Which type are you?

Nov. 1, 2009
New dental facilities can be divided into two client types and if not identified correctly will cause frustration, lost investment dollars, and soured relationships among all involved.

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: dental office design, client types, Dr. Jeff Carter, Pat Carter, Dave Fazio.

New dental facilities can be divided into two client types and if not identified correctly will cause frustration, lost investment dollars, and soured relationships among all involved. To determine which type of client you are, consider these lists:

List A —

  • Starting your first practice
  • Frustrated by older equipment purchased through a practice transition
  • Focused on updating technology to compete with newer practices
  • Anxious to complete new facility in short time frame
  • Concerned about minimizing costs in all areas
  • View dentistry from engineering technician perspective.
  • View design/construction process as a diversion from daily practice activities

List B —

  • Attended dental design presentation during dental school or residency program to prepare for first office
  • Associate preparing to start first practice and vision for new facility is stark contrast to current situation
  • Concerned about upgrading equipment and technology in new facility, but not top priority
  • Current facility is the result of equipment/technology–driven process, and have substantially different vision for new project
  • View new facility as investment and expect appropriate return
  • Have resourced professional designers for home or other design projects
  • View dentistry from experiential perspective of the patient
  • Energized by process of creating new facility and want to be involved
  • Spouse is a design visionary

If List A more closely describes you, then you are equipment– and technology–driven. If List B characterizes you better, then you are design–driven. Understanding who you are will define the process best suited to your facility “design and outcome” expectations.

There are two broad types of processes:

→ Equipment– and technology–driven process. The majority of new facilities fall into this category. The project “quarterback” is the equipment specialist working for a dental equipment dealer (e.g., Patterson, Schein, Benco, et al).

  1. Client makes contact with dealer equipment specialist (ES)
  2. ES engages design–build contractor (a construction company that employs in–house designers to provide necessary documentation for construction permits) to assist with the process
  3. ES and contractor assist client in planning stages to program project requirements; locate and qualify sites
  4. Dealer draftsmen produce floor plans for client's review based on information from ES
  5. Approved floor plan is transferred to design–build contractor for development of additional documentation
  6. Client engages contractor and/or in–house designers to complete esthetic and functional design of facility
  7. Design–build contractor constructs facility and provides oversight

→ Design–driven process. The project “quarterback” is an architect or interior designer engaged at the process' start.

  1. Client interviews and retains designer/architectural resource (DAR)
  2. DAR assists client in planning stages to program project requirements and locate and qualify sites
  3. DAR and client resource ES for additional programming input on equipment and technology
  4. DAR and client strategize project budget
  5. DAR and client interview and qualify potential contractors to project
  6. DAR and client collaborate to develop all functional and esthetic aspects of facility
  7. DAR provides all necessary documentation for permits
  8. DAR assists client in hiring contractor
  9. Contractor prices project
  10. DAR reviews pricing and engineers into budget with client input PRIOR to construction if required.
  11. DAR represents client with oversight of contractor and construction process to ensure project is completed according to plans, specifications, and budget.

Jeff Carter, DDS, Pat Carter, IIDA, and Dave Fazio, AIA, are owners of PDGFazio Design Group. Located in Austin, Texas, PDGFazio offers a full range of architectural, interior design, and consulting services to dentists nationwide. For more information, call (800) 511–7110 or visit www.pdgfazio.com.

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