If you’re like many of our clients, you’ve been wanting to remodel or build out your dental office for years. Researching architects, designers, or design-build firms is the culmination of a lot of hard work, planning and dreaming. It’s our honor to put your plans and dreams into three-dimensional reality, and we take it very seriously. However, not all design-build firms are equally experienced with dental office construction and remodeling – and, of course, not all of them are equally engaged with the success of their customers. Here are the three most important questions we recommend you ask a design-build firm before signing the contract.
1. Do you have references I can contact?
Most reputable design-build firms have a list of happy clients you can speak with before signing on the dotted line – use it! And, if they are experienced with dental office design, you should even be able to speak with another dentist who has a practice much like yours. Be sure to ask how much value the design-build firm added to the process, whether they were able to establish a realistic and reliable budget, and how frequently they communicated (Were they always on-site during construction? Were they responsive to the client’s needs and time restraints?).
2. How much experience do you have with dental office design, and can I see real samples of your work?
Firms who have mastered the process of designing and remodeling dental offices, specifically, know how to save you money – and they understand your business needs, your client needs, and your equipment needs already. You shouldn’t have to spend your time coaching your designer or architect on what a dental office needs. Your time is valuable!
3. What can you do to minimize disruptions to my practice during construction?
If your practice still needs to function during a remodel, then the design-build firm should be able to accommodate you. You may have to shut down operations for a short time, but a lot of work can be done during off-hours. Even if you’re practicing in another office during a build-out or remodel, it’s important to know just how much of a time commitment your design-build firm will require of you.
The most important factors in choosing the right design-build firm are the firm’s level of expertise, and your level of comfort in working with them. Talk to references, consult with the firm, and at the end of the day, trust your instincts.