John Techel of JT Construction Now Certified as Aging in Place Specialist


John Techel Now Certified Aging in Place Specialist

Elkhart Lake, April, 2012

John Techel, owner of JT Construction, LLC., in Elkhart Lake WI, has been designated a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). Techel’s training covered specific guidelines set by the National Association of Home Builders, including the construction of barrier-free environments and accessibility-minded updates to the homes of active adults, seniors, and those with special needs, allowing them to remain living independently for a longer period of time.

The advantages to working with a CAP Specialist include the fact that Techel’s training allows him to serve a wide variety of individuals with physical limitations, and he possess a depth of knowledge in specific product and design features that serves this particular population.

Techel’s work includes updates to bathrooms, including installation of low-curb and no-curb bathing facilities; improved, user-friendly kitchen cabinetry and handles; updates to the overall floor plan that facilitate mobility, and installing low-maintenance exterior surfaces and zero-step entries. Each project is completed specifically with the homeowner’s needs in mind, with care and a high degree of respect for those involved.

“Many existing homes don’t address these needs, and the one-time expense of updating vs. a nursing home stay can improve an aging homeowner’s quality of life,” Techel said.

Techel’s training emphasized the resources available to individuals needing accessibility updates, along with an understanding of this growing population and their specific needs. He is also a member of the Senior Advisor’s Team, a network of healthcare and financial professionals based in Plymouth, WI, who provide resources and care to the elderly.

Another aspect of Techel’s professional CAPS training involved working closely with active adults who are either considering barrier-free new construction, or updates to an existing home, both with the goal of aging in place in an environment of their choosing.

“Forty-five percent of remodeling is done by people over 50 years of age,” Techel said. “CAPS design takes into account both current and future living circumstances.”

Techel said the CAPS certification is a natural extension of JT Construction, LLC, a business he’s owned for 18 years. He is also a member of the Sheboygan Falls, Plymouth and Elkhart Lake Chambers of Commerce.

For more information, contact:

John Techel

JT Construction, LLC.

304 Kettleview Court

Elkhart Lake WI 53020


The advantage of working with Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)

John will soon be certified in Aging in Place and will receive his certification on March 15, 2012.  JT Construction has been helping seniors for over three years now with making updates to their homes so that they can be safe and live independly for as long as possible. There is nothing more rewarding than helping a senior have hope to live in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

The Advantage of Working with Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) reprinted from Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal

The National Association of Home Builders offers a certification designation called CAPS, Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. According to the NAHB, the program “teaches the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place.”

To be certified, builders, architects, designers and other professionals have to complete specific educational courses including continuous education credits, pledge to follow a code of ethics and meet other requirements.

Molly McCabe, a CAPS designer who owns A Kitchen That Works on Bainbridge Island, says the name of the certification doesn’t encompass the entire scope of program, and would be better described as universal design specialist.

“The reason being is that as designers and builders, we don’t just serve seniors, we serve injured service personnel, physically and mentally challenged children and young adults as well as young, middle aged and older people who may have physical limitations due to an accident or from a debilitating disease. The specific advantages of working with someone with a CAPS designation is these individuals possess a wide depth and breadth of knowledge with respect to products and design features that can assist homeowners to live safer, more convenient independent lives,” she said.

Professionals who go through the CAPS process are better equipped to understand the complexities of aging in place and navigate consumers through their projects.

“By opening a client’s eyes to aesthetically pleasing aging-in-place amenities, you can help them live longer independently in their home, which is much more cost-effective than living out one’s senior years in an assisted care facility, and helps maintain the individuals dignity,” McCabe said.

When you hire someone with a CAPS designation, choose a contractor with whom you feel you can build a relationship of trust. Learn more about the builder or designer’s specialty — there are several subsegments in the aging-in-place market and not all contractors cater to all those segments.

For more information about aging-in-place including how to find a CAPS professional, go to (follow the housing topics link, then remodeling). Kitsap Home Builders Association also lists designations for its members; go to

Check out the Aging in Place Remodeling checklist to see where you can make improvements to make your home safe and sound.

JT Construction Offers Options to Seniors

article reprint from the Plymouth Review 03/23/2010

by Jeff Pederson, Sheboygan Falls News Editor

As the baby-boom population advances into retirement age, an increasingly large number of homeowners will be seeking updated interior design and remodeling plans to address changing needs.

In anticipation of an expanded senior population within the next several years, JT Construction of Elkhart Lake has joined forces with the Aging In Place program to help make the transition to senior living a bit easier for aging homeowners.

