So you are planning on designing a veterinary clinic, but where do you even start? Are you planning to improve the practice’s current workspaces? You may be thinking of converting a building for an overall update. Regardless, it is highly advised that you start by making a feasible study of your building. You will want to review the condition of the existing building but also create a plan for the new changes that will be required to create a state-of-the-art veterinary surgery.
It’s more than just purchasing a few new items. Think of your veterinary clinic as an overall space and how each room connects to one another. This flow of spaces will define how your practice works and comes together. No two practices work in the same way, so make a thorough plan. In this blog, we outline to you design tips for building and designing a modern and friendly vet clinic. To find out more, read on!
Creating a plan
- Ask all the staff what they like about the existing building and what they don’t. Everyone’s views from receptionist and admin staff to the clinical team will be different but these are the people who will have constructive feedback and whose advice you should welcome.
- Consider whether it is time to introduce new services or facilities and if that is the case, will the building need to be extended to do so?
- Do the existing facilities work to meet modern standards or equipment requirements?
Define the standards you are working towards. If your premises are to RCVS core standards, do you want to improve to practice level or to veterinary hospital standards? The RCVS standards oversee details of all aspects of running a practice but shouldn’t be considered a design guide.
This feedback is going to be useful to the architect and will help mould the design brief. Many people want to have the micro-details in place prior to deciding on the fundamentals of a project – like choosing colours before deciding if the new consulting room is required.
Once an initial idea has been developed through drawings and discussions, a plan can be created. Factors to consider are:
If the project involves various alterations and extensions, a discussion with the local authority may be needed. Don’t think that internal works only excuse you from permission – they don’t! Also consider that if your property is listed, additional permissions may be required. All building projects require building controls.This should be considered carefully when the works involve structural amendments, fire escapes, updating electrics or any other upgrade to the fabric of the building.
This is much too important to bypass. Always have a cost plan on the early design ideas to get an early estimate. This will aid with financial planning and arranging any necessary bank loans.
The detailed design stage sees plans developed so that all the accommodation needs are included and any new extensions that have been designed are signed off by the client. The next crucial step is submission to the local authority’s organisation department for approval before any construction work can begin.
It is during this stage that we get down to the details: for example, considering the actual materials, finishes and systems that you want to install.
Any update of design needs to allow for:
- Details of equipment, including power, ventilation and safety of X-rays.
- Mechanical and electrical systems – LED lights use a fraction of the power of old lights, so the time has most likely come for an update.
- Heating systems – has the boiler of the building seen better days? If so, its more efficient and cost-effective choices can be made.
- Any finishes, the choice of paint, anti-slip floors and countertops all need to be decided at this stage.
If you are starting from scratch, you’ll need a contractor. Once you’ve got a contractor in place, agreeing the price, programme and phases is crucial prior to signing a contract. Projects that run smoothly typically have all this set out in a contract signed by both parties prior to commencement on site. frequent site meetings should be carried out upon as they allow the practice to discuss the day-to-day issues and challenges of planning the workload, especially if working on a live site.
There will no doubt be a few issues and challenges involved with the project, particularly on a refurbishment, as unforeseen elements will inevitably arise. That’s why adding a contingency into the contract allows for these issues and stops them from becoming a real issue.
This phase ties together the project and the completion of the tasks involved in designing and delivering practice. The process is not simple and will require time and commitment from everyone involved.
However, with open and honest communication between everybody involved, problems will be solved and you will have a fantastic practice facility which will support the ongoing success of your veterinary business.
Is each area big enough for the purpose; is there enough space to be able to separate the veterinary clinic into rooms each with its own function and to allow for cats and dogs to be housed separately? Is there enough space for storage of supplies and equipment?
Any clinical space such as the animal wards and surgery rooms should be kept at a higher temperature for animals undergoing surgery or recovering from GA and for sick patients on treatment. There should be sufficient and appropriate ventilation, open windows and doors do not help to maintain any warmth and could perhaps be an easy escape route for your patients.
Each area should be adequate for its function, they should be big enough for the purpose and have sufficient lighting, electrical sockets and be in a good location.In an ideal layout, surgery rooms on higher floors should be avoided if kennel or holding areas are located downstairs. Animals should not be walking stairs prior to or after surgery.
The floor plan of the vet centre or clinic should hopefully be considered so that there is a flow-through of traffic such as from the consulting room out to treatment areas and kennels and from prep room to surgery. Having to walk through several rooms or even go outdoors to get from one area to another is by no means ideal. Where possible the front of the hospital should be for client areas such as reception and consulting rooms, and the rear be treatment areas that are more private and secure.
Safety and security
Safety and security are also a key consideration, safety factors include having enough room to move around without banding into things or low door frames, also lead lines room for radiography and security of the premises for the drugs and equipment but also to prevent animals from escaping or being stolen.
Without doubt, it’s daunting to open your own practise or even renovating or even just updating your existing one. You may not have all the answers, but with a great team behind you, this is the first step on your way to achieving the purpose, the excitement and the autonomy of owning your own practice.
Here at Abbey Vet Centre, we offer everything ranging from pet surgery to animal MRI
Here at Abbey Vet Centre, we understand how stressful it can be when your pet is poorly, that is why we try to go above and beyond to create a calm and comfortable atmosphere at our vet centre. Whether you’re the owner of a newborn kitten or you’ve got a loyal family dog in tow, doing all you can to keep them happy and healthy at all times is sure to be your main priority.
Finding a vet clinic you can trust to give your pet the treatment they deserve can, therefore, seem challenging, but at Abbey Vet Centre, based in Grimsby, we go above and beyond to put our patients and their owners at ease at all times. We’re proud to run a small yet established emergency vets clinic in Grimsby, North-East Lincolnshire, with two brand surgeries in nearby Immingham and Caistor. To find out more about the services we offer, please get in touch with us today.