Whether you are building a new veterinary office or redesigning an older one, you need to take time to really come up with a plan before you do anything. This isn’t something that you should rush into at all, or you may find yourself redesigning your veterinary office again in just a few years.
Here are some things that you need to consider when building (or redesigning) a veterinary office.
Special HVAC system designed for veterinary offices. You are going to be dealing with a lot of hair, as well as some smells that you can’t get away from when you are working with animals. You definitely need to talk to a professional HVAC specialist in order to install the best system for your office.
Sound barriers for interior walls. One thing you also need to think about is sound barriers. Cats are going to get upset by barking dogs. Some dogs will get overwhelmed by the noises that they hear coming from the next room (or even the waiting room). Also, people who are grieving after hearing bad news will want their privacy.
Calm and warm environment. Your goal should be to offer a calm and warm environment for everyone who walks through your doors, both two and four-legged. This can be done by providing a clean environment, as well as giving them a smooth experience. You aren’t going to want them to spend a lot of time in the waiting room that is overfull before putting them into an examination room. Smaller waiting rooms may separate dogs that can’t be around other dogs, though you may also want a designated dog waiting room, as well as one just for cats.
Safety should be a priority for everyone involved. You are going to want your staff to be safe, so parking should be a priority. You don’t want your clients (or staff) to have to cross the road in order to get to the parking lot. It should also be well-lit for evening hours.
You may need to make a separate dog and cat waiting room, in order to keep pets safe. You may even need smaller waiting rooms, so that your fearful dog is able to be alone until you are ready for him or her.
Some places recommend having exterior doors, allowing your clients to bypass the waiting room altogether. You will be able to take certain animals right into the examination room in order to avoid the chaos of the waiting room.
You will likely need to plan ahead for more office space. This will allow your receptionists, technicians, and doctors the space that they need to talk privately to those who need it. You may want to set up an area for telehealth so that your staff can easily have video chats with your clients and their pets.
Many pet parents would prefer to be with their pets at all time. If this isn’t possible, you may want to have windows in your treatment areas (and even surgery in some situations) to allow your pet parents to see their pets when they are unable to be with them.
Designated Specialty Spaces
Though you may be thinking about waiting, exam, and treatment rooms, there are certain spaces that you should think about when you are planning your office.
Designated Retail Space. If you plan on selling specialty pet food you will want to have an area in the front of the office to display products you offer.
You need a well stocked and organized pharmacy. Having enough space to keep the medications you regularly prescribe such as flea and tick preventatives or heartworm medications can be a great way to create an additional revenue stream.
You may want to offer an outdoor play area so that puppies and dogs can feel comfortable when they come to the vet. Whether you board animals or not, it may be a good idea to have an area where they are allowed to run free and blow off some steam. By creating a designated space it keeps animals from being walked in you parking lot or next to a busy street.
Some veterinarians offer to board for their patients. If you decide to do this, you will need to address a whole collection of other factors to keep your clients comfortable, both inside your office and out.
So, what can you do?
Contact HIll Commercial Construction when you start designing your veterinary office. We can help you think through all the obvious and hidden problems that pop up when building a veterinary clinic.