Sample Chapters

Table of Contents

Construction Abbreviations

Chapter 1 :   Site Selection
Chapter 2 :   Design Phase
Chapter 3 :   Exterior
Chapter 4 :   Vestibule
Chapter 5 :   Seating Area
Chapter 6 :   Front Desk & Check-Out Stations
Chapter 7 :   Consult
Chapter 8 :   Back Business
Chapter 9 :   Manager’s Office
Chapter 10 : Operatories
Chapter 11 : Central Imaging, Digital Imaging, & IT Closets
Chapter 12 : Sterilization
Chapter 13 : Lab
Chapter 14 : Private Office
Chapter 15 : Staff Lounge
Chapter 16 : Rest Rooms
Chapter 17 : Corridors
Chapter 18 : Ceilings
Chapter 20 : Medical Gases
Chapter 19 : Mechanical Room
Chapter 21 : Storage – Other
Chapter 22 : Specialty Practices
Chapter 23 : Utilities
Chapter 24 : HVAC (Heating)
Chapter 25 : Electrical
Chapter 26 : Plumbing
Chapter 27 : Life Safety Systems
Chapter 28 : Cabinetry Systems
Chapter 29 : Colors & Finishes
Chapter 30 : Furniture
Chapter 31 : Flooring
Chapter 32 : Green Design
Chapter 33 : Schedules
Chapter 34 : Construction Phase
Chapter 35 : Remodeling Issues
Chapter 36 : Change Orders & Additional Work
Chapter 37 : Construction Completion – The Punch List
Chapter 38 : Commonly Forgotten Items

About The Author

Chapter 6: Front Desk & Check-Out Stations

  1. It is essential to provide enough space for the business side of your practice.  Too often, the Reception and Check-Out areas are just placed in the space left over after the Operatories and clinical support work stations are designed.  Without the proper planning, Reception and Check-Out can be distracting, inefficient, and frustrating, especially when bottlenecks occur.
  2. Start the planning process by determining how many staff members will be at the Front Desk and Check-Out Stations.
  3. Will any appointments be scheduled in the clinical zone?  If so this will reduce some functions at Check-Out.
  4. Location of the Front Desk is critical to the practice.  The staff must be able to view the entire Seating Area.  Try to avoid any blind spots.
  5. When designing your cabinets determine if you want a locking drawer for cash at the Front Desk.
  6. The copier placement is important, since it needs to be accessible to the staff.  Many offices keep it near the Reception window (because this is where copies of health insurance cards are usually made).  Avoid locating the copier or scanner in a corner where other staff members may have difficulty accessing it.
  7. Limit use of curves in the Front Desk and Check-Out Stations. Curved walls are very expensive to build and install.  Curved walls also limit the size and depth of cabinets below the countertop.  A better and less expensive option is to use angled walls below with curved countertops above, since curved counters are relatively inexpensive to build.
  8. Avoid positioning patient files directly behind the Reception Desk.  This can be an unattractive first impression for entering patients.  The focal wall behind the Front Desk is a great place for an accent color or a decorative feature such as artwork.  A large wall of files reduces the patient experience; they may think that they are just another number in your practice.

Chapter 12: Sterilization

  1. Sterilization is the hub of the clinical support zone.  It has the potential, if not properly planned, to be a bottleneck.  Quick, efficient, and safe reprocessing of your instruments can be the heartbeat of the clinical support zone.
  2. Locate Sterilization centrally to serve all of your Operatories.  Ideally it should be along the staff’s primary path of travel.
  3. Your Sterilization Center can be an effective marketing tool to educate your patients and prospective patients on how you properly care for their health by using the best methods and equipment to disinfect the instruments in your practice. Showcase your Sterilization Center.
  4. Use a glass partition to separate Sterilization from the public path of travel. This will allow it to be visible to patients during office tours while staff members safely process the instruments.
  5. If your Sterilization area is highly visible, on a primary path of travel or being used in tours of your office, then this zone must be perfect at all times.
  6. Change the flooring material if your Sterilization Center is slightly recessed off the primary path of travel.  This will help delineate the clinical zone from the patient path of travel.
  7. Consider patient sight lines when placing your Sterilization Center in your initial space planning.  Patients walking down the corridor towards the Operatories should only have a view of the “clean” side of Sterilization.  Avoid placing the “soiled” instruments in Sterilization where patients can see them when going to an Operatory.
  8. The most important element in designing a Sterilization Center is an efficient and safe flow from “soiled” to “sterilized”.  Do not allow “clean” instruments to pass over the “dirty” side, since this is a potential place for contamination.
  9. Soiled trays can be placed in a dedicated cabinet above the incoming tray processing area.  Have this cabinet fabricated with dark or smoked Plexiglas to slightly conceal any soiled trays from patients view, yet your staff members can see when the mounting trays stored inside need to be processed.  Do not store anything else in this cabinet.

Chapter 25: Electrical

  1. Is the electrical panel in your suite? If not, have the electrical contractor provide a sub panel in your suite.  This will allow you convenient access to the circuit breakers.
  2. If remodeling a space, will you have to relocate the main panel?  This can be expensive, yet it may well be worth the effort and cost, if it allows an ideal plan and best flow in the new office.
  3. When placing a new electrical panel, locate it where it will be convenient for the staff to reach when needed, and for the service technicians.  Avoid corridor locations.  Consider the Staff Lounge.
  4. Develop a list of all equipment needed in your practice on a room by room basis.  This will help make sure that you have all the electrical outlets that you need. When reviewing the electrical plans or touring the construction process with your contractor, use this equipment list to make sure the needed outlets are being supplied.
  5. Check with your dental equipment company for the number of dedicated electrical outlets that they are asking for.  Many pieces of equipment require a dedicated power outlet, while others are merely common sense.  Get the electrical contractor involved as early as possible.  Does the electrical panel have sufficient space for these dedicated outlets? Sub panels are often needed.
  6. Consider using isolated ground electrical outlets (color coded orange) for any electronic equipment such as computers.  Consult with your electrician and computer network specialist.
  7. Label all circuits in the electrical panel so that you and your staff know which breaker controls which circuit.  These are often listed by room or piece of equipment.  This should be part of the electrician’s contract.
  8. Review the number of 220 volt power outlets.  This will also affect the size of the electrical panel needed.  Common 220 volt power needs are the air conditioning systems, the suction pump, the air compressor, and the clothes dryer.