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Building works begin

Part 3 of the story of our move to 39 Newnham Road

While keeping an eye on finances and careful planning to ensure a smooth transition from the old site to the new site, actual buiding work begins …

In financing the project we needed to take into account a fairly uncertain economic environment. The practice was busy at the existing site, with more work than we could really cope with in the space. The structure of the team was changed to increase the full time involvement necessary to keep it working cohesively. Neil Bukavs our full time hygienist and dental therapist was joined by Ismael Romero Clark , a recently qualified dentist from Spain. The two existing surgeries were fully used and during the project we often used overlapping clinical time to work together as a close knit team, discussing and sharing in the treatment provision for our patients.

We did not advertise at that stage because we did not want to generate work that we could not deliver. The aim was to place ourselves in a position where we could make full use of the expanded facilities just as soon as they became available. We applied to the bank for a loan to cover the anticipated building conversion costs for the first phase and planned to cover the labour and wages costs from the existing practice cash flow. Our projections indicated that our cash flow performance would improve once the first new surgery and x-ray, imaging facilities were up and running and we hoped to minimise the need for further outside funding from that point onwards.
 
November 2011 saw the commencement of the building work. Inevitably, the first stages involved more destruction than construction: removal of some internal walls and partitions, and then building of walls to define the new working spaces. The criteria that we needed to take account of included sound transmission, x-ray protection, light, drainage and accessibility, in particular with regard to provisions for disabled access to the building. Progress was slow because of the multitude of decisions required and the permanency of the alterations. The new internal walls needed significant construction to achieve the workspaces needed. We understood at this early stage that the quality of the build would ultimately have a very major influence of the whole feel of the building as well as the atmosphere and impression both on our patients and the staff.

Prior to closing for Christmas 2011 we held a party at 39 Newnham Road. Our new sign went up on the wall announcing our presence to everyone passing by. We placed QR codes in the windows linking to a mobile version of our website. An enthusiastic group of our patients came to the party on a very wet, dark afternoon to drink mulled wine out of mouthwash cups and to explore the building.  Although still a building site, the new ground floor walls were in place and it was possible to begin to imagine how it would all start to work. We probed our patients for ideas about what they would like, conversations which sparked a lot of new ideas. We laid out templates for the dental chairs, moved some stools and used our imagination.

During the Christmas holidays work continued on the rendering and plastering of the ground floor walls. I was keen to have some hands on involvement in order to understand the building and the project better at this stage. I volunteered for a few days of labouring, mixing cement and shifting materials. This was a very valuable, if physically exhausting involvement.  Once surgery sessions started again in the new year it made no sense for me to swap valuable clinical time for working on the building. I was particularly pleased however that Neil, our hygienist and therapist decided to spend his day off every week working with David. As a result Neil has developed a detailed knowledge of the building and learned valuable new skills.

[To be continued ...]

Building works

The first stages involved more destruction than construction ...

More building works

And major changes ...

Staircase after building works

Till eventual results ... we'll share with you how we got here

 


 

 


Posted on 31 October 2012
< Blog >

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