As the industry begins to show recovery from the pandemic — with growing occupancy and demand — inflation, interest rates and staffing challenges continue to impact development and repositioning projects. Finding ways to pivot on projects and still meet desired outcomes will be key to project success in 2023.
It happens to everyone: the best-laid plans go awry. A senior living community project is budgeted, and then the price of labor or goods, or both, skyrocket. A critical partner gets cold feet. Plans change. For senior living operators, getting from Point A — the vision — to Point B — outcomes— can be easier said than done.
Great project outcomes are more likely to be achieved by a strong project plan upfront, accounting for the competitive landscape, different stakeholder perspectives and potential risks that may arise during projects. When embarking on a re-position, renovation or new construction project, planning helps operators manage changes, reduce risk and maintain project timelines.
Planning, in other words, is what provides operators with a playbook to manage their way through project challenges while staying true to the project vision.
“The project planning phase for a large renovation or new construction project is critical to align stakeholders and manage risk,” says strategic planning expert Gaurie Rodman, Senior Director of Real Estate Strategy and Development for Direct Supply Aptura. “Your investments into facilities have to serve both current and future resident and operational needs. The strategic planning phase allows the project team to strike the right balance of solutions for a successful project.”
Rodman views this as one of the three key pillars for senior living project success in 2023. Here is a look at all three, and why project planning is fundamental for success.
Capital investments need to serve both current and future operational needs
Resident needs evolve every day, and the business of providing care for them changes too. The senior living of today might not be the senior living of a decade from now. And yet the buildings of today must serve the residents of tomorrow.
This creates challenges in new construction, as well as in re-positioning or renovation projects, where physical changes must be made around the residents a building is currently serving.
To streamline the approval and underwriting process, operators should take the time to align the whole team on financials, the operator’s needs and the execution strategy on the front end. When everyone works off of one playbook, strategic goals are achieved.
“After an initial planning conversation with key stakeholders such as owners, operators and funders, our design team has the information they need to pull together a scope of work narrative,” Rodman says. “The information from the planning stage helps our architects conduct a preliminary code and licensure requirement analysis, develop conceptual designs, estimate costs and timelines. This allows the entire team to clarify and align on the overall goals for the project.”
Good planning is risk management
The senior living industry is seeing acquisition activity bounce back. Good planning is inherently a risk management tool that allows operators to manage execution, timeline and budget risk for post-acquisition projects. Direct Supply Aptura helps clients reduce these types of risks in the planning stage, and throughout project execution.
“Direct Supply Aptura’s twenty-plus years of exclusively serving the senior living industry in planning, design and construction, informs our unique approach to project planning,” Rodman says.
The Aptura team works closely with Direct Supply’s Innovation & Technology Center, TELS Building Management and Equipment & Furnishings businesses, meaning the team brings a wealth of knowledge and develops integrated solutions that reduce risk and benefit clients in achieving project outcomes.
“We consider all resident and stakeholder needs for every project,” she says. “We can help with your projects to boost census, safety and operational efficiency.”
Balancing needs of all stakeholders
To help balance the needs of residents against operational efficiency and financial performance, Direct Supply Aptura’s professionals holistically consider five key areas to help create viable environments for residents and those who care for them.
This is Aptura’s “360 Promise,” and it’s only growing more essential. Each professional on the team designs with Direct Supply Aptura’s 360 promise in mind.
- Safety & Security. Operators should have a secure residential environment for residents and staff that encourages resident independence.
- Health & Wellbeing. The environment should support and improve the health and lifestyle choices of residents.
- Operational Efficiency. Operators must be able to reduce the cost to serve by optimizing building operations and staffing.
- Social Engagement. Every senior living community should be one where residents are encouraged to stimulate their mind, body and spirit.
- Financial Viability. Without the business of senior living, there is no senior living. Operators should position the community to drive census, staff retention and profitability.
To help each operator establish their project goals, Direct Supply Aptura works with the stakeholders to define:
– Who do you serve and how do you serve them?
– What are the needs and expectations of your residents?
– What are your building and operating needs?
“We help operators define what makes them unique and successful,” Rodman says. “Our task is to create a building that reflects their uniqueness and aligns with consumer demands in the market. When these are understood, we can help the operator envision their building and develop financially effective solutions, while helping them account for regulations that will govern the facility.”
This article is sponsored by Direct Supply Aptura, which can help set your whole team up for success by starting your senior living project with planning, design, procurement and construction services. To learn more, visit Aptura.net.