Dental Office Design – Don’t Assume A New Property Has The Necessary Underground Requirements

Continuing with our series of dental office design case histories that focus on “don’t assume anything“, in this installment, I want to share with you an example where we discovered an essential underground service was missing and how we handled the situation.

While you never want to assume anything, you can almost always expect something somewhere will go wrong or be amiss. Often times, it’s how you handle and manage these exceptions that define a dental office design success!

Don’t Assume A New Property Has Has All Of The Basic Underground Requirements

Dr. W. purchased a newly constructed condo office.  We reviewed his needs, finalized his dental office design, and obtained all of the necessary city approvals. We then had the general contractor begin the building process. 

When the contractor started trenching to do the plumbing he realized there was no sewer line in the dental office suite.  The contractor and I had reviewed the as-built drawings provided by the condo builder before construction began and it clearly showed a sewer line in the suite, but it was never built. The missing sewer line was obviously a serious problem.  It would require major construction and city approvals to build an underground connection from the main city sewer line to the dentist’s office suite. Not only could it take months for the approvals but the construction cost would be astounding!

Dr. W. was stunned that this could happen.  The contractor and I thought there must be another way. We checked with the other condo offices to see if anyone else had a drain line. Fortunately the condo next door to the dentist did have a sewer line. The doctor had to negotiate with his neighbor to see if he would allow us to connect into his sewer line. After quite a bit of wrangling his neighbor agreed.

This time the plan worked but it could have easily become a nightmare. Dr. W. could have been entangled in costly law suits and major delays.  It is unusual, but not unheard of, that new construction omits a critical element.  Always hire a first-rate general contractor with sufficient and specific dental construction experience to thoroughly check and review your potential office property. 

When you undertake building out a new dental office suite, you should expect something will go wrong somewhere virtually everytime. In this case with Dr W, having the assistance of an experienced dental office design professional definitely helped resolve a critical problem saving the dentist a lot of extra expense and headache.

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