8 Steps to Successfully Plan & Implement a Design Project
- Decide whether you want to remodel your existing space or move to a new location.
If your current space is not large enough, if there is a better location due to growth or population movement, if you are opening a satellite office, or if you are building your first practice out of school, a new building will give you the most flexibility in accomplishing all your project goals.
If you are in a great location and have unused spaces that can be repurposed or a neighboring suite you can add to yours or if the elements of patient care are present but the flow of the office is not working, a remodel may really help. Just keep in mind that you will have significant down time and check into practicing elsewhere during the construction.
If your space functions beautifully but the finish materials are dated or worn, an update to finish materials and furnishings can be completed without too much disruption to your practice schedule.
- Establish a realistic budget
Talk to professionals including your dental office designer, builder, financial planner, accountant, IT consultant, and equipment supplier. The benefit of a designer with orthodontic and dental design experience is access to feedback from the experience of your peers building out their offices and the guidance to uncover hidden costs like down time, and moving expenses.
- Determine what is most important to you – space, layout, traffic flow, etc.
The more the doctor can identify specific needs and professional concerns, the better the finished office will be. Working with an experienced designer will help expedite the process of balancing the doctor’s needs and considerations with the parameters of the site, codes, OSHA, ADA, HIPPA, and budget.
- Involve your staff.
Designing a remodel of a new office is a very exciting time. Your staff should be encouraged to contribute ideas on how to improve their working environment. The bottom line is to transform the office space into a more functional, aesthetically pleasing environment that encourages professional productivity. Let them share their ideas!
- Complete the office design before asking for bids.
The fastest way to add on costs, time and problems is by not having a complete, detailed design plan. Contractors can bid more accurately and can avoid unnecessary delays and overruns with complete, accurate plans.
- Have your designer coordinate the project.
Questions and challenges may occur during construction. It is imperative that all involved in the project are informed to insure quality, staying on time, and within budget. This is the best way to reduce your stress while going through construction! A professional designer can keep you in the loop without letting the project take over practice time.
- Allow enough time do it right.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes from start to finish. Your design and construction team can assist you to properly complete plans, select a contractor, and obtain building permits. Actual construction time, ordering and installing finishes, will take an average of 2-4 months for a remodel and 9-12 months for a new building. Don’t try to rush it. Make allowances for the time needed to complete the job properly.
- Use the best professionals you can find.
Quality does not have to cost that much extra, especially when you consider you will be in this office for many years to come. The right project team is critical! The designer, contractor, and subcontractors with the right experience in dental construction will save you time, money, frustration, and unwanted problems.