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One of the many things you'll need to determine is where and in what kind of an environment you'll be practicing. Deciding whether to move into an existing office or design and build your own office is a momentous decision that will impact your practice for years to come. Designing and building your new office can be a very fun, very rewarding process. It is also a process that takes a bit of planning. This page offers a brief outline of the process of getting from the "I've decide a new office is for me" to seeing your first patient. We have outlined a three step process that will help you understand something about each of the three components of designing and building your own dental offices. • Identify Project Team • Identify, Research, & Secure Your Business Location • Design & Construction Identify Project Team • Real Estate • Financing • Practice Management Consultant • Architect • Dental Equipment • Information Technology • General Contractor Real Estate Locating and negotiating the lease or sale of a property is difficult if you haven’t been through the process before. The landlords and developers you will be communicating with are savvy. Remember, they negotiate every day. Working with a good commercial real estate broker and an attorney can save time, money and your sanity. Financing Your financial lender's role in your new office may seem obvious, but they can really play a very valuable role beyond approving your loan. Specifically, because of the importance of working within your overall project budget, they can share their experience working with various vendors and professional service providers. Practice Management Consultant A practice management consultant can be an invaluable resource. Their services can range from taking new dentists through the process of opening their first office - to working with established professionals wanting to improve their practice.
Architect Your architect serves many roles throughout the design and construction process of your new office. In addition to working with you to design the functional, spatial, and aesthetic character of your office, your architect will work as your advocate throughout the bidding and construction phases. There are certain criteria you'll want to consider when selecting an architect. Dental Equipment Vendor Be sure to meet with several dental equipment vendors. While the equipment they sell may be the same or similar, prices and quality of service after the sale can vary greatly. Speak with your colleagues and see what their experiences have been. Information Technology Today’s dental office is so reliant on technology that your IT professional needs to be involved during the earliest stages of the office design. In our experience, integrating the technology into the design through proper planning yields the best results. Your local dental association can often assist you in locating these professionals. General Contractor When it comes to selecting a general contractor, look to your architect for guidance. Chances are, he/she can help you select the most appropriate contractor for the job. Keep in mind, the contractor who did a great job on your neighbor’s basement renovation is not necessarily the right contractor to build your dental office. Identify, Research, & Secure Your Business Location Settling on a location for your new practice is generally a 3-part process: • Identifying Your Business Location
In addition to the demographic studies will want to perform, you will need to know how much space your new office will require. Typically, 400-450 square feet of useable space for each clinic chair within your office provides a general idea of the amount of space you'll need. The exposure your location offers is also of critical importance. The close associations a medical office building offers verus the regular, frequent exposure offerd bya retail location are important considerations. • Due Diligence is Time Well Spent
Performing the appropriate due diligence for a potential location can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Understanding the capacities of the heating, cooling, and electrical systems of an existing building is critical to your ability to
formulate a proper startup plan. Understanding the zoning and soils conditions of a site can save your extraordinary amounts of time and money when planning a new building. • Negotiating the Lease and/or Purchase of a Property
The commercial real estate negotiating process may require a bit of patience. A Real Estate Professional whose only job is to advocate for your interests is an invaluable resource. There are industry standard practices that, without proper identification and explanation, may go unnoticed, costing your unexpected and unnecessary resources. Once your lease and/or purchase in place you're ready to embark on what we consider the fun part: designing and building your new office. Design & Construction The design and construction of your new office has every opportunity to be a fun, rewarding experience. It is the time during which you'll see your vision take shape, and ultimately transform into a built reality. JoeArchitect begins each dental project by reviewing our Dental Office Design Questionnaire with the doctor. Using this tool we are able to identify and discuss each of the many programmatic, spatial, and aesthetic considerations that will become the basis for our design. The process of designing and building your new office within an existing building typically has 3 primary phases: • Design & Documentation
The design and documentation process itself has 3 phases: Schematic Design, Design Development, and Construction Documents. The Schematic Design phase includes the initial layout and refinement of the office flow and spatial character. The Design Development phase builds on the Schematic Design phase and further develops the spatial character, defines and refines custom cabinetry, and establishes the materials and finish palette. The Construction Documents phase prepares all of the previously established design decisions for construction, and incorporates the architectural design and dental equipment specifications with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. This entire process typically takes approximately 8 weeks. • Building Department Review & Bidding/Negotiation
Once the Construction Documents have been stamped & signed by the architect and engineers they are submitted to the local building department where they are reviewed for conformance to both state and local building codes. At the same time the Construction Documents are submitted to the local building department they are issued to the bidding general contractors (in the case of a competitive bid) or the previously selected general contractor. The general contractor(s) prepare their proposed pricing which is then submitted to, and reviewed by JoeArchitect. Once the building permit is issued, a general contractor is selected, and a final construction budget is identified construction begins.
Depending on the turn around time at the local building department, this entire process typically takes 3-4 weeks. • Construction
During construction JoeArchitect works closely with the general contractor to ensure the project is built accurately and according to the Construction Documents. This includes reviewing product and finish submittals, and regular on-site meetings to review the progress of construction. These on-site meetings typically include the doctor (or assigned representative), JoeArchitect, and the general contractor. JoeArchitect also reviews and certifies the general contractor’s applications for payment. A final on-site meeting occurs at the conclusion of construction, once all of the primary dental equipment and I.T. equipment has been installed. This final meeting is referred to as the Punch List meeting, and involves a review of each room in the office. Any imperfections are identified for correction by the general contractor and their subcontractors. Depending on the size of the office the construction process is typically complete with a 10-12 week window. Designing and building a new building includes all of the phases and efforts of an interior tenant finish project as described above as well as a few others. These include Zoning and/or Planning Department submittals, Geotechnical investigations, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering. The unique features of the property and the requirements of the various departments will impact both the scope of professional services requirements as well as the time to perform those services. Generally, a new building will take no less than 9 months to design and build, and may require considerably more time if extensive zoning/planning work is required. JoeArchitect.com We are an established leader in dental office design combining the best in design with our technical knowledge of the many mechanical systems.
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