Carpenter Martin Lane says many people are surprised by how quickly home modifications can be done and what a difference they can make to their lives.

“I enjoy making people’s lives easier. A lot of people are very appreciative of not only the results but also because we turn up on time,” says Martin who enjoys seeing the finished product himself.

Martin is one of Sydney Community Services’ Home Maintenance and Modifications (HMM) team of licensed tradesmen which does small modifications and maintenance work to make it easier for seniors and people with disabilities to live independently and safely in their homes.

“We can often do the job straight away if it’s a couple of grab rails or hand-held shower or maintenance such as tap washers, fixing a gate or door, or cleaning a cement path that’s getting slippery.”

Some small jobs such as replacing light globes and batteries in smoke alarms save less mobile people getting up on ladders – and replacements are free of charge when the bulb or battery is provided.

Having always been a carpenter, working for project home builder Metricon or running his own flooring business, Martin can handle any job, big or small.

“If it’s a bigger job, say if someone needs a ramp, we might need to do a site check and measure-up before giving a quote and then come back to do the job once a quote’s been accepted.  We always quote ahead of starting a job.  The site check helps if we’re unsure of what’s needed in terms of equipment, materials or labour.”

Most jobs are completed within four hours and typical work includes grab rails, custom-made handrails, hand-held showers, ramps or wedges instead of steps, and bed or chair risers. Maintenance work includes minor electrical, plumbing, and carpentry and repair jobs. Jobs are scheduled by HMM coordinators Michelle and Kathy who prioritise urgent needs.

When a job entails heavy lifting or using much longer rails, Martin would ask another SCS tradesman to join him.  Martin has been with SCS a year now and believes the new procedures and precautions adopted to meet Covid-19 safety standards are no problem for HMM clients or tradesmen.

“We start each day with a temperature check and we document that, then we phone the client on approach to check how they are feeling.  We use face masks when talking face to face, hand sanitiser, and disinfectant for surfaces. It’s easy to keep a safe social distance between ourselves and a client who can be in another part of their home while we’re doing a job for them.”

And after an early start, tidily completed jobs and clients agreeably surprised with the results, Martin’s very happy to finish early enough to get involved with his kids’ after-school sport and other activities.

Our Home Modifications and Maintenance (HMM) team services Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney, and Willoughby LGAs.  We are funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Program which means we can offer a low-cost service with subsidised rates. Fees depend upon the job and your support program.  For more information or service, please call 9427 6425 and ask to speak to an HMM Coordinator. Or see our website here.