The process of building and/or renovating an office space has always been complicated. We have found that most practitioners have very little understanding of it – until they go through it and are basically forced to learn from their mistakes.
As a result of this lack of knowledge – not knowing what they don’t know – they are less effective than they could be, are under more stress than necessary, waste time and money, and often end up with a less than wonderful space.
There must be a better way! – And there is!
Be an Educated Consumer
As we teach in our classes, it doesn’t serve you to be an expert, but it does serve you to be an educated consumer.
When your project begins, a plan needs to be created to see it to the end. There are key items that need to be completed at critical dates along the way before other tasks can be started. We call this the critical path. To manage this critical path and the multitude of tasks and critical dates in design and construction, we use a GANTT chart to identify the timeline needed to successfully complete a project. Each GANTT chart has a goal end date along with all the key tasks, their start and stop date, goal duration and their connection to each other.
To make it more manageable, we have developed a 5 phase system for the doctor to break down the process into parts. Each phase has defined goals and tasks to be completed before moving to the next phase. This framework ensures a manageable and cost effective timeline approach to this major event.
Above is a simplified GANTT Chart to illustrate our 5 PHASE SYSTEM.
Ready to get started? Download our 5 Phase Timeline Checklist for Free.
The typical time period for your initial dream to become a reality is about 18 months.
This first 6 months should be spent on what we call the Vision Phase. This is where you fully develop and gain clarity of your vision. You should also make general practice decisions such as the services you will provide or change as well as the goal number of patients you would like to treat each week. You will also set a target date to open and determine the milestones you need to achieve in order to meet this opening date.
This is a good time to start looking at financing your practice and your credit worthiness.
You should allow about six months for the vision phase, finishing at 12 months prior to your goal opening day.
In this second step, you will define the parameters and goals of your new facility. Your business plan is established or revised at this time. Detailed financial planning is done, including plans for up-front and ongoing expenses. You will review ideas for marketing campaigns and if your practice is new (or you are making a major change) you will define your company name, logo, and graphics.
Determining your desired city, if needed, and what other businesses you may want to be located near is another crucial part of this phase.
From a facility side, you should know how much space you need and why, and a conceptual vision for the aesthetic image of your space. You should also start educating yourself on leasing office space and how Tenant Improvement Allowance can affect your building costs.
This phase is typically takes 3 months, starting at least 12 months prior to opening your office.
Check out this blog to determine How Much Space You Need!
Search and Find Phase
In this step you will be “looking for space and looking for money.” Search and Find involves securing your financing and finding the best space available for your practice. Typically, you will hire a real estate buyer’s agent to help you find and visit desirable spaces in your target area (which you determined in phase 2) . When you find a space or spaces, you will need to determine how you will fit and use the space. One key question: How much will any modifications or construction cost? This phase ends once lease or purchase negotiations are complete.
These tasks take about 3 months, beginning at 9 months prior to your opening date.
The fourth step is where you create the design and documentation for your new facility and begin to prepare for your opening. Personnel interviews will be done during this time. You will also interview and select all vendors. Your marketing campaign will usually begin at this time, including press releases for your soft opening day and your grand opening in the near future.
This is also when all your design and permit work will be completed. You’ll need to make detailed decisions on layout, finishes, colors, furniture, lighting and more.
For more information on permits, visit our blog “Understanding Codes and Permits.”
This phase typically takes 2 months and should be completed 4 months prior to your opening date.
The fifth and final stage of building a new holistic office is the construction itself, as well as all the tasks needed to complete your facility for opening. This includes training your personnel and arranging for delivery of your office and specialized equipment. It includes finishing construction to receive your Certificate of Occupancy, and then installing the furnishings and equipment and making sure all systems are working in preparation for your opening.
This phase can last between 2 to 16 weeks dependent upon the level of detail and work to complete the construction. For example, a raw, undeveloped space will require the most time. At minimum, you should plan a week for furnishing and equipment installation prior to your soft opening date in which you start to see patients. Additionally, we always suggest about 4 additional weeks after your soft opening to work out the processes before your grand opening event.
Though they may sound simple, each of these phases come with their own challenges. At CrossFields, we can help you through every step. From determining the ideal square footage for your office to function its best, to communication with your general contractor, we have helped other holistic professionals just like you not only achieve there vision but also save valuable time and money! Contact us today to talk to someone about how we can Bring Your Vision to Life!