When inspecting potential sites for your new practice, consider this:
The shape is just as important as the area
As Real Estate is likely to be your second largest fixed cost (next to salaries) its important that it is as efficient as possible.
If you are looking for a space to house 3 x surgeries, steri, OPG, kitchen and staff area you will be advised to look at between 100sqm and 120sqm.
With the right shape it could be under 100sqm. With the wrong shape it could be over 120sq. The impact this has on your bottom line is astonishing. 20% to 25% reduction in your Real Estate costs with the more efficient floor shape.
So what is the “right shape”?
Look for the following:
- Rectangular shape with the length approximately twice the width or less
- No columns
- Entry to one side, not in the middle
The rectangle should be wide enough to allow for a central corridor with use of the space on either side. If the space is longer, a side corridor can be used but this does force all the facilities in a row on one side which is not the most efficient for accessibility from the surgeries.
Columns dictate room sizes. If there are columns in the space they should be hidden in the new walls which means the columns are dictating the position of the walls and not the drive for efficiency. Sometimes they just fall in line and work perfectly but more often than not they are a hindrance to effective planning and an inconvenience to everyone if they are left exposed.
Side entries maximise the efficiency of the Reception and Waiting Area. Whereas a central main entry door will have the effect of splitting the area into 2 and waste the central area.
Its is rare to find the perfect space so you will have to compromise in one area or another so to recap in, order of importance:
- Rectangular space
- No columns or as few as possible
- Entry to one side
Find all three and you will be spending 20% – 25% less on your real estate expenses.
Existing site conditions also have a big impact on your fitout cost.
Around 20% of the fitout cost is in improvements to the building which you cannot take with you at the end of the lease so negotiate to have these included by the building owner or at least a fitout contribution to cover these. If you are paying for these you are in effect paying for the building owners fitout!
These improvements can be;
- Air conditioning
- Fire services
- Main entry doors and shopfront if applicable
- Plasterboard lining to perimeter walls
- Alterations required to comply with Disability Discrimination Act
There are huge savings to be enjoyed over the term of your lease by good space planning and negotiation.