Blue Northern Builders is pleased to announce the completion and opening of Theater View Veterinary Clinic in Orinda, CA. Dr. Laurie Langford enlisted our services from early design through the completion of construction. Please visit www.theaterviewvetclinic.com to learn more about the varied services Dr. Langford is providing.
The clinic is a state of the art small animal practice. An insurance agency occupied the space prior to Dr. Langford. Many of the interior walls were salvaged, but the balance of the space was demolished making way for the needed spaces for the efficiency of the clinic.
Central Treatment Area Surgery Room
Critical spaces were developed including a reception area, separate dog and cat waiting areas, two exam rooms, an isolation room, central treatment area, surgery room, cat ward, dog ward, laboratory, pharmacy, doctor’s office, and employee break room.
The existing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing utilities were sufficient, but they were upgraded and modified to specifically support a modern veterinary clinic. New fixtures and controls were installed to meet current energy codes. The finishes included completely new suspended acoustic ceiling, new floor coverings, new doors, new cabinets, and completely repainting the entire space.
Dog Ward Radiology
The cabinets were custom made to accommodate the veterinary equipment supplied by Webster Veterinary www.webstervet.com. Our team in the field worked closely with the equipment installers to insure everything was ready when they arrived to do their installation.
Pharmacy Cat Exam Room
This was a true Integrated Project Delivery experience where the team of Dr. Langford, Blue Northern Builders, Webster Veterinary, our specialty subcontractors, and our design professionals collaborated to design and build this modern facility. Please visit our Blog Post titled “Integrated Project Delivery – What is it?” to learn more about this highly effective method of designing and building projects. Blue Northern Builders is an expert in this modern team oriented form of building.
Dental Office Site Selection Part - 1
The selection of commercial office space is one of the most important decisions when planning on moving your practice. If the space is not sufficient for your long range needs or has deficiencies, it will affect the success of your practice. In real estate, they say the most important thing is “location, location, location” and this is no different with dental practices. You are investing a good deal of energy and financial equity into your practice, so it is important that you start with the best site fitting you needs.
The purchase price or lease amounts are important, but site selection is as important. There are many considerations that must be reviewed in selecting a site. Some of these are:
COMPATIBLE NEIGHBORHOOD MIX
It is important that the tenants you will be sharing the complex with are compatible with your practice. Most retail centers have Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s) that protect all the tenants from undesirable elements moving in next door. However some types of business put higher demand on parking, pedestrian access, etc. It is a good idea to evaluate the tenant mix of the potential tenant neighbors.
You probably don’t want to locate your practice right next to another dental practice. Many people may be looking for a dental office in the “XYZ Center” or on the corner of Elm St. and Fir St. You don’t want them to go to a competing practice thinking that they are coming to see you.
However, there are now complete business parks that encourage several practices in the same center. Normally these buildings are designed and sized specifically for medical practices and have the necessary infrastructure. Many times these will have very compatible practices such as general dentistry, periodontal, orthodontics, pediatric dental, oral surgery, etc. These centers will also be attractive to other medical services. We have done a number of dental suites in these types of centers and they work well.
PARKING LOT (SIZE & CONDITION)
The availability of sufficient parking is a critical component in selecting a prospective office space. As with most businesses, your patients desire to park as close to your front door as possible. If you do not have sufficient parking you may lose patients or not attract them to your practice in the first place.
The condition of the parking lot is another factor that can have an impact on your practice. If your parking lot is breaking down and your patients have to navigate through potholes, they may choose to go to another dentist. Most parking lots are constructed using asphalt paving and that material requires continual maintenance. Proper sweeping and resealing of the parking lot insures a longer life. Inspect the condition of the parking lot of the perspective complex as part of your due diligence process.
ROOM TO GROW
Running out of space seems to be a common problem with our clients. Typically, after a short time in a specific location, our clients’ practices grow to the point they need to expand or at least remodel. During the office search and negotiation stage you may want to explore the option to expand your suite at a future date. Some properties are flexible and will allow you to expand into an adjoining suite. It is better to determine this in advance, rather than having that option eliminated from your future business plan. We have seen some clients take more space that initially required, allowing them to expand in the future.
AGE OF THE COMPLEX
Like most things, buildings start to deteriorate in time. You are making a large investment in your practice and it is important that you don’t “overbuild” for the neighborhood. Some items in the complex to investigate are:
Roof – Depending on the type of roof, they start to need repairs in as little as twenty years. Maintenance of the roof is normally the responsibility of the property manager, but if there are problems or the roof needs repairs, this could have a negative impact on your practice. Of course if you are buying a building, you should have the roof inspected before finalizing your purchase.
Insulation – In older buildings, the amount and type of insulation is often inadequate. Walls and ceilings that have less than proper insulation will result in excess heat in the summer and cold in the winter. Depending on the amount and types of tenant improvements you are planning, it may be a good idea to remove and replace the insulation in walls and ceilings.
Glass & Glazing – Many older buildings have single pane glass and aluminum frames. These systems also leak in cold air in the winter and warm air in the summer causing higher utility bills and potential uncomfortable conditions for your staff and patients. Many times it is a good idea to replace old windows with new energy efficient systems.
Doors and Hardware – Doors are building components that take a lot of use and abuse. Normally when we do the tenant improvements in a suite, we will replace all the doors, frames, and hardware. This results in a nominal cost, but well worth it. We always recommend that our clients re-key all of the exterior door locks.
Electrical Service – Many older buildings do not have adequate electrical service for the modern dental equipment and related office requirements. It is critical that the electrical service is inspected to insure there is sufficient electrical supply for all your office needs. This should be done prior to the final negotiation for the space is completed and the deal is done.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) – The HVAC system should be inspected to insure there is adequate heating and cooling capacity for your office. The equipment should be checked to determine the future life expectancy of the units. In most cases the mechanical units can be reused, but the distribution and controls are changed to match the new interior design.
