Dental Office Design – Never Assume Your Landlord Knows The Disabled Access Regulations

Although I have been designing dental offices since 1983 and think I have seen every possible challenge that can occur during the design and buildout process, I’ve learned that I can never assume anything. It is important that you’re aware of the potential challenges so that you know what questions to ask before making a commitment.

Another in a series of posts about “Don’t Assume Anything”, I hope you find this example about building codes and disabled access deficiencies informative.

Don’t Assume That The Landlord Knows If The Building Has Disabled Access Deficiencies Or Not.

When it comes a successful dental office design project, understanding the regulations governing disabled access is absolutely critical.

In a recent dental office design project, the dentists were looking forward to having a unique pediatric dental office in a Beverly Hills Medical/Dental building. It was a rather small space so they chose not to have a bathroom in their suite and since bathrooms were in the hall they assumed there would be no problem. Furthermore, they confirmed with the building manager that the building was “grandfathered in” and there would be no disabled access issues.

When the doctors hired me to design their office I checked the existing hall bathrooms and saw that they didn’t meet code. I advised the building manager who insisted they were grandfathered in and ignored my warnings even though I explained that being “grandfathered in” no longer applies!

When the plans were submitted to the city for approval they were rejected because of the bathrooms. Once again I explained that the hall bathrooms must be remodeled to meet current code and once again the building manager ignored me. They sent their building architect to deal with the city, but to no avail.

Months went by as the building tried to get their bathrooms approved but the city insisted the bathrooms must be modified to meet the current requirements. Eventually the building manager realized she had no choice but to update the bathrooms.

The doctors thought they would be able to open the doors of their new office within three months but the office could not open until the hall bathrooms were re-modeled which added several frustrating months of delay and lost revenue.

If you are planning to move or re-model your office, be sure to check back often at Unique Interior Designs . The information you gather from these “Don’t Assume” experiences can save you a great deal of frustration and money.

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