Interview with Dr Chai Lim

Interview with Dr Chai Lim, Nedlands WA.

By Julia Sutton,

Q.What prompted your decision to do a new refit?

A. Well the décor was dated. We had an issue with an old fish tank that was not built properly. If we took out the tank it was going to ruin everything like the walls and the carpet. These rooms were done twenty years ago and things have changed. We needed a new work flow, equipment needed different space. Also appointments are different now, it is far more consultative and the workspace needs to accommodate that change.

Q.How did you arrive at a budget for the fit out?

A. To set the budget I asked other people how much they had spent. I went and had a look to see how much that buys you. As a goal oriented person I wanted a functional fit out with the minimum expenditure. I didn’t want to overcapitalize.

A. What options do dentists have to finance projects like this? Who did you use and why did you choose them?

A. There are private sector financiers and private bankers. I tend to do business investments through the financiers.

Q.What steps did you take to find someone to work with on your project?

A. Word of mouth from other dentists via an on-line dentists chat site. I read a dentist post that he had a great fit out and he was really pleased to recommend Natasha and Anthony.

Q.What were your priorities in the refit?

A. My priorities were work flow, having a clean, tidy and modern space and not over capitalising.

Q.How well were these realised in your new surgery?

A. You can tick every box. These factors were very much realised because Natasha and Anthony listened and extrapolated on what I wanted. They didn’t sway me in any other direction.

Q.Was what you expected to pay for the project what you ended up paying? Were you comfortable with any difference?

A. The project came in on budget, as I planned. I have had experience with building so I put in a 10% contingency and we used it.

Q.Would you do anything different next time?

A. No.

Q.How has your staff found the new fit out? Has their been any particular advantages for them?

A. In practical ways I think the staff benefit because the patient flow is so much more professional. Work flow is definitely more efficient.

Q.What response has you had from your patients?

Some people don’t notice. I was surprised. I guess that is because they are here to see us rather than the building. Those that notice are positive, probably because of the modest nature of what we have done. There haven’t been any negative comments.

Q.How long did the process of the fit out take?

A. From the time of first contact to completion was ten months. It could have been a lot shorter. I planned it around my holidays and we did have some labour shortages.

Q.Were there any surprises once you were actually working in the new space?

A. No, it works as I imagined it would.

Q. Some equipment suppliers offer a design service, were you aware of this? Why did you choose not to use them?

A. I didn’t use them because this was just a renovation and we weren’t buying new equipment. If I were doing it from scratch I might be tempted. I’d be concerned that if I chose that I would have to use the same brand of chair, delivery system and lights. I have preferences for different brands in each area. I would imagine those type of offers are about achieving a display surgery for their products rather than accommodating an individual’s preference.

Q.How would you describe working with the EgoSquared team?

A. I was pleasantly surprised by how available they were. They were always contactable, flexible and prompt.

Q. What advice would you offer to people embarking on their own projects?

A. Don’t overcapitalize. Designers know lots of little tricks to get an effect without being extravagant.