Building a dental office can feel very daunting. There are many aspects to think about, from nitty-gritty structural issues to where the wall plugs should go. These essential construction and design decisions can become overwhelming quickly if you haven’t made some basic determinations before construction begins.

Five Key Design Decisions

If you are a dentist who is ready to build or remodel your office, you will need to make several key decisions to get the design/build process started. Here are five things you need to think about when you are ready to build or remodel your dental office:

1. How involved do I want to be in the process?

Some dentists want to be involved with every step of the design/build process while others would prefer to leave it to the contractor(s) they have hired. While it’s important to determine what level of communication, decision-making, and updating you expect from your contractor – it’s also crucial to hire a contractor who will automatically provide you with consistent updates and be in touch. If you feel as if your contractor has fallen off the face of the earth unless there is a problem, it’s likely your needs are not being adequately met. Be sure to hire a group with whom you feel comfortable and in-touch.

Even if you don’t feel the need to be part of every design and construction step, it’s better to get more updates and information than none at all.

2. Am I hoping to work with an all-in-one design/build team or do I need to find a designer and contractor?

While many contractors are happy to work with an outside designer, not every construction firm provides in-house design. That is why it’s necessary to determine if you’d like to take the extra step of discovering a designer who will a) understand your vision, b) get and stay on the same page with you and c) get and stay on the same page as your construction team.

Many dentists and other medical professionals find it simpler and more efficient to hire a design/build team that already works together with fluency.

3. What is most important to me when it comes to my budget?

Every construction project works to a tight timeline and budget – particularly professional endeavors such as a dental office build or remodel. When a dentist begins creating a new office or renovating his existing space, he is losing revenue every minute he spends working on the project. That’s why it’s vital to understand priorities right at the beginning. For many dentists, the top three things they want to be sure their budget includes are:

Excellent location obtained at minimal preliminary construction cost (meaning little to no work on basic construction like earthquake proofing or structural reinforcement).
A well-lit, easily maintained, and intuitive workspace. For example, you want the lights and plugs to be in logical locations so your equipment can be positioned optimally.
A space that hits the right aesthetic note with patients and makes them feel at ease. They will be comfortable with returning and would be pleased to recommend my office to a friend, family member, or coworker.

And, of course, you want your offices opened as rapidly as possible with every aspect looking and operating perfectly.

Your vision is possible to obtain on budget and with expediency. At Norwest Contractors, we work with dentists to help them determine their budget priorities and give them all of the facts regarding construction timelines before we begin work.

4. What is most important to me when it comes to location?

Sometimes, the most beautiful building located at the ideal spot needs a major overhaul before construction can begin. This is why it’s important to consider location priorities before you start getting bids. It’s possible that your location parameters will fit other buildings or office spaces that need much less work before you sign a lease or purchase agreement. Alternatively, the additional work your ideal location needs may be a negotiating point you can use to your advantage with your potential landlord or the property’s seller.

5. How can I make sure my vision is known before construction begins?

The best way to ensure your vision is followed faithfully during the design and construction phases is to work with a team in whom you feel confident. It’s not enough to have great recommendations from friends and fellow dentists: you need to meet your designer, contractors, and any assistants with whom you will be communicating and be sure your priorities and overall vision are understood.

At Norwest Contractors, we take your vision one step further through our DesignLab. By using this resource, you can see the lights that will go into your office, feel the flooring, and understand how they all integrate.

Having the right team at your side when you build a new practice or remodel your existing offices is imperative. Contact Norwest Contractors today to find out how we can help you create a comfortable, beautiful, and functional space for you, your staff, and your patients.