Investing in Design Doesn’t Cost, It Pays

Author: Derrick Lai, Principal Architect, PROP Architecture
Connect with PROP via our Dental Business Directory


While some dental practices invest in sales and marketing to reach their moonshot revenue goals, some have begun investing in design and architecture and it has been paying off big time.

Whether buying or leasing a space, we strongly recommend that to consult an experienced Architect or Interior Design professional to assist in the process of starting a new practice from start to finish.  They can help to review existing conditions prior to the purchase or lease closing to see if there are any red flags or items that can be resolved prior to locking in your project location.  


5 Things to lookout for when you find a space:

  • Barrier free access
      • Will the space allow for wheelchair accessibility as required by current building codes?
  • Exposure to natural light
      • How much natural light does the space get and how can it be maximised?
  • Location and Visibility
      • Do you require pedestrian visibility or will this be achieved through social and an online presence?
  • Plumbing
      • Dental clinics typically require a fair number of drains due to sinks and vacuum lines.  Check that this will not be an issue with the space below.


A design professional can help to guide you through the process of obtaining permits and connecting the right group of consultants.  These consultants can include equipment suppliers, mechanical, electrical and structural engineers, IT, lighting, branding, and so on.


What should you prepare for your design professional to get started:

  • Existing floor plans – If there is one, that’s a great starting point, if not, photos will do
  • Address – This will help to get a great understanding of the building that the space is located within.
  • Size – What is the area of the unit?
  • Design inspiration – What is your vision and goal for the practice?
  • Room requirements – What rooms do you require?
  • Timing – When would you ideally like to occupy the space?
  • Budget – How much money is allocated for the construction of the project?


When budgeting to build a new practice, it is important to consider the hard and soft costs involved.  Hard costs include the actual construction materials, contractor fees, finishes and fixtures.  Soft costs involve consultant fees including architect, interior designer, building permits, engineers, and branding.


Hiring the right designer for your practice is critical as they typically would act to be the leader of the consultant team.  They are in charge of coordinating the information to ensure that it is all relayed onto the drawings so that the contractor can price and construct from them.  Ensure that the professional has the experience and proven track record in healthcare facilities.  Communication is key to the success of any project, so it is important that your professional is responsive and clear.  Speaking with their previous clientele would also give you great insight into the working relationship between the design professional and yourself.  


Selecting the right person or team for your project can determine the success of your project build-out.  Work with someone who aligns with your goals, personality, budget, and mindset as it can be a lengthy and challenging process.  Pick someone who can help make it enjoyable.


About the Author: Derrick Lai, Prop Architecture

Derrick is the Principal Architect at PROP Architecture with over a decade of experience ranging from complex buildings to detailed interior design. His passion is to help homeowners love where they live and small businesses thrive. He is driven by the belief that we all deserve to be in and around purposefully designed spaces.

Connect with PROP via our Dental Business Directory

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