Floor Plan Evaluation
This is a 2200 s.f. orthodontic office for an orthodontist in Glendale, CA. This “elbow” shaped space is one of the most difficult shapes to develop.
This article is copy righted by Green Curve Studio, inc.
BEFORE PLAN DEVELOPED BY A LOCAL ARCHITECTURAL FIRM
Here’s a potential scenario:
For years you’ve been looking for the perfect site, the perfect price and the perfect time to build your dream office. Your new office has been designed, permitted and the contractor has been hired. You feel your floor plan is pretty close to complete and you’ll work out minor bugs during construction. Your construction budget is estimated from $100-$125 per sf. Plumbing, electrical and framing work begins, after a few days you receive a stress call from your contractor… the space is 16″ narrower than shown on the plans, all work stops and you are called to the site to determine how to solve the problem. After 2-3 hours at the site you realize that without the 16″ the entire plan falls apart and needs to be reworked. Construction has come to a complete stop until a solution reached.
You immediately turn to your colleagues for advice and they refer you to a design specialist, a firm you have seen at annual meetings and advertised in trade journals. You call the firm and ask them to evaluate the plan, after a few hours they schedule a web meeting with go over a point by point evaluation.
To begin with you learn that the location of the entrance appears to be a rear door, where as the opposite end of the building appears to be intended by the original shell building designer as the main entrance.
1 Entrance/Reception: From an architectural perspective the door at location “8” has a stronger presence as an entrance than the location shown by local resources. Positioning the entrance at location “1” will require the parents and patients to walk in front of parked cars which may be uncomfortable, especially when cars are pulling into the parking space. Also the face of the building would require some investment in detailing so that it can be easily identified as the entrance.
2 Front Desk: The kiosk shaped front desk is very dated and if 3 staff members are working here as intended they would likely back into each other, it will be difficult to open full extension drawers and function well in this space. A secluded check out area is not ideal for an orthodontic office due to high volume.
3 Manager’s Office/Equipment Desk: These areas are up against prime window space which is not practical since upper cabinets are needed for organization and supplies. There is no visual or acoustical separation from the Front Desk and equipment strewn out on the long counter does not make a very good first impression. Typically when a draftsperson if unfamiliar with your spatial requirements they don’t provide any ergonomic detail.
4 & 5 Games Room/Tooth Brushing: The games room is located before tooth brushing, so patients are likely to go straight to the games room without brushing their teeth.
6 – Treatment Bay: These cabinets are not well organized, when the practice is at maximum patient volume where patients, staff and parents are darting in and out of the operatory it’s easy to imagine that collisions are likely to happen on a regular basis.
7 – Treatment Bay: There’s plenty of space here it’s very poorly managed and a lot of the space is being wasted. This area is lacking ergonomic details such as the side cart location.
8 – Staff Lounge: This space is not very functional the at the bottom left corner is unusable.
9 – Measurements: Since this is an existing older building which did not have plans available we immediately had the measurements field verified before we started any planning. As it turned out the measurements were off by 16 inches. The long part of the plan is 16” narrower than the local teams plan shows. It’s possible that this project could have had gone into permitting, bidding and construction, the contractor would have framed to the end wall and then discovered that the plan was off. Without the 16” the entire plan falls apart and would come to a full halt while floor plan revisions are being considered. The client typically absorbs the cost of re-framing, moving plumbing trench lines and expensive change orders.
Area 10: Exam/Consult Room: The plan drawn by the local team does not have an exam/consult room, I did not catch this on my first review and neither did the client. When a design team persuades you that they are qualified to develop a floor plan you just don’t expect something so critical to be missing from the plan, it’s a blind spot.
AFTER PLAN – DESIGNED BY GREEN CURVE
Area 3 – Charts/Equipment Room: Equipment and charts are hidden from patient view, this area is easily accessed by staff from the front desk, business office, exam consult and clinical areas. Pulling the clerical areas off the windows provides ample storage and areas to organize work.
Area 4 – Business Office/Projects Desk: This area now has acoustical and visual privacy and includes a projects desk that can be used by part time seasonal staff. The doctor can easily access and speak with the business manager in privacy.
Area 5 – Exam/Consult: The Exam/Consult room has a rear entrance for the doctor, this is a nice feature as the doctor does not have to walk in behind the patient and makes direct eye contact with parent upon entering the room.
Area 6 – Compliance Consult: A “Compliance Consultation” alcove has been provided mid way between the reception area and the Tbay. This allows doctor and staff a private area to review progress reports with parents without tying up the exam/consult room.
Area 8 – Records: The 7th chair has been pulled out of the Tbay and the team has created a private Records area.
Area 9 – Doctor’s Office: The Doctor’s office features a private washroom and ample area to layout projects.
There is a full sized basement which is used for mechanical and storage.
Fortunately the doctor had his plan reviewed by our expert team just before permit submittal and signing a construction contract. Money that would have been wasted on change orders, bank fees, extra lease payments, was channeled to create an office environment that has a dramatic branding impact on visiting patients.