Archive for the ‘Ego Squared projects’ Category

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.


Collie River Valley Medical Centre

Congratulations to Dr Peter Wutchak and the team at the Collie River Valley Medical Centre for the opening of the extension of their existing practice…!

Dr Wutchak’s wife, Tanya contacted us after seeing our work at Australind Dental. The plan was to expand into the building next to the existing practice.  This would not only add to their existing general practice, but accommodate other allied health practitioners for the town. Patients would often have to travel to Bunbury or Perth for these services and the aim was to offer everything in one location.

So, we took the opportunity to get out of the city (don’t get me wrong I love Perth, but am a country girl at heart…!) and met up with the good doctor, his partner, Jan and their wives to run through their wish list.

The building was 280sqm and being used as retail space. It was separated from the existing practice by a covered walkway. The layout of the existing procedure and nurses rooms worked really well, so the doctors were keen to recreate this in the new space, with consult rooms, a staff/training room, reception and waiting area positioned around them. The space easily accommodated all of their requirements including new toilets (including disabled), storage and shower.

So the planning was completed and some initial pricing obtained from local builders. The final design was completed taking inspiration from the recently design graphics and logo. After a couple of meetings in Collie and a couple in Perth, we were all ready to go. The builder was selected and council approval obtained – construction began.

As is the case with a lot of commercial fitout work, there were a couple of minor hiccups. As demolition started, asbestos was discovered in the ceiling – fantastic… Also, we selected a really nice feature paint colour from an obscure Dulux range which was impossible to transfer onto the colourback glass splashback. This was easily sorted out by going to the glass company and colour matching to one of their ranges – PHEW!

However, Jeff from White Building and Co. took things in his stride and, with minimal discussions with us created a fabulous space that will take Collie River Valley Medical Centre successfully into a new era of allied health.

All in all a very successful project with a great opening party the other night!

Tendering – why wouldn’t you…?

When I started my first position as a fresh faced interior designer 15 years ago, the construction for all of our projects were tendered. Then, as the economy improved, clients moved towards the attitude of ‘I just want it done’ leading to the Design/Construct model.

Fair enough.

However, I’ve always wondered ‘why wouldn’t you get more than one quote…?’ Why would you be dictated to by one builder? After all, I tend to check out prices from two or three different shops when spending $1000 – surely you’d do the same if you were investing a couple hundred thousand (often more)…?

However, things have changed. People are a lot more cautious since the GFC hit. We recommend going through a tender process for 90% of our projects. After all, you still need to wait for one price, it doesn’t take any longer to get three.

But what does that actually mean? How should a tender work?

Here are a couple of things to consider:

1. Get three or four different builders to tender – more than that gets a bit unweildy.

2. Ensure that the builders are independant of your designer/architect to prevent any ‘topping up’ of design fees within the construction contract. The designer should be your (the Clients) advocate, not being dictated to by the builder.

3. Ensure the builders are independant of each other to prevent collusion. In small niche markets builders often get quotes from the same subcontractor, but they often get quotes from a number of subcontractors to ensure they prices are competitive.

4. You should be advised how your tender will be run and what the person running the tender will do during the process.

5. We recommend that each builder organise a meeting onsite with all his subcontractors during the tender period – this is a good opportunity for our Clients to meet each builder and see them in action (ie how they deal with their subcontractors, know the project, understand the site etc). As much as the final price is important it is also essential that you are comfortable with the builder.

6. The tenders should all be submitted by a certain time (again to prevent collusion) and should be sent to both you (the Client) and whoever is running the tender (ie the designer) at the same time. We generally try to schedule a meeting with our Client soon after the tenders are submitted to run through each price and any queries or concerns.

7. After the tender it is important to remember that some negotiations may still be required and you may choose to discuss these options with (we recommend) two of your preferred builders.

8. You must feel comfortable with your decision and not forced or frightened into signing up with a particular builder.

So, that’s it in a nut shell! Would love to hear your thoughts on the whole process – feel free to comment or if you prefer, send me an email…!

