Deputies, solicitors and architects often have to work together to provide design solutions for people incapacitated due to health issues. These are delicate projects that need technical knowledge, careful design and legal expertise from all parties. Let’s look further into how Lapworth Architects can help deputies and solicitors with their projects.
What is a deputy and what do they do?
A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, either due to mental illness or trauma.
A deputy is usually a friend or relative of that person – known as a ‘lay deputy’ – but if there is no lay deputy available, it is usually a qualified professional such as a solicitor or accountant.
There are two different types of deputyship for different types of decisions:
- a person’s property and financial affairs,
- their personal welfare.
On occasion, the same person deals with both aspects, but our focus is here is on a Property and Financial Affairs Deputyship Order which involves finances and day-to-day managing of property or financial matters. This can range from paying bills for the person who lacks mental capacity, to selling and buying property for them.
it is worth remembering that unless your court order specifically states that you can sell a house or other property the person owns or has a share in, you should apply to the Court of Protection for permission. If you don’t, you risk acting outside your authority as a deputy.
What changes can be made to a house under a deputyship?
At Lapworth Architects we have a lot of experience in this specific type of projects, where a home has to be adapted, rebuilt or even constructed from scratch to accommodate the client’s new reality.
Depending on the case, clients may only need minor adaptations, such as installing ramps, a stair lift or a wet room. On other occasions, we have taken on extension projects to allow the client to stay in their own home, or even provided en-suite accommodation for a full-time carer.
This kind of project requires a careful balance between the wishes and needs of the client as represented by their deputy or solicitor and any planning considerations that may be applicable.
However, our experience in the area has shown us that perseverance and communication are needed between the deputies, solicitors and architects and other specialists to provide the client with the design solutions they need to improve their quality of life. Some of the solutions a home renovation of this type might involve include:
- Ramps, rails and step lifts
- Stair lifts and through floor lifts
- Door widening and radiator relocation
- Low-level kitchen adaptation
- Hydrotherapy pools
- Level access showers, wet rooms and other alterations
- Improving heating and energy efficiency measures
- Garage conversions
- Dedicated en-suites
- Separate living areas for carers
- Building Control
- Applications if needed
- Adapting and extending property permits
- Planning Permission
- Surveys and accommodation reports
These projects more often than require planning permission as they involve builds that fall outside the remit of allowances like Permitted Development Rights due to their size and impact on neighbours.
Architect’s input and experience with these kinds of builds is an invaluable asset, and can save time and money. Liaising with Building Control will also be very important, to ensure that the proposed accommodation meets British Standards
In these cases, the architect works to meet the needs of the client via consultation with their deputy, and their plans will adapt the existing home, or provide new infrastructure, accommodation and specific rooms to allow the client to stay in their home, if considered appropriate.
Deputies, solicitors and architects
The bespoke designs we create for this type of project always have the full approval of the client and deputy, case managers, occupational therapists and solicitors before work starts. This ensures that the works are completed exactly as agreed by the parties involved.
An architect experienced in this type of project is a real ally in what can be a complex process – a deputy needs to be able to delegate to competent professionals delivering top-quality standards that are familiar with the steps and bureaucratic documentation needed.
By way of example, we can also provide you our your solicitor with the documents necessary for your yearly report to the Office of the Public Guardian as proof of good financial housekeeping.
Whether you’re a solicitor acting as a deputy for a client, or a family member designated as such, if you need help with architectural solutions, give us a call at Lapworth Architects on 0121 455 0032, or arrange your free consultation.