“Over the last several years I have become aware of the Aging in Place program, through my association with the Sheboygan County Homebuilders Association and the National Association of Home Builders,” said John Techel, who owns JT Construction with his wife Barb. “With much of the population growing older and moving into retirement age, you are going to see more homes being remodeled to meet the greater needs of seniors.”

According to Barb, the Aging in Place program strives to provide the convenience and safety-oriented updates and improvements, which allow seniors to remain living independently in their own homes for an extended period of time.

“The vast majority of the older population wants to remain living in their own homes, rather than moving into assisted living or other nursing home or home assistance arrangements,” she said. “Staying in their own home is important for many people, but the reality is that they can’t live just the way they did when they were younger.

“They need a little bit of help to get through daily life. That is where we come in.”

John said many different upgrades and improvements are available, to give seniors the safety, comfort and convenience they are seeking.

“For most people, it is important to keep as many things as possible on the first floor and to maintain open, level floor plans,” he said. “Non-slip flooring is important, as well as handrails for steps.

“Changing the door knobs has become a popular thing to do – going from the round knobs to the leverstyle door handles. People also choose to expand the width of hallways for easier access.”

Typically regarded as one of the most dangerous areas of a home, the bathroom is a main focus of many Aging in Place remodeling projects.

“Replacing bathtubs with walk-in showers is something many seniors want to do,” John said. “The shower area can be designed to be wheelchair-accessible. Grab bars add stability and additional lights provide improved sight in dark areas.

“We can install fold-down seats, handheld shower heads and redesign sinks, counter, toilets and toilet paper holders to be more easily accessible,” he said. “Slips and falls in the bathroom are major concerns. It can be very hazardous, so offering these safety and accessibility features gives senior homeowners some extra comfort, safety and peace of mind.”

In addition to interior improvements, the exterior of a home can also be remodeled for safe and enjoyable senior living.

“A low-maintenance exterior is advantageous, as well as no-step entryways,” John said.

JT Construction, which has specialized in full-service remodeling projects for the past 15 years, is currently in the process of installing several Aging in Place projects at the Cascade home of Judy Shovan.

“Judy’s home is one of the first ones we’ve done a lot of work on, with this concept in mind,” John said. “It has grown over time into a major project.

“We’ve been doing pieces for her over time,” he said. “That is the way a lot of people approach projects like this. They have a budget and a list of priorities to work with, and they do their upgrades with those in mind.”

One of the major projects at Shovan’s home was the installation of an elevator, which travels between all four floors of the house.

“Wheelchair lifts and ramps are pretty popular for seniors, who want to get around in their homes faster and easier,” Barb said. “Judy’s home actually has an elevator, like you would see in a commercial building.

“It is pretty cool to see,” she said. “That was a unique project and the first time we have been involved in installing an elevator in a home.”

Other improvements at Shovan’s home include the installation of level door handles, maintenance-free fiber cement exterior siding, 36-inch wide doors, and a walk-in tile shower.

“All of the remodeling work has nearly doubled the original size of the house,” Shovan said. “I recently had a stroke, so my equilibrium is off a bit. The new features have been great for me, as well as several older members of my family.”

“Judy is a person that is very set on continuing to live in her own home,” Barb said. “The house will be beautiful, when it is all done,”

Shovan, who is eager to start work on a new open floor plan for her kitchen a living room area, is ecstatic about the work JT Construction has done on her home.

“John and his crew have been just outstanding to work with,” she said. “Even with all the work that has been done here, I never had to move out. They accommodated me very well.

“They are by far the best home-remodeling business I have ever work with. The house kind of has the feeling of a Frank Lloyd Wright design. I just love it.”

The Aging in Place program has grown to become multi-faceted to include in-home care, as well as medication and grocery delivery for those in need.

“This is really an exciting program that goes beyond remodeling work,” Barb said. “There is a local organization called Comfort Keepers, which provides in-home care services for seniors, and Reverse Mortgage, which gives seniors the opportunity to pay for some of their expenses through their home equity.

“This is a case where several different organizations are coming together to put a program into place that will help many people. This is a national program that will just get stronger as the years go by.”

John, who is the 2011 president-elect of the Sheboygan County Homebuilders Association, is excited about what the future might hold for the Aging in Place program.

“With the economy taking a turn, less people are looking at building new homes, and planning for the future has become as important as ever,” he said. “Programs like Aging in Place have given homebuilders another avenue to pursue for many years to come.”

For more information on the Aging in Place program or for additional remodeling needs, contact JT Construction at 876-3090 or

Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Contractor

What is your background and how experienced are you in remodeling?

You don’t want your home to be the training ground for someone trying to learn the business.  John Techel has over 15 years of experience in residential remodeling.  John works closely with design teams to insure excellent design and also works closely with JT Construction, LLC crew to make sure your project goes smoothly.

