Getting Started

The design of your dental office is an opportunity to present your personal brand to the community.  It is an extension of who you are  and a way to differentiate your practice from the competition.  Your patients will often meet your office before they meet you. A well designed office can suggest the quality of care and service that your patients can expect from you and your practice.  Understanding the design process before you start down the path allows you to maximize the opportunity and truly enjoy the experience.

Identifying Your Project Team

Your financial lender’s role in your new office may seem obvious, but they can play a valuable role beyond approving your loan. Specifically, because of the importance of working within your overall project budget, they can share their experience working with various vendors and service providers and connect you with the right professionals.

Locating and negotiating the lease or sale of a property is difficult if you haven’t been through the process before. The landlords and developers you will be communicating with are savvy. Remember, they negotiate similar deals every day.  This puts you at a distinct disadvantage.  Working with a good tenant representative (commercial real estate broker) can save time, money and your sanity.  Of course, it should also be stated that all contracts should be reviewed by an attorney experienced in real estate law.

Your architect will wear many hats throughout the design and construction of your new office. In addition to designing the functional, spatial, and aesthetic character of your office, your architect will serve as your advocate throughout the process.

Be sure to meet with several dental equipment vendors. While the equipment they sell may be the same or similar, prices and quality of service after the sale can vary greatly. Speak with your colleagues and see what their experiences have been.  It is also important to remember that any rudimentary equipment drawings your vendor provides is done so as a courtesy and is not a replacement for the detailed design and engineering information your architect will be providing.

Today’s dental office is so reliant on technology that your IT professional needs to be involved during the earliest stages of the office design. In our experience, integrating the technology into the design through proper planning yields the best results. Your local dental association can often assist you in locating these professionals.

When it comes to selecting a general contractor, look to your architect for guidance. Chances are, he/she can help you identify qualified professionals in your area.  Keep in mind that commercial construction differs considerably from residential construction.  The general contractor who did a great job on your neighbor’s basement renovation is not necessarily the right contractor to build your dental or dental specialty office.

Selecting Your Architect

As you begin speaking with different architects, you may find that the services they offer vary. The following list reflects what JoeArchitect considers a full compliment of services. Use it as a template to compare “apples to apples”:


  • Review Doctor’s Programmatic Needs
  • Preliminary Evaluation of the Proposed Building or Site
  • Preliminary Evaluation of Existing Mechanical & Electrical Service

Architectural Design

  • Building Code Review Schematic Design: Development of 2-Dimensional Floor Plan
  • Design Development: Defining 3-Dimensional Character of Facility
  • Interior Design: Selection of all Interior Finishes & Fixtures
  • Final Construction Drawings for Pricing & Permitting
  • Guidance with the Selection of Furniture & Art


  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Plumbing Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering (Ground-up Buildings Only)
  • Civil Engineering (Ground-up Buildings Only)
  • Landscape Design (Ground-up Buildings Only)


  • Coordination w/ Dental Equipment Vendor
  • Coordination w/ Information Technology Vendor


  • On-Site Meetings w/ Client, General Contractor & Architect
  • Review of Product/Fabrication Submittals
  • Construction Budget Tracking
  • Review and Certification of General Contractor’s Application for Payment
  • Project Completion Punch-List Walk

"When you walk into my office what you see is an expression of myself, and that is exactly what I wanted my patients to see. I would recommend JoeArchitect and their team to anyone who is considering using an architect. Remember you get what you pay for and they are worth every cent."

– Shawn M. Murray, DDS Murray Orthodontics