Kirsty Hague shares invaluable insight by revealing the eight key areas for consideration when working to develop a dental squat practice.
Setting up a squat gives you the freedom to achieve a unique practice with your stamp on it. It allows for long-term expansion and meeting all the modern-day legislation requirements from the start.
What you need to achieve all that is a plan for success, which we have finely honed over our years of experience into eight key areas:
Design and concepts
Logistics and planning
Handover and staff training
On-going equipment servicing and engineering support.
1. Site feasibility
It is important to survey any potential new site before signing on the dotted line. Even going so far as to have an expert in the field provide layouts and initial drawings for your planning application.
You also want approximate costings to help you make an informed choice as to whether moving forward is feasible.
Without these initial steps, which admittedly can require some spend, it’s easy to make costly mistakes.
2. Designs and concepts
The detail that goes into concepts and layouts is incredible when you find the right person for the job. CAD designers can help you start to visualise your dream practice with both 2D and 3D drawings.
This process can further ensure that any concept and design flows efficiently for you and your team throughout. From the front door to the surgeries and through to staff rooms, every detail can be explored.
Designs and concepts also need balancing with aesthetic and legislative considerations. Over the last few years, there has been a growing desire for practices not only to provide clinical excellence but also a calming and inspiring environment, reflecting your brand.
Additionally, designs and concepts need to incorporate HTM 01-05 and CQC legislative requirements, ensuring the installation meets today’s high standards.
It is worth noting that you do not always need expensive architects’ involvement with a squat. Some practice design companies and equipment dealers will provide what you need to get through the planning process.
3. Specialist trades
Working with a strong and experienced dental build team can help this entire process run efficiently and effortlessly for you, making certain the practice is ready to open within the set schedule and budget.
In the past, clients have chosen to work with their own local build teams. They then realised part-way through the process that their lack of knowledge and experience for a specialist project is detrimental. Timescales often overran hugely, and the savings they thought they were making were lost when their doors were not open on time and initial budgets were way off.
So, ideally, you want to find a build team that has experience of working within dentistry. A great team will even work outside of normal hours to ensure deadlines are met, to a high standard of finish.
You will need numerous trades to get your squat up and running. Including but not limited to, carpentry, electrics, plumbing, decoration, flooring and cabinetry all of whom need to work together.
4. Logistics and planning
Your project manager needs to start to explore organising and implementing the refurbishment process.
A good project manager will ensure that any stress you have in terms of the build and development of the building and equipment is taken care of. Then you can concentrate on what you do best – helping your patients.
Project managers are at the heart of your envisioned goals. They should work on your behalf to ensure all trades complete the project to the highest possible standard, within budget.
A logistical plan is drafted. This is an essential element to ensure a linear progression to any project or programme. This might include a Gantt chart for easily accessible timescales and stages construction, installation, handover over and staff training on equipment.
5. Equipment selection
Naturally, you will have in mind what you want and need, and what you have worked with in the past.
However, the extensive equipment choices out there is daunting. So seeking professional expertise is vital.
In consultation with surgery design experts, you can consider the size and shape of the rooms available, the way you and your team want to work in each room, as well as budget (of course), to deliver an outstanding design.
Every detail of your squat’s equipment should be considered, including chair positioning, delivery types, styles of cabinetry, services for suction and compressed air, consultation area, X-ray points, specialist equipment – and many other considerations that will ensure your practice is efficient and effective.
Before you commit and sign on the dotted line of an order, please ensure that you have a demonstration of the equipment that you intend to buy. Visit showrooms and exhibitions and take your time to consider all the options.
5. Future proofing
The world changes every day. Sometimes a little and sometimes – as we have all learned in the last year – there is a dramatic shift.
Planning for the future in a squat practice is an essential element of good development and business creation.
A key element of this is ensuring that services are positioned correctly for when the time comes for change. For example so that new cables can be pulled through if issues and/or improvements/upgrades are incorporated. For instance, consider starting with just two working surgeries with room to grow!
7. Handover and staff training
With a new practice, there is so much to consider as the project nears its end. Not least understanding how everything works!
To take the stress out of this aspect, you need build and engineering teams that will not only demonstrate the new equipment to your new team. They should be there every step of the way to provide on-going support, advice and training in preventive and good routine maintenance.
You also want reassurance that if any teething problems were to develop, they would quickly be remedied by the same teams.
8. Annual equipment servicing and engineering support
Even after the project is finished, it is important that the same team is there to support you.
The kinds of things you need to look for are a decent warranty, tech support, annual servicing, and availability for emergency repairs, thereby minimising downtime.
Here to help
Hague Dental embraces every one of these key concepts with enthusiasm and care.
In fact, the entire team are champions at what they do, at our clients’ side every step of the way during the process, and beyond into the realms of after sales support.
Working within the parameters of the building you have chosen and are no doubt excited to transform, we take the time to understand your vision and your wish-list properly.
This enables us to turn your dream into reality. Using our design experience, legislation understanding and ergonomics to best effect for you, your team and your patients.
Speak to our team if you are currently just looking at feasible sites, or if you are part way through a project and need advice or equipment. We can support you from design to build and beyond, looking after you every step of the way.