How experienced are the people who work with you?

The company you hire is as good as the people in it.  you should look to see if the complexity of your project matches the experience of the company.  At JT Construction, LLC our combined crew has over 29 years experience.  We also feel it is important to know the work ethics and experience of sub-contractors we will provide for your project, so JT Construction, LLC has worked hard to establish an excellent rapport with subs who meet our standards.

Are you licensed to work in my city or county?

Contractors are required to be licensed and must take credited courses to update their license on a two year basis.  Contractors must show proof of educational credits to insure a license, as well as provide proof of license to city hall of your area when working on a project for you.  We strongly caution working with a contractor who is not licensed because this will not protect you in the event something goes wrong with your project.  JT Construction, LLC firmly believes in education and being licensed in all localities of Sheboygan County.

Are you a member of the local Home Builders Association?

JT Construction, LLC is a proud member of the Sheboygan County Home Builder’s Association.  John serves as 2010 president elect, as well as serves on the board and education committee.

JT Construction, LLC is also a member of the Wisconsin Home Builder’s Association and National Association of Home Builders.

Will your furnish me with a list of your past clients?

Yes, we are happy to do that.  Also please feel free to visit our testimonials page for what some our clients have to say about JT Construction, LLC.

Will your furnish me with detailed specifications?

More problems and misunderstandings develop in this area than anywhere else.  Be sure you clearly understand what your contractor will do and won’t do.  We review our specs in thorough detail with each client prior to a signed agreement.

Can I use the Internet to select products for our project?

Yes you may, however, your contractor may have better pricing and product support locally.

What insurance do you carry to protect me in case an accident occurs?

If someone gets hurt on the job, and it can happen, you may have to pay for that workman’s injuries and support unless your contractor is properly insured.  Be sure to request copy of your contractor’s insurance policy and make sure his/her coverage is adequate.

What kind of guarantee to you offer and is it in writing?

Read and question the guarantee.  At JT Construction, LLC we offer a written guarantee in our agreement.

How will my project be supervised?

Supervision of a company’s project is subject to depth of experience of their personnel.  AT JT Construction, LLC every job is supervised from start to finish.

Will someone be working on my project everyday?

With today’s trend relying more on trade contractors and less on employees, this question becomes very important.  Almost all companies use trade contractors to some degree.  It is important for you know how this will impact your project.  At JT Construction, LLC we use a core team of trade contractors who we know will complete your job on a timely basis.

Aging In Place Checklists for Home Remodeling

Reprinted from NAHB

The checklists below contain features you may want to consider for your next new construction or renovation project. They also give you a quick reference for various aging-in-place issues. While these lists are not all-inclusive, they will get you thinking on the right track.


  • Low-maintenance exterior (vinyl, brick)
  • Low-maintenance shrubs and plants
  • Deck, patio, or balcony surfaces are no more than ½ inch below interior floor level if made of wood

Overall Floor Plan

  • Main living on a single story, including full bath
  • No steps between rooms/areas on the same level
  • 5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom


  • Minimum of 36 inches wide, wider preferred
  • Well lit


  • Accessible path of travel to the home
  • At least one no-step entry with a cover
  • Sensor light at exterior no-step entry focusing on the front-door lock
  • There needs to be 32 inches of clear width, which requires a 36-inch door
  • Non-slip flooring in foyer
  • Entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer; sidelight should provide both privacy and safety
  • Doorbell in accessible location
  • Surface to place packages on when opening door


  • Flush preferable
  • Exterior maximum of ½ inch beveled
  • Interior maximum of ¼ inch

Interior Doors

  • There needs to be 32 inches of clear width, which requires a 36-inch door
  • Levered door hardware


  • Plenty of windows for natural light
  • Lowered windows or taller windows with lower sill height
  • Low maintenance exterior and interior finishes
  • Easy to operate hardware
  • Garage or Carport
  • Covered carports and boarding spaces
  • Wider than average carports to accommodate lifts on vans
  • Door heights may need to be nine feet to accommodate some raised roof vans
  • Five-foot minimum access aisle between accessible van and car in garage
  • If code requires floor to be several inches below entrance to house for fume protection, can slope entire floor from front to back to eliminate need for ramp or step
  • Ramp to doorway if needed
  • Handrail if steps


  • Lever handles or pedal-controlled
  • Thermostatic or anti-scald controls
  • Pressure balanced faucets

