top of page
Architectural Plans, Code Plans, and Exit plans for...

Residential Board and Care Homes

Residential board and care homes, also known as a home plus, assisted living group home, and many other names, is an assisted living home for the elderly or disabled usually for 12 or fewer residents in a traditional residential house.

Requirements vary by jurisdiction (city, county, or state), so it is important you know the exact rules for your home based on where it's located. National Code Plans can help you sort this out so you get open faster.


What is a Residential Board and Care Home?

Residential board and care homes are quickly growing in popularity, these homes located in everyday neighborhoods are for smaller groups of residents and have more personable care from nurses who spend every day with the residents. Many nurses from larger facilities dream of starting their own home and owning their own business. National Code Plans has helped many people like you to select the perfect home, review the code information, create remodel plans, and submit for review and licensure.

Its worth noting that all around the country, each state uses a different name for these homes, here are a some of the names you may be familiar with: residential board and care Home, residential care home, small assisted living home, home plus, and assisted living residence.

Below is some more information about these homes, but please check our blog page for in-depth articles that go into detail about the code and safety requirements for these homes.

Taking Care of Plants

Do I need a fire alarm system?

Almost every board and care home needs a fire alarm system, it varies by jurisdiction, but most homes of 4 or more residents must have a fire alarm system, even if they are sprinkled. The fire alarm system includes smoke detectors in every room that are all connected to the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP). This panel, a big red box, is the "brains" of the system that does all of the work and sounds the alarm when smoke is detected. Typically a smaller red panel known as the Fire Alarm Announciator Panel (FAAP) is located near the front entry of the home, this smaller panel tells the first responders what the trouble is and where it's located when they enter the home. Also included in the fire alarm system are manual alarm pull stations located at each exit from the home, these are the little red boxes where you can pull the lever to sound the alarm.

Do I need a sprinkler system?

Sprinkler systems make the home extra safe, because if a fire occurs, it triggers the sprinkler head to start extinguishing the fire so it doesn't spread. Sprinklers are required in every room of the home, including basements. Sprinklers are also very expensive, ranging from $30,000 - $40,000 on average. Due to the high costs, every state and jurisdiction has different rules for when a sprinkler is required; one code book says sprinklers are only required for 8 or more residents, another code book says that they are required for even one resident. Many cities have based local ordinances to adopt or change these code requirements, so maybe homes of 5 or more must be sprinkled for example.

This is the biggest question every homeowner needs to ask, because the sprinkler system has the highest cost, and is an important reason to hire an experienced professional like National Code Plans to make sure you need one or not. We have seen many other homes where the architect they hired didn't know what they were doing and had the owner install an expensive sprinkler system they didn't need. We keep an extensive and growing list of local rules and requirements for every state we are licensed in.

How many residents can I have?

Most jurisdictions allow up to 12 residents per home, some have restricted that number down to 10 or less. For every home National Code Plans works on, we review the local rules, and compare that to the size of each bedroom to determine how many total residents the home can fit. It's surprising how many times we've discovered an owner could have had one or two more residents and didn't even know it. For each code plan, we can draw in the layout of beds so you can see how many residents in each room you can have. Some states have minimum area requirements for each resident (80-100 sf per resident for single occupancy, 60-80 sf per resident for multiple occupancy), others just require you have enough room around the bed. Most states allow at least 2 residents per room, if not more as long as the room is big enough.

The Process

Colleagues Working Together


Initial Consultation

Contact National Code Plans as soon as you can to discuss your project, even before you buy a home or building for your business. We can help you understand the rules, what to look for in a property, and everything else you need to know for licensure related to the building.


Measure the Building

Once you have a building or site, we'll send a representative from National Code Plans to you to measure and sketch up the building. If you have a plan, we can work with that too.


Draw the Code Plan

Once we have a plan, we'll draw up the building and add all of the code information. If you're doing remodel work, we'll prepare demolition and remodel plans so you have a full set of drawings for permits, bids, and licensure.

bottom of page