CC&R’s and HOA (Home Owner’s Association) Restrictions – Part of the “Due Diligence” of leasing or buying a space should include a thorough review of the CC&R’s and HOA restrictions. Occasionally we need to make minor modifications to the outside the building and these need to be approved by the HOA or property manager. It is better to get these approvals during the negotiations process.
ADA Upgrades – The codes for ADA (American with Disabilities Act) need to be addressed when considering a space to lease or purchase. ADA compliance will be reviewed at the time of plan check for the building permit. ADA compliance to the interior of the space will be your responsibility, but normally it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure the balance of the complex is compliant. This needs to be reviewed and determined during the lease/purchase negotiations. There is a portion of the code that limits the required ADA upgrades to 20% of the value of the permitted improvements.
Landmark Associations – We sometimes see our clients name their practice after local landmarks or street names. This is clever and attaches the business to the community. However, if you ever need to relocate your practice, the name identifies your business to a very specific location. Some of our clients have outgrown their facilities and there are no options for expanding in their current location. You might want to consider “portability” when naming your practice.
Article from Dental Strategies For Success
Wells Fargo Practice Finance (Formally Matsco)
04/01/2010 | Office Design & Construction , Dental
Building Green From the Ground Up
There is typically a premium to building green, despite a number of green elements that can be incorporated with little impact on the budget. But the long-term payback in healthier offices can be significant.
“Building green” has gained in popularity over the last few years due to the increased cost of energy and the need to protect the environment. Thanks to current building codes and modern technology, our new buildings are much more energy efficient than structures built just a few years ago. Here are some of the key components to building green.
Minimize Negative Effects of New Construction
- A building’s site affects ecosystems, community, traffic, and other environmental issues. Attention to design and location can help to minimize the negative effects of new construction.
- Locate the project within 1/2 mile of a commuter rail, light rail or subway
- Provide secure bicycle racks and/or storage within 200 yards of a building entrance
- Install vegetated bioswales to help absorb parking lot storm water run-off
- Reduce the “heat island effect” for roofs and paved areas by using shade trees, solar reflective paving, open grid paving, and solar reflective roof material
Build Water Conservation Into Your Structure
- The United States extracts billions of gallons of water per year more than it returns to the natural water systems to recharge aquifers and other water sources. To minimize water waste at your new location:
- Plant water efficient (drought resistant) landscaping materials
- Use modern irrigation methods that reduce water usage
- Install water-saving fixtures and appliances including toilets, faucets and dish and clothes washers
Optimize Your Building’s Energy Performance
- Consume 37% of the energy and 68% of the electricity produced in the United States annually.
- One simple method of optimizing the energy performance of a building is to orient the building on its site along an east/west axis so that it receives maximum natural light during the day, with an emphasis on morning light.
- Other construction elements that impact energy performance include the building envelope design, insulation and window design, high-efficiency HVAC design, in-line service water heating, and energy efficient lighting and appliances.
- Good refrigerant management reduces ozone depletion by phasing out refrigerants using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Most new building codes require this in all new and remodel construction.
Minimize Construction and Demolition Wastes
Construction and demolition wastes constitute about 40% of the total solid waste stream in the United States. Recycled-content materials reuse waste products that would otherwise be deposited in landfills. To minimize waste:
- Provide an area in your building that is dedicated to the collection and storage of non-hazardous materials for recycling, including paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, batteries, plastics, and metals.
- Work with the local waste management company to divert construction and demolition debris from disposal in landfills and incinerators. Redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process. Many cities today require a waste management plan before they will issue a building permit.
- Use regional materials that are harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site, thereby supporting the use of indigenous resources and reducing the environmental impacts resulting from transportation.
- Use rapidly renewable materials that are typically harvested within a ten-year cycle or shorter. Some of these materials include bamboo flooring, cotton batt insulation, linoleum flooring, sunflower seed board panels, wool carpeting, and cork flooring.
Ensure High Quality Internal Air
- It is estimated that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors where levels of pollutants may run two to five times more than outdoors. Many local agencies require the use of materials that release fewer and less harmful chemical compounds.
- Increased ventilation helps to improve the quality of the air in buildings. This can be provided by mechanical and natural means. Many new commercial buildings are installing operable windows that can provide fresh air on nice days.
- Reduce or eliminate tobacco smoke in buildings by locating exterior designated smoking areas at least 25 feet from building entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows. Many cities now have very strict ordinances against smoking in public areas and this is reducing the affects of tobacco smoke in buildings.
- Use low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials in construction. These materials include adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet systems, composite wood products, and agrifiber products. Again, local codes and product safety laws have eliminated harmful products from being sold. To be safe, users need to review the material safety data (MSD) sheets attached to the products to verify compliance.
- Controllability of systems makes interior spaces more comfortable and saves energy. This is most frequently employed with lighting and thermal controls. This is a very cost-effective way to improve interior comfort and save energy, thus reducing the impact on the environment.
- Provide occupants and indoor spaces with daylight and views to the outside by employing window systems and open architecture. It has been proven that building occupants who are exposed to views of the outside and daylight are happier and more productive.
Building green really is a matter of common sense. It is a method of design and building that protects and preserves the environment, while making the building occupants more comfortable. If taken to the extreme, green buildings can become very expensive, but every green component should be analyzed to determine the relationship between cost versus benefit.
Statements of opinion not necessarily endorsed by ADA Member Advantage, ADA Business Enterprises, Inc., or the American Dental Association, or any of its subsidiaries, counsels, commissions, or agencies.