, quote and build of the works.
See also: Occupational Therapy Policy.
How much will the TAC pay for home modifications?
We can pay the reasonable cost of the home modifications you need because of your transport accident injuries to improve your safety and independence.
We will consider recommendations from your occupational therapist and treatment team when making decisions about your home modifications. There are a number of restrictions and requirements you will need to be aware of.
See the Home modifications policy for details about what we can and can't pay for.
Home modifications - TAC project managed
This brochure describes the process for project managed home modification. It also lists the roles and responsibilities of the people involved.
- make your home new again,
- repair or restore your home to good condition, or
- alter the layout of your home, and
these renovations are not needed as a result of your transport accident injuries we cannot pay for them.
What home modifications we will pay for
We will pay for:
- Simple home modifications, such as a hand rail or an access ramp.
- More complex modifications, involving major building/structural work, such as widening doorways or installing stepless showers.
For equipment that can easily be installed, such as grab rails, see our Equipment policy.
For your safety, we need to make sure that it is reasonable to modify your home.
We can only consider modification to the parts of your home you need reasonable access to, for example:
In some circumstances we may approve home modifications as a multi-step process.
We will consider the recommendations of the occupational therapist in assessing suitable temporary accommodation, but you will need to get approval from us to pay for any temporary accommodation costs before you move in.
Alternatives to home modifications
- The necessary reasonable cost to relocate you to another home that is suitable and capable of being reasonably modified,
- Temporary accommodation while you are actively engaged in the home modification process.
Where a modification cannot be made due to illegality, access issues or where the cost of overcoming these issues is more than the value of your home, we will look at other potential reasonable solutions.
Moving to a new home
If you choose to move home after your original home has been modified and the “new” home needs modification, we will consider many factors when deciding whether we will contribute to the cost:
- If the new home is appropriate to meet your needs related to your transport accident injury
- The amount we paid for previous home modifications
- The reasonableness of the frequency of home modifications due to relocation or changes of ownership
- The purpose of the home modifications.
If, in our opinion, the home you are moving to cannot be reasonably modified, we can’t approve modifications. To make sure that the new home you choose is appropriate, we encourage you to contact us as soon as you can so that we can help.
If the home is not suitable for modification an alternative private rental property should be sourced. In those circumstances, the occupational therapist should review the home before you sign the lease to make sure that it will meet your needs.
External covered transfer area
If you are ambulant, we cannot contribute to either a transfer area or a covered walkway.
Heating and cooling
We can consider paying the reasonable cost of necessary home automation modifications when you need them due to your transport injuries, and when these modifications will clinically increase your independence and your ability to complete functional activities.
Laws and regulations
Home modifications are subject to the regular laws, regulations and rules that govern home renovation and construction including:
We cannot pay for any modifications that do not meet these rules, regulations and laws.
How the process works
- Assess your situation, the suitability of your home and your injuries,
- Consider the capability of your current residence,
- Provide a detailed report to us that outlines your needs,
- Make recommendations about what modifications are needed.
Once we have reviewed the report, we will refer your recommended home modifications to an external project manager. Once the project manager has prepared a project plan and provided an appropriate cost estimation, we will let you know what modifications have been approved.
After your modifications have been approved
You will receive in writing:
- Formal approval of the home modification request,
- The schedule for works,
- The relevant documentations,
- Details of all the modifications we approve.
You may need to sign a Capital Services Agreement.
Your TAC appointed project manager
We can appoint an external project manager who will:
- Conduct site visits,
- Arrange designs and explain them to you, so that you understand how your home will change,
- Engage a builder after a quote or tender process.
The project manager will conduct regular site visits. Once the modifications are complete they will conduct a final inspection, which we may also attend (if required). It’s important that you attend this final inspection meeting, to make sure that you are happy with the modifications.
Capital services agreement
You will need to sign a contract called a Capital Services Agreement (CSA) before any work on the modifications can begin. This contract is required when the cost of the modifications are more than the Capital Service Agreement Limit. The CSA outlines the roles and responsibilities of each party including:
- Frequency of modifications,
- Subsequent modifications, and
- Ownership, including notification of change of ownership.
Under the contractual agreement we are unable to contribute towards the cost of modifying a subsequent home that you own within 8 years after the original modifications, unless there are exceptional circumstances that require you to move. If this is not the case, you are expected to pay for modifications on your next home yourself.
