Common Questions

How much does a design cost?

Most designers are going to tell you – it depends.

So, what exactly does it depend on? Well, design fees are generally based on:

  • floor area – design and construction costs are almost always in proportion to the floor area;
  • type of tenancy – are you converting a house, looking at a commercial building,  are you on the fifth floor?;
  • renovation/clean shell – renovating an existing surgery has different costs than starting with a clean shell;
  • style of design / budget restraints – designers can tailor a job to suit a budget if requested; and
  • statutory/local council requirements – compliance with local requirements can affect costs. These costs are constantly changing – it is important to be up to date with the latest regulations and their implications.

Each project has its own details and this is reflected in the fee structure. The more accurate you can be in providing information, the more accurate a quote you can usually ask for.

What will my designer want to know initially?

When you first start talking to a designer it’s great (but not essential) if you have an idea about what your project entails.  Consider the following:

  • What do you want done? Write it down so you are clear.
  • How big is the area? Get the measurement in square metres, (a sketch layout of the building area is useful, but not essential ie lease plans are sufficient for this stage).
  • Does your local council have special requirements? Ring up your council and ask them – are there any issues you need to aware of?
  • What is the history of the project? Has work already been done, or is something happening – for example, are you currently working with an architect to construct a new building? Writing down this information can help a designer understand what they have to work with.
  • Budget. Do you have a budget (or budget range) in mind? This subject is often quite confronting – it is something that you should consider, however we generally wouldn’t go into this until the detailed briefing. But if you have any concerns, you should not hesitate to bring this up with your designer at any point.
  • Finish. Have you seen pictures of how you would like your surgery to look? What sort of impression do you want to create for your clients?

How much does an initial consultation cost?

Designers usually love to meet their prospective clients, and there are usually a few ways to arrange it. Remember that designers are professionals who charge by the hour (much like you). Some designers will be prepared to discuss your brief and show you examples of their work without charging a fee. Usually once you want to discuss your specific requirements and get a written proposal, this is chargeable.

Your designer may have a slightly different approach or fee structure – its always best to ask up front what the fees are.

I’ve found a new property, or I’m not sure how to improve my existing surgery – can you give me some advice?

Once you want professional advice from a designer (and answering this kind of question falls into that category), most designers will probably ask for a fee.

For example, we answer this question by offering a Feasibility Plan which will usually include:

  • measuring the premises (or be provided with lease plans)
  • preparing a drawing of the proposed layout
  • preparing a report with recommendations on using the space
  • providing a fee proposal for a full design service, if that may be required

At this stage you should make sure your designer gives you enough information to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with buying/leasing or renovating the property.
If you don’t feel you have enough information, go back and ask.

This approach uses a very basic design process to help you make a decision to buy/lease. The plan may change slightly once a more detailed brief is taken if you do decide to proceed with a full design. Most designers will – like us – credit the cost of their Feasibility Plan if you do proceed.

Why do I need a designer? Can’t I do it myself?

Designing your own surgery needn’t intimidate you, but you should make a realistic assessment of your skills and ability to allocate enough time. Perhaps you only want to do some design concepts? Or perhaps you are considering a full design. There is a bit more to this question, so have a look at our detailed answer here.

How long will it take?

Each project is different – once your designer has the relevant facts they can give you a pretty accurate timeline.

That said, here is a sample project to renovate a 100sqm dental surgery:

Stage Time
Initial Meeting 1 Day
Proposal 5 days
Design 4-6 weeks
Council Approval Planning 4-6 weeks
Council Building Permit 2-4 weeks
Construction 6-8 weeks
Inspection 1 week
Ready to Move In 2 days

Council Approvals

Building projects require local council permits. The time required to secure these approvals will differ from council to council. Your council can best advise you on how long it takes to secure permits in your area. Click here to find out some useful questions to ask your local council.

Can you design my surgery?

We’d love to! The great thing about design is we can design anywhere in Australia!

We are aware of each states regulations and know the right questions to ask your local authority. So using email, phone calls and couriers, we get your design right in the convenience of your own office or home.

As long as we can get in touch with you at each stage of the design, having a long distance relationship with your designer doesn’t take any longer than being face to face.


Got any questions? Feel free to browse our website and blog, or alternatively if you have a specific question you can ask it using the email form below.