Venturing into the realm of building your first dental office can be a daunting proposition. Input from colleagues, equipment suppliers, family, friends, etc. can very quickly fill one’s head with doubts and anxiety. Can I make this happen? Will I be able to afford it? Will I survive the ordeal?
The answer is a resounding: Yes. With a little help.
Architecture is the all-important first aspect in achieving good Dental facility design. At various stages you’ll need the vision, accurate documents to realize that vision, a building permit, contractor bids, and so on. A properly qualified designer will be able to help you along that journey. There are many different facets of Dental Architecture, but the following five stages will give you an idea of basic process:
Get an Architect involved from step one. While you may have started conversations, or even sketch planning with an equipment supplier or a contractor, bringing an Architect in early will save you headaches down the road. Utilizing the latest building codes, design techniques, and extensive knowledge in dental layout and equipment, the right Architect will help shape and sculpt your concept into reality. When such topics are considered early in the initial concept, far less unintended changes are likely to occur down the road during construction.
Will you be able to afford this new practice? An Architect will be able to help you crunch those initial budgeting numbers. Having control over the project; whether it be materials, timelines, equipment, or design features, will ultimately help keep you within budget. Many times budgets change; your Architect will be able to help “value-engineer” to find more cost effective solutions along the way. Establishing a realistic budget is essential to knowing and meeting your goals.
Concept sketches on trace paper will only get you so far in the world today. An experienced Architect will have the extensive knowledge of building codes, city municipal requirements, the technical design requirements for dentistry, and engineering necessary to produce a set of construction documents for permitting. Having a complete set of construction documents will ensure your project stays true to your concept, as well as obtaining the necessary city permits. This will be the bread & butter of your project; the documents for construction.
After your project is ready for permitting, where do you go from here? Finding a contractor with extensive dental construction experience is essential to a worry free build. Your Architect will be able to help you connect to these contractors, ensuring the proper skills needed for construction of this type. Management of the bidding phase helps to reign-in project costs. Using negotiated or competitive bidding helps to keep prices realistic. The Architect’s knowledge of construction pricing categories and the ability to closely look at numbers, while allowing for value-engineering if necessary, will help you achieve budgeting goals.
It’s time to build! You've hired your contractor, you have permits in hand, you’re ready to go…… or are you? While your plans are detailed and accurate, setting the contractor loose on a project doesn't always ensure you’ll get the project you want. Employing an Architect to administer construction will ensure the contractor follows the plans and materials according to schedule. Your Architect can attend regular site meetings, and have a direct line of communication with the contractor, allowing any issues that arise during construction to be resolved promptly. Employing an Architect during this phase is essential, as their knowledge in construction will help maintain project quality, and achieving successful project completion while staying on time and within budget.