5. Completing the Build-Out
Now that you’ve settled on an office, it’s time to transform it into the beautiful, functioning space that’s a perfect reflection of the vision you have for your practice.
How long your build-out will take depends on several factors. One of these is the scope of the project. Are you doing light renovations in the form of slapping a few coats of paint on the walls and laying down some new carpet?
Or, are you ripping down walls and starting from scratch? And, what condition is the space in? Is it an empty shell, or will you be taking over space that was previously occupied?
You might be moving into shell space, which is an unfinished space within a building. Shell space requires installing everything needed to transform an empty space into a functioning office. These include things like floors, millwork, and electrical power and lighting.
A 20,000 square feet shell space build-out can take up to eight months—10 weeks for architectural design, six weeks for bidding and permitting, and 16 weeks for construction.
Or, you could move into second-generation space, which was already occupied by someone.
If this was space that was previously occupied by tenants who weren’t medical professionals, it’s going to need some renovations. But you’ll be mostly making aesthetic improvements.
This should take five months or less.
Your landlord might have strict deadlines for approving your plans. If you’re unable to meet these deadlines, you might be in danger of violating your lease even before you open your doors.
Researchers have recently proven through empirical research what patients have always known: the environment of a medical practice strongly influences patient outcomes.
That’s why buildings need to be designed with features in mind that positively affect the quality of the patient experience.
Today, care providers are moving away from a model that strives to treat the highest number of sick patients in the shortest amount of time. The new way of doing things seeks to construct surroundings that help patients achieve positive results and makes it easier for practitioners to accomplish the core functions of their practice.
Simply put, design cannot be just about aesthetics anymore.
It must also help to solve real-world problems that result in measurable ROI (Return on Investment). This means every design element needs to work in concert with every other to increase care efficiencies and improve patient flow.
Hiring an Architect
Next, you’ll need to hire an architect. Some people like to hire one at the site selection phase so that the architect can perform test fits and estimate construction costs.
To make it easier on you, you might want to consider hiring a firm that handles every aspect of the build-out from initial design to final construction.
It can take two weeks to four months or more for an architect to design your build-out. Hire the firm that seems like it’ll do the best work at the lowest price.
Programming helps a designer understand how a practitioner’s office works and determines how many offices, waiting rooms, and operatories the practitioner is going to need.
Programming is defined as the research needed to determine the scope of a project. It seeks to solve an explicitly defined office needs problem with an architectural solution. Programming also eliminates having to go back to the drawing board for a redesign because issues that weren’t considered emerge during construction.
Building occupants and operations and maintenance staff should be part of the programming process so that their valuable feedback can be incorporated.