With all of the available free design programs out there it sometimes seems like anyone with a laptop can be instantly transformed into a dental office designer. If this statement were true then anyone with a door knob and a spool of twine could be a dentist. Depending on your design knowledge and how many times you have been involved in the design process, for your own or other’s offices, the design process can be exciting or just outright daunting. So how important is it to hire a dental office designer and what can they bring to the table?
Know and determine what resources you have and what you will need –
If you just need to freshen up the office a bit then an interior decorator or designer might be a better fit.
If you bought or inherited an old outdated practice and need to move a few walls around and reconfigure the practice layout then you’ll need an interior designer or an architect.
If you are looking at creating a start-up practice by working within an empty building shell or through the total demolition of an existing space then your design service choices may be more focus and specific, and could be consists of one or all of the following:
a. The Equipment Supplier whom you may purchase the all or the bulk of your equipment from. You’ll want to get the conversation started as to what type of equipment you would like to have in your new office and about how much you’re willing to spend. Though many have been told that design services performed by dental suppliers are free, and that the design document package is all that you will need, it’s highly recommended to get clear and defined answers to these few questions so that you are informed and know what to expect at the end of the process.
b. An Interior Designer/ Design Consultant with Dental Office design experience can be very helpful in maximizing how your space can be utilized for efficiency and functionality, as well as personalized to your specific style. The rule of limitation may also apply to their services, particularly relating to licensure and the limits of the professional services they can provide. Be sure to check with your state’s requirements.
c. If you’re working on a commercial building project you’ll almost certainly need an architect. Most states mandate that commercial projects be designed and or supervised by a professional architect or engineer who is licensed to provide professional services within the state where the project will be built. An architect with dental office design experience would be the most ideal choice to handle the design of your office from start to finish, from the inside out and outside in. Regardless, they’ll need to oversee and/or collaborate effectively with any or all of the needed team members, whether it be an equipment, interior design, MEP or dental design consultant. The architect, furthermore, is the only member of the design team that can seal the architectural construction documents.
The DIY craze had empowered many novice home owners to pick up a paint brush and a few power tools to attempt home repair projects. If DYI "Dental Office Design" isn’t something you’re interested in then investing in the help of a dental design consultant may be the best way to get a good start.
Apple to Apple - Dental designers/consultants, similar to dentists, can be relatively new to the field or are highly skilled individuals with years of design experience. Some are groomed and grown within dental suppliers’ powerhouses, expanding their services to further control their product’s sales transactions; and some are transitioned or transplanted from other related design industries. With such a wide range of offerings how would you know, beyond the hype, which one would be the right fit for your project?
Doing an apple-to-apple comparison is more difficult if you don’t know the difference between a crab apple and a Golden Delicious. Here are some morsels to help you through the selection process.
A Quick Look - Most capable designers should be able to perform a simple "Bubble Diagram" or a "Feasibility Study" of any given space to provide a cursory look of what or how the practice’s spatial needs can be meet. He/she should also be able to perform a preliminary building code inspection to make sure that all major requirements are met and no big surprises will surface at a later date after the lease signing.
Rounded Experience – Understanding the roles and limitations of designers/consultants can help you get the specialty services needed for your project. Again, you’re looking for experienced design professionals that can bring good value to the table. A dental design consultant can lead you in the right direction for your project. However, one with a well-rounded knowledge of the entire process (dealing with not just the dental aspect of the design but also the entire building and site) would be a game changer.
Dental offices are specialized facilities with unique spatial needs and functions, as well as challenges. Utilizing the expertise and design experiences of well-rounded dental designers/consultants can help you navigate through the process quicker, resulting with designs specific to your needs and business objectives. It’s about getting the best value for your investment, isn’t?
HJT loves helping create amazing dental offices! We would like to hear about your project. Click the schedule a free consultation button below or contact us to setup an appointment.
Ohio Office: 419-517-5370
Florida Office: 419-410-1562