What does it take to build a good care home?

Following our recent visit to the 2016 Care and Dementia Show, the CTD Architectural Tiles team have been re-thinking our approach to the Care Home market. We have learnt it is important that we approach these projects not as a hotel or residential type environment from a tile finishes perspective. We give much more consideration to how the products we offer can be an active complement to the therapeutic elements of the design, rather than just part of the fabric of the building.

how to build a good care home

We caught up with Ian Holmes from Northstar, an award winning care home, project management and development company who specialise in 5 star CQC compliant developments across the UK to talk about what it takes to build a good care home.

Ian explains that it takes more than the expected bricks and mortar to build a care home. There is a lot of strategic construction and planning to do in order to meet the needs of both the client and the residents who will live in the finished building. It is clear there is large interest and ambition to produce an exceptional care environment which is only going to get more and more popular but who is involved when taking the project from concept to creation?

From Concept to Creation 

Where will the site be? How it will be built and by whom? Has the site land been purchased? Is there a designated manager and a design already in place? Are the budgets covered not to mention a CQC registration in place? It is safe to say that creating a good care home comes with many uncertainties and questions which all need to be understood in order for the project in hand to run smoothly and to have the best possible outcome.

Finding the right place to start and considering every aspect throughout the development is key to success along with selecting a reliable project manager partner with experience and large design knowledge base. With the selected project manager being a fundamental part of the process it is imperative that they understand compliance necessities and legislations and have vast knowledge on the process in which to follow when building a good care home.

Development Process

Ian explained to us further the development process– it starts with land accessibility such as costs and both agency and professional fees. After this stage is complete the rest of the planning can commence followed by the submission of a planning application which can take up a long period of time as it involves surveying, risk assessments, design, consultations and extensive research covering anything from land contamination, noise pollution to the impact the build will have on the surrounding environment.

Following on from primary planning the next stage in the process is to create a brief and to build a professional team. Once you have an established team you can then move on to some of the most creative stages of the build, the design stage, this is a very interesting stage which can be very inspiring. Providing project procedures, cost management and specifications have been considered this would be the natural time to start negotiations with contractors.

Moving onto the construction stage is something that can only be done once a funding package is confirmed. Both the construction and project management attend a number of client consultations during consolations in the form of site visits. This continues throughout the development process up until and including finished project handover.

Ian states ‘We make this complex process look incredibly easy, it’s our job, but getting a care home to completion requires operational, planning, architectural, technical and project management experience. We are unique, we provide all of these components. My business partner Danny can literally meet a client at a site, do a sketch on the back of a napkin and work it up into a design with the client before submitting it for planning’.

Working with Specialists

For CTD Architectural Tiles, working with pro-active and knowledgeable specialists like Northstar helps deepen our understanding of the sector and  better positions us to offer bespoke solutions. Key areas of consideration for ourselves when supporting the design element include slip resistant finishes which are offer both robustness and attractive design options.

elixir tiles

A great example of this is our Elixir tile range which offers a non-aggressive surface finish which is classified as R11/C and +36 PTV in wet and dry conditions. The Elixir range is also available in a broad enough colour palette to offer 40 points differential in light reflectance values between Elixir01 and Elixir06 – a key consideration when designing for those with limited sight. Beneath the tile, we work with Schluter Systems to offer product solutions which are more sound absorbent than traditional tile fixing methods. The DITRA SOUND product is a heavy mat made of polyethylene with an anchoring fleece laminated on both sides. It serves as a sound insulation in tiled floors and helps address the traditionally “hard” noise associated with tiled floors which can be distressing to vulnerable users.


CTD Architectural Tiles are also developing product solutions which can form part of the external landscaping of the environment. Our CTD Due 20mm thick range offers the designer the ability to implement a coherent “in and out” look with the added benefits of clear slip resistance qualities, a wide range of colours to facilitate pathway demarcation and enormous flexibility in terms of how it can be installed (loose lay, traditional fix or on raised access pedestals).

Specification Manager for the North East, Sean Lane comments “It is clear that the Care Home sector is one which will continue to grow and as it grows, the demands of the clients will also increase. This is why it is crucial for CTD Architectural Tiles to stay close to players like Northstar so that we can accurately match our commercial proposition to the changing needs of clients, specifiers and contractors in this market.”

CTD Architectural Tiles are currently working on a large number of Care Home schemes across the UK, we are passionate about supporting the clients, specifiers and contractors working in this sector. Please contact us if we can support your project.

To arrange a meeting with one of the CTD Architectural Tiles Specification Managers, please contact us on 0800 021 4835 or e-mail info@ctdarchitecturaltiles.co.uk