Case Study – Marri Gum Dental

Marri Gum Family Dental

Marri Gum Family Dental reception

Our client first contacted us very early in the process of opening a new practice. Dr Adrian Eng had found a house which he thought suitable and was doing his research prior to putting in an offer – a very good move. The first thing we did was talk to the planning department of the local council to see what was required to turn a house into a dental surgery.

As suspected we needed to do a Change of Use application (changing from residential use to consulting rooms). This is a fairly straight forward process (as long as the development is permitted), but councils tend to take 6 – 8 weeks to do this sort of application. Fortunately, the owner of the house was willing to take an offer ‘subject to council approval’ on the understanding that it could be a drawn out process.

So, we started putting together the required information for this application. We obtained a contour survey and visited the house to measure up. And what a house it was…! A brick and tile house built in (probably) the 1980’s with four tiny bedrooms in 90sqm. The block was large with various, sheds, undercover areas, tiered gardens and space to spare. Which is good news as council required at 12 car parking bays (6 bays per practitioner…wow!). The house is set on the front half of the block with a driveway down the side of the house, so the parking would be out the back.

The original house...

The original house…

One of the first things we like to discuss with our clients is their plans for the business. Initially, the plan was to get the new business up and running with two surgeries, but in the future the intention was to extend the house to add another two rooms. We need to do three things:

  1. Design a two room practice within the confines of the existing house
  2. Design an extension to the house incorporating another two rooms, but with minimal interruption to the existing practice
  3. Ensure the parking would not be compromised when the future extension was completed, but was still functional until that time.

Starting at the very beginning (a very good place to start…!), we worked up some floor plans for Stage 1. Dr Eng’s original thoughts were to maintain the existing front door as the entry with reception in the lounge room and put the other rooms (surgeries, steri, office etc) in the existing bedrooms.

This was all very well, but we had a better idea…! As the majority of patients would be coming from the back (the car park), we decided to create a new entry through the window in the main bedroom (as you do…!) This might be considered extreme, but quite a lot of internal demolition was required to bring the space up with the current Access and Mobility codes which include the width of passage and doorways and the circulations spaces to these doors.

Marri Gum Dental floor plan

Marri Gum Dental floor plan

As you can see, the surgeries worked best in the existing lounge and kitchen areas with the steri/lab in the bathroom/laundry.

The old living room became Surgery 1

                The old living room                  became Surgery 1

The old living room...!

Look at it now…!

The location of the OPG will be the ‘cut through’ and ‘breeze way’ to the future extension as you can see below. By keeping the extension separate from the existing house minimises the changes required to the roofline.

Byford Consulting Rooms 10sept13 A02 (1) copy

The future extension allows for the OPG to have its own room, two new rooms (auxiliary and hygienist), doctor’s office (with space for two…!) and a nice size staff room with staff entry from the car park. By drawing up this ‘future plan’ gave the traffic management consultant the parameters required to develop the car parking.

This went to local council for ‘Change of Use’ approval. Ego Squared collated all the required drawings and drew up a report supporting the application. Then, as with all council dealings, we wait.

Once we received approval, we commenced full documentation. You can check out all that entails here.

However, as this was a complete ‘house to practice’ build, we needed some extras for building approval including:

  • traffic management plan (including car park layout, signage and lighting)
  • external access requirements (including ramps, handrails, tactile indicator locations, bollards etc)
  • landscaping plan (including plant names and locations, reticulation system, rain water garden, drainage and soak well locations, fencing alterations)
  • internal and external demolition plan
  • bin enclosure details
  • External rendering and roof colours
  • Main street sign design and detailing.
New entry at the back of the house

New entry at the back of the house

We tendered this project to three builders. As we always say our builders are all experience with dental, they can read plans (bonus..!) and are all independent from us and each other. This, together with our details documentation and specification is the only way to get a competitive price…!

You can check out the final product here.