Before embarking on a practice redesign you should have a clear vision of your practice's goals, understand your team's physical requirements (from the front door to the back door), and identify who will be the project's decision makers. You should also have a list of questions to ask your architect, so that there won't be any unpleasant surprises.
The following questions are not all inclusive, but they should get you off to a good start:
1. Questions to ask before you choose an architect
What is your experience in designing a practice like ours?
What are the fixed costs for services, including all affidavits and the number of design development meetings?
What level of involvement will you have during construction?
What is the process for selecting products?
Are there mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) stamped drawings needed in our town? If so how much will that add to the project cost and time?
2. Questions to ask before starting a practice redesign
Is this the best location for our medical practice?
What is the projected growth for a practice like ours, over the next five to 10 years?
Do we have a clear understanding of our goals in redesigning our practice?
What time is left on our building lease?
Will we get any help from our landlord on renovation cost?
Should we consider renegotiating our lease?
Will we have to bring our suite up to current codes?
3. Decisions you should make before starting a redesign
Can we continue to see patients during construction?
Who is going to chair the project?
Who is in charge of physical design (layout)?
Who will select furnishings?
Who will select colors?
What is the budget?
Do the plans have to be reviewed and approved by the landlord?
How should we address IT needs?
4. Questions to ask your architect when starting a redesign
What is the design development timetable?
Do we have the square footage to do what we need?
How long will construction take?
What is the typical cost for a project like this?
Will we need to cut our patient hours?
Will we need to rent a storage trailer for existing furniture or supplies during construction?
Do we ask for performance penalties (monetary fines) if the contractor misses the agreed upon completion date?
Who will check on the contractors' assignment of insurance?
Will the architect help review contractor quotations?
Will the architect review all progress invoices prior to payment?
Who will be the lead architect/project manager on the job?
Who will be attending weekly job-site meetings?
Who will do the final walk through and develop a punch list?
* Questions provided by Bruce Puffer, founder and president of Plymouth, Mass.-based design firm Pro Medical Interiors. To read more about practice redesign visit "Designing Your New Medical Office Space."
This article was originally published in the April 2016 issue of Physicians Practice.