How much we will pay
Where significant modifications are needed, you may ask for extra work, but if the extra work is not related to your transport accident injury then you will have to pay for it.
What we won’t pay for
We cannot contribute to, or buy, a residence for you. We also cannot pay your rent.
- Are for a person other than you,
- Are not reasonable, necessary or appropriate,
- Are not clinically justified, safe and effective,
- Where the owner of a property, body corporate or other responsible authority has not given permission for modifications,
- Are illegal or do not comply with the relevant laws, regulations or planning permissions.
- These include instances where the building works to modify your home identify incidental structural or safety issues that need addressing, such as faulty wiring, plumbing or restumping of the premises.
- Once modifications have been made, it is your responsibility to maintain their condition. This requires you to take steps to keep the modifications in a safe condition and to avoid damage other than “fair wear and tear” to them.
If a modification has been made or installed improperly, the costs associated with repair or to reinstall are the responsibility of the tradesperson or builder.
My name's Darren Knight.
I'm currently away from home in Blairgowrie, while renovations on my home in Frankston are getting done. I'm lucky to be in a nice area while it's all getting done.
Choosing where to stay was left to us to work out. Where and when, and how we wanted to stay.
We had stayed at the Quest previously, which it felt like you were living in a bit of a box.
So we sort of looked around and then found this place. And we thought, "Yeah, this is quite good."
At first finding a place to stay was a little bit daunting, because you think "ah okay" and that.
But then once you got googling, it's quite easy. Especially in my situation where you got to have a few mods and cons to make life a bit easier.
The only thing that changes is your address really.
Down here's like a little bit of a holiday I suppose.
The initial conversation of the mods started in February. That was a general get together and spoke about what was needed.
Then they went away and put all their thoughts together and then came back with a bit of a plan.
From then it was quite quiet for a little while. I thought okay it'll be a while before anything happens.
September they came back and they virtually said "we'll be starting in a couple of weeks."
While I was in rehabilitation we did a home visit there, and from that home visit sort of worked out what had to change back then. They put a portable bathroom in, outside which gave me accessibility there. We tried to work out a ramp for the front door which the gradient was going to be too much for the space we had. So they actually put in a lift. Apparently it was one of the first as well. I feel privileged.
And yeah, made life very easy. Transition from rehab to home wasn't too bad at all really.
With the bathroom, I could not get into the bathroom at all because of the width of the door. Even if I did get access to the bathroom there was no... I couldn't get into the shower facility or anything.
With they kitchen I found it hard to access the sink. All the cupboard spaces were all up high of course, which made it hard to reach. Cooking was very difficult because everything was right in your face. You cook a sausage and you wore half of it before you got to eat it.
I think it was 50/50 thing with the decision making of the build.
Made it easy actually because I had ideas but I didn't know how it was going to work in practice and so forth. They all threw in their ideas and made it very easy. They brought various selection of samples so you could choose what you want.
My wife had a big input into what was going to be used which was good. Made it easy for me.
Once that were chosen that was a couple of days later that it was all finalised to go ahead.
Looking forward to going home and being actually able to access the bathroom, which has been quite a while.
Then I've got to do a bit of cooking now, which is going to be interesting because my wife sets a pretty high standard in the cooking section.
So I'll have to up my game a bit I think.
Not been cooking or washing the dishes because I can't do it, I'm sure I'm going to have to put my hand into now.
Life before the accident for us was very, very different.
The modifications to our home just means that we're able to live far more independently than we were.
It means that we're able to shower. We're able to cook.
So my role was to look at what modifications would be required for optimal existence in the home.
Once you have a site assessment with an occupational therapist, that all the client's specific needs and goals are assessed.
And from that you determine what additional works will need to be done.
We can move around quite freely.
Carol was involved in letting us know what we could have and what we should have.
An uneven slate floor for instance.
You need to have that replaced with a non-slip surface.
We walked around the home and we thoroughly discussed what the options might be.
And then we can look at brainstorming on the spot. We did everything on site, so that Ornella and Richard could be actively involved in that process.
And they were very accommodating if we didn't like something. Or didn't think that we needed it, you know.
We'd work it out between all of us and we got what we were all happy with.