Riverside Dental, Noosa, Queensland

Our client, Dr Patrick O’Rourke, got back from holidays earlier this week to a brand new, fabulous practice! It’s often a very difficult time of year to fitout, but the wait has been worth it!

It has been great working with Dr O’Rourke – the entire project designed via email and phone conversations. Anthony made one trip to Noosa once the design was complete to meet with the trades and make sure that there were no unexpected surprises (as the practice was going into a new building).  Congratulations to Brett and the team at Dentifit who constructed the project.

Check out some photos here

Carparking…fun and games:-)

Ah carparking – the thorn on the rose that is surgery design… Lol;-)! I never imagined that I would have to be involved in carparking layouts when I studied ‘interior’ design!

Anyway, there it is! Parking requirements are under your local council authority in Australia and each council has their own interpretation of the guidelines. Dental surgeries often require relatively hefty numbers of bays.

I’ve just completed a floorplan and carparking layout for a change of use from residential to medical/consulting rooms. It is an existing two storey house – both floors are 130sqm. The lower floor will have four surgeries and upstairs will be sub leased as offices.

The council required:
– four bays per dentist (= 8)
– one bay per dental staff (= 5)
– four bays per 100sqm of office space (ie upstairs) (we put in 4, but council may request another 1 or 2)
– one of these must disabled access

Another recent project needed five bays per surgery (inc one disabled bay)

And another didn’t require any parking as part of the submission as the space was part of an existing medical centre.

Yet another required 13 bays but we could only fit six… The council took into account that there was a shopping centre and a bus station across the road, but I think their was some money paid in leiu to the council.

So, as you can see each council is different – give them a call if you are looking at new premises!

I would love to hear about you carparking experiences – leave a comment!

A tragedy has occurred

We had a call recently from one of our previous clients. It was devastating – while on holidays there was a power blackout at his practice and it had a traumatic effect on his fabulous salt water reef tank. The sensitive eco system was all but destroyed…

The question is ‘do you replenish or abandon?’

It was a tough decision – this tank had been a passion since we designed it four years ago (not to mention the tank from the before the redesign). But priorities change, right? His focus was been becoming more about family, more about ‘work/life’ balance.

So where do we come in? I think our client didn’t know who else to call that could possibly understand his dilemma – who better but the designers who created the centerpiece in the first place!

For me it was a no-brainer – the comment that clinched it for me was that he was stressing about whether the beautiful, wondous species would survive the weekend without a check up. The thing had to go! If you’re losing sleep, something has to change..,

We assured him that we weren’t offended that he was removing part of our original design and that we could come up with a replacement design to dress up the soon to be empty corner if he so desired. I called him a couple of days later and the decision had been made – the tank was going.

So now all we have to do is come up with something fabulous and interesting to look at for that soon to be bare corner – let the creativity commence!

(I’ll let you know how we go! And if you know of anyone looking to buy a well loved, beatifully designed fish tank…drop us a line ;-)!!!)

Local Council – our latest experiences

When starting a new practice or moving into new premises it is important to take into account local council requirements (not to mention, how long these applications take). The process is different in each state and each council individually interpret the guidelines and also have their own priorities and areas they target.

I thought I would take this opportunity to select a number of our latest projects and highlight each of their experiences with local councils. As I started writing, I realized how complex this topic is, so have decided to break it down into a posst per project.

Case 1. New dental practice opening in an existing house (WA)

Council involvement: Change of use from residential to medical consulting rooms

Drawings provided: Site plan, demolition plan, floor plan (by Ego Squared) Contour survey, parking and landscaping plans (using external consultants)

Approval length: two months (including three weeks advertising)

Main issues: parking

Description: Council initially requested six parking bays including one disabled bay (three bays per practitioner). Our client requested a total of eight bays as we had plenty of room at the rear of the property. After submission, council requested the majority of parking to be at the front of the house. As this was not possible, council allowed us to cross over the front boundary slightly giving us three bays out the front (including one disabled bay) and five out the back. As we got closer to achieving the approval, council suddenly requested an extra two bays (five bays per room) – lucky we had plenty of room!

I would love to hear your experiences – feel free to leave a comment!

Queensland – here we come!

We are currently working with dentist in Queensland on his brand new practice. This weekend we are taking the opportunity to escape the rain here in Perth … I mean, see the site and meet our client IRL…hehehe!

Some clients are a little concerned about having a long distant relationship with their designer, but infact we quite enjoy working this way!

So, what are the benefits?

1. We keep in constant contact with our local clients via email, so this is no different. We find that this is a great way not to disturb our (very busy) clients, but still getting queries and information through – they can get back to us at a time convenient to them (even if it is 11pm or 6am:-)!)

2. As we are in Perth we are two hours behind our eastern states clients, so a conference call to discuss concepts or drawings after hours is still within our working hours (although we are happy to meet clients after hours if required!)

3. Eliminates travel time for both us and our clients (if the design is for a new practice elsewhere)

4. Purely from a selfish point of view – we get to travel!! Always happy to jump on a plan to … Anywhere, really:-)

Well, I look forward to bringing you some more info on the Queensland project later in the week!

Secret Harbour Dental – not so secret!

As promised, some more pictures of our work!

Recently completed Secret Harbour Dental looks fabulous (even if we do say so ourselves;-) – check out the floor plan and a photo of the reception area here 

Where are we at…?

Well, it’s been over a month since my last post. My aim for our blog is to impart relevant and interesting information to you in regards to the latest and greatest in the dental design world.

However, we’ve got so much going on at the moment that my head is full of work, work, work. So, forgive me if I just do a quick ‘brain-dump’ on all the things we are working on currently.

Brand new surgery (southern suburb of Perth) – we completed the space planning, colour consultancy and reception and waiting area design a while back. The construction (by Dentpro) is nearly finished (YAY!) and we look forward to getting some photos on the site very soon!

Nuclear Physician (southern suburb of Perth) – this floor plan was designed at another company and we did some alterations to the space planning to suit the client’s requirements. We are currently looking at the colour consultancy and reception and waiting area design. This project is currently going through some serious structural engineering work (some of the equipment weighs tonnes!) and won’t be finished for a little while yet (ahhh the construction industry – can’t be more accurate than that, I’m afraid!)

Refurbishment (northern suburb of Perth) – we recently completed the reception design for this project (actually, there are some minor colour alterations still to do…where is my ‘to do’ list!)

Refurbishment (northern suburb of Perth) – again this is another reception area of an existing surgery we designed. The client was not totally happy with the designer they commission, so we were engaged to make some alterations to the existing (recently constructed design) and come up with a new reception desk.

Brand new surgery (Perth city) – as you may or may not know, there is HEAPS of construction happenening in and around Perth at the moment. This project is in a new building (which is still being constructed) and the client got the architect of the building to come up with a space plan for his new surgery. Unfortunately, the architect didn’t have any experience in surgery design, so the client came to us for help. We were able to incorporate two extra operatories and a disabled WC (council requirement) and create a much more usable layout for our client. We are currently working on the reception design and colour consultancy.

Brand new dental lab (Perth city) – this is a very small tenancy in the same building as above – we did some minor planning for council approval and will be looking at the colour consultancy for this project.

Existing surgery (central suburb of Perth) – the partners in this surgery approached us to do a feasibility study for their existing premises. They currently sub lease part of the building and the tenants will be moving in the coming months. They were unsure if they should do minor renovations and extend into the sub leased area or do more major renovations or even add a second storey. I am currently researching all the options in regard to council requirements, cost estimates, building issues and down time required for each option of construction. I’m quite enjoying this type of reporting and look forward to letting you know which way the partners decide to go!

So, thank you for indulging me in getting all this down on paper, so to speak! I hope to have some photos of the current projects up on the site soon.

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