Aged care must embrace “challenging” developments

The scarcity of affordable land will force providers to be more creative, says an international architecture and engineering firm.

Padman Healthcare’s award winning The Bentleigh facility incorporates a heritage listed bungalow.

The aged care industry must meet the challenge of urban integration as consumer expectations grow and land becomes scarcer, according to an international architecture and engineering firm.

The principal of GHD’s aged care division, Simon Drew, says the industry has reached a critical point and must now find alternative development solutions.

He said the shortage of appropriate sites is being exacerbated by the increasing size of aged care facilities which is being by poor operating results.

“Back 30 years ago, you had mum and dad running a big house that had 10-20 residents,” said Mr Drew, who is based in Adelaide.

“Those people were able to stay in the community because it was essentially a big house but now in aged care, we are talking about 100 residents in the one facility so it has more of an impact on the neighbourhood.”

To meet market expectations, Mr Drew says aged care providers must start to embrace more complicated development projects.

One option is to build multi-level villages that make the most of smaller parcels of land.

“You would still obviously need a decent footprint to get the staffing economies to work if you are going vertical,” Mr Drew said.

“It will push up the build costs a bit with the issue of lifts and stairs that give you lost space. But that can be offset that against the purchase cost of the properties as you get a higher yield on high quality developments.”

Another development strategy is to incorporate new developments around existing buildings on sites in prime locations.

In a recent project, GHD designed a 52-place extra service facility for Padman Healthcare that was constructed around a heritage listed bungalow.

The Bentliegh facility was a joint winner of Aged Care Association Australia’s award for a new extra service development, earlier this month.

Mr Drew said one of the biggest challenges of the project was respecting the historical and visual integrity of the existing house, while building a modern aged care facility.

“What we ended up doing was using the existing house essentially, for the front door and the common facilities,” said Mr Drew.

“We then created a design that hung lightly off that building, rather than copying elements from it.

“It was a complementary development which maintained the heritage while giving the site a new lease of life.”

Tags: aged-care, award, construction, development, ghd, padman-healthcare,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *