Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Case Study – Harborne Dental Clinic

New room

The old lab transformed into a gorgeous, light-filled room…!

When Dr Jane Connor first contacted us, she was looking at putting in a new hygienist room. The existing lab seemed like the obvious solution, but then, where to put the lab…?

She thought maybe it could go into a shipping container outside…? We’ve looked at doing this for other projects (funky, right…?), but for one reason or another it hasn’t been a successful option. Either the council couldn’t get their head around the idea or it’s taken away precious car parking space.

So, as we are really magicians, we made space out of nothing…!

Not really.

What we did is make better use of the space.

We’ve done really tiny labs in the past, so we quizzed Jane and her staff on how much room they really needed. In reality, not too much at all.

We looked through the practice and found a disused X-ray developing room being used for storage. And it still had a sink – bonus…! We gutted it a created a small, but useable lab…problem solved…!

New lab and office

Above – the old xray developing/storage room to a cosy, but function lab AND Below – the old OPG/storage room to a lovely office for two

But we still needed storage space…hmmm.

We reviewed the rest of the practice and found a windowless alcove being used as an office by Dr Andrew Connor. There was also another room with an ancient OPG which hadn’t been used for years.

This room has lovely natural light and we were able to convert it to a small, but useable office with desk space for each doctor. The main cost involved in this was removing the OPG – those things are heavy…!

A partition and door enclosed Andrew’s old office to create a great storage room…viola…!

All in all, a lovely project where Ego Squared got to do what we do best – make the best use of your space.

Would you like us to review how you use the space in your existing practice…? Check out more about our refurbishment packages here or use our contact form to talk to us now…!

March Update

Morley Orthodontic Centre - LOVE this entry...!

Morley Orthodontic Centre – LOVE this entry…!

The year is flying…!

As usual, it’s been a little hectic in the studio. We’ve one practice in construction (this one is due to finish in early April – yay!), a practice refurb and a heritage house conversion that have just come back from tender, a change of use for a chiropractor, some additions to a previous client’s practice (we love it when client’s extend – means business is going well…!) and we’re working on a retail space at the Claremont Quarter (a client has come back to us for a refresh after designing his store 7 years ago…)

We would like to congratulate Dr Crofton Daniels on his new practice late last month…! We have been working tirelessly with both Crofton and his lovely wife Rebecca for over a year to create the most amazing practice.

I’m looking forward to getting our photographer in there soon and sharing it with you all. But I couldn’t help but share a pic of some artwork we commissioned by the talented Anya Brock to create a fabulous entry statement for the practice.

We’ve been busy personally too…! Our second daughter, Sukey, has started kindy this year. Anthony’s birthday was earlier in the month, our we had our wedding anniversary was last week and I managed to squeeze in some 40th birthday celebrations in February, too….!

We hope you’ve had a great start to the year and get a break over the Easter holiday.

Natasha (and Anthony)

Five benefits of NOT project managing your own fitout

file0001573465344Should you project manage your own fitout…?

Anthony and I have been working in the commercial fitout industry for nearly 20 years and both of us can safely say we would never project manage a job. It’s a very specialist (and extremely stressful) role.

But isn’t it just a matter of getting the trades to come in at the right time…?

This is definitely one important aspect of the job. And it’s one that I certainly struggle with getting my head around. (So I need the electrician to disconnect before demolition, then pre wire when the framing is up, then again to fit off…? This times 8 or 10 different trades…? Woah…)

No matter how hard we designers cover as many scenarios as possible, things still go awry. Whether it be a fabric that is suddenly discontinued (why do suppliers NEVER warn us this is going to happen…?) or a material is 12 – 14 weeks from Italy (the stock was available when we specified it 4 months ago…) or asbestos is discovered (really…?) or the original construction isn’t up to code (what do you mean the bathroom floor has no foundations…?).

All of these things take time and expertise to overcome.

Recently I took a project co-ordinator role for a cafe franchise. No design, just sorting out all of these components of the first four stores of their new role out…this was all I did – FULL TIME. It’s not difficult, but you need to be so very organised and it is extremely time consuming. I was co-ordinating with the operations manager, the project manager for the building, the project manager for the fitout, the architect, four different franchisees (and often their partners or admin staff), suppliers of lights and furniture, the signage contractor, the building owner or shopping centre management, local councils and the CEO of the franchise. Phew…!

So, we recommend the using a project manager and these are our five reasons why:

1. You have time to do what you do…fitting out can be very distracting for your business without adding extra stresses. And if you’re refurbishing an existing practice, please take a break – you deserve it (but please see point #5).

2. The project will be completed as quickly as possible – a project manager that has complete control of his schedule and his trades is imperative to a successful project.

3. You have the benefit of a cohesive fitout team that understand minimum down time is important. They come in, work quickly and cleanly and get out…perfect…!

4. You can sleep at night knowing that it’s all under control. Why should you pull an all nighter trying to figure out when to get the tiler in again as he’s been held up on another job…?

5. You can even go on holiday (it is possible, as long as you’re available…please don’t disappear in to the ski fields or to a remote island with no internet access).

We’d love to hear your experiences on either using a project manager or managing a refurbishment yourself…!

How tendering your project is different to ‘getting a few prices’

Ego Squared - saving your practice money

Ego Squared – saving your practice money…!

Or…Another way your designer can save you money


What…? You mean a designer can save me money…?


Yes, we can…! Interior designers have a reputation for being snooty, fashion conscious, trend setters that just want to SPEND your money on lavish rugs and expensive decoration.


Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not true…! I guess there are some designers out there, like that, but we tend to avoid that sort of thing for commercial projects. After all, you’re in business to provide a great service and make money, not show off your style or showcase your collection of designer handbags.


Interior design to us is about getting the best out of your space, making sure the work flow, well, flows. We take into account your focus for the business, the demographic of your patients, how you and your staff work within the space and most importantly, your budget.


In a previous post, I talked about ‘How your designer can save you $100 000’ which you can read that here.


Did you read it…? What did you think…?


So, the other way that you designer can save you money is by tendering your project.


‘But can’t I just get my own prices…?’ I hear you say…well, yes you can. However, getting a few prices and tendering is slightly different.


In a tender, the time for preparing the pricing is defined. It starts when the documentation is received and finishes at an exact time. Generally, prices received after this time, will not be considered. This reduces the potential for collusion.


We’ve found when a client decides to ‘get a couple of prices’ there is the potential for the builders to either take their time in getting their price together or do it really quickly and estimate on the high side. There is also the potential to discuss pricing with other builders or trades and adjust their pricing to suit ‘who owes who a favour.’ Sad, but true.


We also have the benefit of being a source of work for builders, so they can see the benefit in doing the right thing by us.


Another issue to be wary of is if a design/construct company offers to tender your project. After all, these companies make money from both the design and the construction processes, so you even though they’ve given you the option, you may still feel obliged to construct with them.


I’d also be concerned about the level of detail on their drawings. The drawings might be ‘simplified’ due to the fact that their trades work with them all the time, and their could be a standard specification that you may not be privy to…In an ideal world we’d like them to be honest and upfront, but sometimes this isn’t reality.


Our recommended builders are all experience with dental/medical fitouts, they can read plans (bonus..!) and are all independent from us and each other.


It is very important that you have a clear, detailed set of drawings and specifications with everything accounted for and no stone left unturned. The builder will make allowances for any omissions in the documentation and estimates will ALWAYS be on the high side. And once you’re in construction, variations are always more than you expect.


We’ve found with our details and specifications, the room for error and variations (and the associated costs) are dramatically reduced (even negligible).


We then administer the project, making sure that everything is as we’ve agreed during the design process. We are available to the builder and you, our client throughout the construction and inspect the site when required. At the end we create a ‘Defects List’ for the builder to correct any inconsistencies. You can be involved as little or as much as you like. (We’ve had client’s go on holiday during the build and come back to a brand new practice…!).


By doing it this way, by getting together an amazing set of drawings and specifications and putting it out to tender to three builders, we’ve found that it is the best way to get a comparable, competitive price…!

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.


Why Your Designer MUST Do a Great Layout For Your New Practice

When it comes to deciding on someone to design your new practice, you want someone who knows your industry, has worked on other practices before, someone who can show you a plan on paper…right…?

Unfortunately, seeking the best design services for your new practice can be as difficult as buying a car. Think of the wide range of car makes and models available. You can get something basic that gets you from A to B, a family car, a smart car, something vintage, or something a little luxurious.

Before coming to us, our clients have often spoken to a number of people who say they could design their practice. There’s the other designers, the builder who has been building practices for years, the equipment suppliers who have teamed up with designer, their mate who’s an architect.

So why have they come to us…?

In a nutshell, they weren’t happy with the floor plans they were given. The workflow felt wrong, the space awkward.

To us, the floor plan is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the design process. You’re paying for every square inch of that space and it needs to pay its way. You and your staff need to feel comfortable, not to mention the patients. The flow of the space needs to be effortless.

And as we all know, a picture tells a thousand words, so I’ll stop babbling on and SHOW you some real life case studies.

Case Study Number 1

First up we have an orthodontist looking at just over 100sqm in a brand new mixed use, multi storey development. The first design (on the left) was not quite what he had in mind, so he came to us (our plan is on the right).

Daniel O'Connor - sketch and Ego2

What we did (on the right):

  • Maintained the existing WC and Kitchenette locations
  • Created a welcoming entry
  • Increased waiting area seating from 4 to 13 chairs
  • Minimised the passageways
  • Functional OPG with Ceph
  • Inclusion of a refresh/brushing area
  • Combined the steri and lab (would prefer to keep them separate, but the number of the chairs was the priority)
  • Added an extra chair into the open plan area
  • Orthodontist-friendly consult
  • Added a hidden cleaners sink
  • Complies to AS 1428.1 2009 Access and Mobility

Our client was able to achieve our plan for 5% more than he was quoted for the first plan. Each of the spaces functions well, but most importantly he got an EXTRA CHAIR in the space.


Case Study Number 2

Now we’ll have a look at general dentist nearly 80sqm in an existing medical centre. Again, the first design (on the left) was not quite what he had in mind, so he came to us (our plan is on the right).

Sippy Downs - sketch and Ego2

What we did (on the right):

  • Relocated the waiting area to the shared centre area
  • Reception to the lease line as permitted
  • Enclosed the surgeries for privacy
  • Provided a lab
  • Provided a Plant room
  • Provided a Doctors office
  • Plenty of storage
  • Complies to AS 1428.1 2009 Access and Mobility

By ensuring that all the rooms would be comfortable and functional for both staff and patients and knowing how far we can push the space, gave our client a more ‘bang for his buck’.

These are just two of the projects we have worked on that have significantly improved the use of the space. We are constantly horrified (a strong word, but accurate) at floor plans are thrown together, without any thought on the impact of the new business or value on what an interior designer specialising in your area can offer.

We’d love to hear your experiences in getting a floor plan….!


What happened to February…?

Well, my resolution to write a new blog post every month is already out the window….I completely missed February…!

Ah, well back on track now…the studio is bustling!

We’ve got some new products from one of our flooring suppliers which will be going into our latest project (shhh it’s still a secret!) and it’s going to look amazing! This one should be out to pricing in the next few weeks.

Glo Dental has been open for 6 weeks and Dr Rhea Nihalani has had a great start to her new business. I’m working with Fleur from Interactive Arts to put the final touch on the practice – a lovely piece of art from a local artist.  Once this is in, our photographer will be in and we’ll get the virtual tour on the website – it’s looking and working great!

The extension to Morley Dental is well under way. I was out there last week and the partitions are nearly up! We’re looking at an early May opening and are just finalising artwork and waiting chairs.

We are also pleased that a number of our clients are looking at fitting out ‘future’ rooms – this tells us that business is going well – we love hearing our clients are busy!

I attended my first ADIA breakfast in February. It was great meeting up with clients and other industry associates as well as hear Ray Khouri of Dental Corp talk about how his business has grown and where it is headed now that its been (indirectly) bought out by BUPA.

We have another project in council for Change of Use – we’re looking forward to getting started on that one!

We have been getting some feedback from clients and potential clients that they are concerned that we are not architects. We are quite proud to say that we aren’t and that we can focus all our efforts into making the space function and look the best it possibly can. We love specialising in interior fitouts and our qualifications and experience allow us to create all the architectural drawings we need for council and building owner approvals, pricing and construction.

However, we have had some inquiries from clients (especially in the Eastern States) who would like to build purpose-built practices. We are currently in discussions with an architect who we can collaborate with to create these practices. Very exciting times!

Phew, so a March update completed! Let’s see if I can get myself organised to do April!


Happy New Year…!

Happy New YearSo, we are half way through January already…!

2012 was a great year for us both personally and professionally. This time last year, Anthony and I had just welcomed our newest team member, Sukey Georgette (born 13 January 2012) and now we have a 12 month old (literally) running around the place.

I have obviously been kept busy with Sukey and big sister, Imari as well as looking after the admin side of Ego Squared. We had our first full year of articles in the Australasian Dental Practice magazine as well as keeping our websites and Facebook pages up to date. We have also been featured on some amazing design blogs (both Australian and International) which we are extremely excited about.

Anthony has designed some beautiful projects in the last year (check out our gallery) and we look forward to showing you more that were designed last year and are in various stages of council or pricing or construction. He is continuing with updating of our systems and streamlining our processes as well as the constant search for the perfect touches to personalise your practice.

2012 brought some major changes to the council approvals process here in WA which has made planning and building approvals (especially for healthcare) more challenging. We are finding ourselves getting further into the entire process of our projects from searching for properties for clients all the way through to submissions to private certifiers which is fantastic.

We are also relishing getting more into decorating – this is the last 10% of the project. After finalising all the architectural work and getting approvals and pricing and construction completed adding in those decorative pieces (rugs, waiting chairs, feature lighting, artwork, vases etc) at the end is the icing on the cake!

We love being able to offer our clients more!

So here’s to an amazing 2013!


The Dental Quarters grand opening…!


Friday night saw the opening of Dr Stephen Chan’s new practice, The Dental Quarters. The name is so appropriate – not only referencing the four quarters of a tooth, but also that the practice is locate so close to The Claremont Quarter shopping precinct.


The tenancy is part of Old Theatre Lane’s The Princess Theatre over looking Bay View Terrace. It is the part of the theatre that house the projection room and where people gathered for drinks before and after the show.

This history gave us the inspiration for the look of the space – Hollywood Glamour. As you can see from the photo, we incorporated a gorgeous French antique lounge suite, textured metallic wallpaper and a feature wall of black and white head shots and movie posters.

But back to the opening!
Dr Chan’s wife, Lydia laid on an amazing spread of food and the Moet flowed. The festivities culminated in a lovely speech from Stephen, followed by the Mayor of Claremont cutting the ribbon and officially opening the new practice.

It was lovely to finally meeting Bronwyn, the graphic designer who took a concept to an amazing level as well as some of Stephen’s family, who have been instrumental in the whole process.

All in all a wonderful time was had by all and we wish Dr Chan every success in his new practice…!

PS We should have the virtual tour up soon!


Happy Birthday, Medifit…!

Our ad in ADP (Jul/Aug 12)We received our copy of the ADP magazine today and of course we flipped straight to the back to the Surgery Design section.

The usual suspects are there (including us – check out our article on Perth Prosthodontics) and we saw Medifit had written a synopsis of the last 10 years since they started.

Wow, where has the time gone…?

And Anthony and I were there at the beginning – now, I know this is a little unconventional…but, hey, it’s our history and something to be proud of.

Shall I tell you the story of how it all began…?

In 2002, I had been working for Geoff Raphael (Medifit’s design director) for 5 years and Anthony 2 years – we worked on all sorts of commercial interiors: pharmacies, restaraunts, shops, offices, you name it. As with most design companies, we were independant of any fitout or building company.

Then one day in 2002, we started working on a dental surgery and it was to be designed under the newly formed Medifit banner and constructed by one of the shopfitters who had been building our projects for a number of years. The design/construct combination had just started to become popular. I’m sure setting up of the company between the three directors took some doing, but it just seemed as though another project was coming through and that was what was important to us designers.

And then the projects kept coming and we developed systems and trained new staff and worked closely with the shopfitter and trades to write a standard specification and we starting working on projects Australia wide. It was all very exciting!

Another two exciting things happened that year – Anthony and I were married, then we bought a new (actually, really old!) house.  Looking back I guess that was the catalyst. We starting thinking about our future and how we wanted both our personal and working lives to be.

So, merely two years later at the end of 2004 we started Ego Squared Design Consultants. Two years after that we became Ego Squared Design Consultants Pty Ltd.

Coming up to eight years later, three offices, two children, two dogs and a (hopefully nearly finished) renovation we would like to wish the Medifit team a happy 10th birthday! We thank you for letting us cut our teeth with you (no pun intended).

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