Key to successfully planning, building, and decorating your veterinary hospital are the smart choices made along the way — the “money well spent” investments that pay dividends each day for years to come. We’ve asked some of our veterinary Hospital Design experts, judges, and conference faculty to share their recommendations with you here.
Dan Chapel, AIA, NCARB
President, Chapel Associates Architects Inc., Little Rock, Arkansas
Before you decide to spend any money — assess your situation.
Do you really need to purchase that new piece of equipment or undertake a renovation or construction project?
Assuming the answer is “yes,” don’t build more ward space than you really need. Allocating too large of an area to hospital ward space is a common misallocation of valuable hospital square footage. Perform a careful analysis of pet hospitalization and dedicate space saved to other, often-overlooked areas of the hospital, such as ample and organized storage.
Gary Glassman, CPA
Partner, Burzenski & Company PC
East Haven, Connecticut
For larger projects ($1 million or more) always consider a cost
segregation study to accelerate depreciation deductions. With government assistance, these studies can generate significant tax savings and help pay for your building project. The benefits more than pay for the cost of the study and generate a significant return on investment.
For projects of all sizes, work with a financial professional to ensure the cost of your project bears a relationship to your revenue stream. Typically, your occupancy costs should be no more than 10% of gross revenue on move-in date and decrease to 6 to 8% of gross revenue over time. A good rule of thumb for project costs is that the cost of the project should not exceed one year’s gross income. When in excess, it is likely you are overbuilding.
Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB
Partner, Animal Arts, Boulder, Colorado
Engage the services of a cost-estimating professional.
This is a great investment, especially with today’s market variability. Bringing a contractor or other estimating individual on board early on can help you to keep or get a project on track and save both money and the heartbreak of having to make significant changes late into a project.
Wayne Usiak, AIA, NCARB
CEO and Founder, BDA Architecture Albuquerque, New Mexico
Invest in a team with experience. It is vital that you verify the people you select for experience with veterinary facilities. Every project has three major components:
Planning — Practice management and accounting experience, things that relate to your budget, revenue, and financing.
Design — Architects and engineers. Your biggest exposure is under- and over-design. If you under-design you can’t usually make it bigger later,
so it won’t function correctly. If you over-design, chances are you will spend too
much money in one area and not have adequate budget to allocate to other important areas of your project.
Construction and contractor team — You will literally cast
your errors in concrete here.
Choose professionals who have done this before.
Jim Kramer, DVM, CVPM
Owner, Columbus Small Animal Hospital P.C., Columbus, Nebraska
Almost nothing says “We care about you!” to a client like a dash of the newest, most popular magazines. And it costs almost nothing to provide.
For a few hundred dollars a year we get a constantly self-renewing splash of design genius. Beautiful colors, and exquisite photography
with perfect-looking people and animals. Breathtaking views of nature, architecture, and food. News of juicy celebrities caught doing enticing things.