Kitchen and Laundry


  • Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets
  • Upper wall cabinetry three inches lower than conventional height
  • Accented stripes on edge of countertops to provide visual orientation to the workspace
  • Counter space for dish landing adjacent to or opposite all appliances
  • Base cabinet with roll out trays and lazy susans
  • Pull-down shelving
  • Glass-front cabinet doors
  • Open shelving for easy access to frequently used items


  • Easy to read controls
  • Washing machine and dryer raised 12 to 15 inches above floor
  • Front loading laundry machines
  • Microwave oven at counter height or in wall
  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer
  • Side-swing or wall oven
  • Raised dishwasher with pushbutton controls
  • Electric cook top with level burners for safety in transferring between the burners, front controls and downdraft feature to pull heat away from user; light to indicate when surface is hot


  • 30-inch by 48-inch clear space at appliances or 60-inch diameter clear space for turns
  • Multi-level work areas to accommodate cooks of different heights
  • Open under-counter seated work areas
  • Placement of task lighting in appropriate work areas
  • Loop handles for easy grip and pull
  • Pull-out spray faucet; levered handles
  • In multi-story homes, laundry chute or laundry facilities in master bedroom


  • Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets
  • Contrasting color edge border at countertops
  • At least one wheelchair maneuverable bath on main level with 60-inch turning radius or acceptable T-turn space and 36-inch by 36-inch or 30-inch by 48-inch clear space
  • Bracing in walls around tub, shower, shower seat, and toilet for installation of grab bars to support 250 – 300 pounds
  • If stand-up shower is used in main bath, it is curbless and minimum of 36 inches wide
  • Bathtub – lower for easier access
  • Fold down seat in the shower
  • Adjustable/ handheld showerheads, 6-foot hose
  • Tub/Shower controls offset from center
  • Shower stall with built-in antibacterial protection
  • Light in shower stall
  • Toilet 2 ½ inches higher than standard toilet (17 to 19 inches) or height-adjustable
  • Design of the toilet paper holder allows rolls to be changed with one hand
  • Wall-hung sink with knee space and panel to protect user from pipes
  • Slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and shower

Stairways, Lifts, and Elevators

  • Adequate hand rails on both sides of stairway, 1 ¼-inch diameter
  • Increased visibility of stairs through contrast strip on top and bottom stairs, color contrast between treads and risers on stairs and use of lighting
  • Multi-story homes may provide either pre-framed shaft (ie. stacked closets) for future elevator, or stairway width must be minimum of 4 feet to allow space for lift
  • Residential elevator or lift


  • Slope no greater than one inch rise for each 12 inches in length, adequate handrails
  • Five-foot landing provided at entrance
  • Two-inch curbs for safety


  • Adjustable closet rods and shelves
  • Lighting in closets
  • Easy open doors that do not obstruct access

Electrical, Lighting, Safety, and Security

  • Light switches by each entrance to halls and rooms
  • Light receptacles with at least two bulbs in vital places (exits, bathroom)
  • Light switches, thermostats, and other environmental controls placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from floor
  • Electrical outlets 15 inches on center from floor; may need to be closer than 12 feet apart
  • Clear access space of 30 inches by 48 inches in front of switches and controls
  • Rocker or touch light switches
  • Audible and visual strobe light system to indicate when the doorbell, telephone or smoke or CO2 detectors have been activated
  • High-tech security/intercom system that can be monitored, with the heating, air conditioning, and lighting, from any TV in the house
  • Easy-to-see and read thermostats
  • Pre-programmed thermostats
  • Flashing porch light or 911 switch
  • Direct wired to police, fire, and EMS (as option)
  • Home wired for security
  • Home wired for computers


  • Smooth, non-glare, slip-resistant surfaces, interior and exterior
  • If carpeted, use low (less than ½ inch high pile) density, with firm pad
  • Color/texture contrast to indicate change in surface levels

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

  • HVAC should be designed so filters are easily accessible
  • Energy-efficient units
  • Windows that can be opened for cross ventilation, fresh air

Energy-Efficient Features

  • In-line framing with two by six studs spaced 24-inch on center
  • Air-barrier installation and sealing of duct work with mastic
  • Reduced-size air conditioning units with gas furnaces
  • Mechanical fresh air ventilation, installation of air returns in all bedrooms and use of carbon monoxide detectors
  • Installation of energy efficient windows with Low-E glass

Reduced Maintenance/Convenience Features

  • Easy to clean surfaces
  • Central vacuum
  • Built-in pet feeding system
  • Built-in recycling system
  • Video phones
  • Intercom system

Other Ideas

  • Separate apartment for rental income or future caregiver
  • Flex room that can used as a nursery or playroom when the children are young and as a home office later; if combined with a full bath, room could also be used for an aging parent/aging in place