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Certifications and regulations

Part 4 of the story of our move to 39 Newnham Road

Continuing the story of our move to our new premises: we enter the process for Care Quality Commission registration to find it more involved than we thought it would be. We also skillfully manage our approach to the bank for more funding.

In our original plan we expected to open a reception facility, hygiene surgery, x-ray and imaging room and laboratory on the ground floor of 39 Newnham Road as a satellite to our existing building in February. Care Quality Commission (CCQ) registration was necessary for this and we entered the 8 week process of obtaining the certification in January.  We were confident that we had all the systems and protocols in place. But we had not accounted for the multitude and cross referencing of other certifications and regulations. This was not helped by the difficulties that we had communicating our plans to the CQC who were confused because our project fell somewhere between setting up a new location and simply extending the existing building.

CQC in due course informed us that they needed a full Building Control sign-off for the whole site at 39 Newnham Road before they could consider registering even a small part of the building.  This was a major issue. We realised that the CQC requirement meant that we had to complete the whole building project to include all future drainage and usage requirements before any revenue could be earned from the building. The full fire alarm, intruder alarm and ventilation systems throughout the building would have to be specified and this took the project to a completely different scale. Our CQC application was temporarily withdrawn, I realised that we needed more expert help and fortunately Ted Walters, a design architect stepped into this role.

I had consulted Ted for some help designing the patient washrooms. I felt that this was a very key area for the building and the business. It is difficult for dental patients to truly assess the quality of dental services until treatment has been carried out. The main tool that any patient has to assess us is in the quality of the facilities that we offer at the practice and everyone has an opinion and can judge a bathroom or washroom. I wanted to create washrooms that would provide a clean, but comfortable space that patients could retreat to. The decor and facilities needed to reassure but also create some wow factor. Also, we needed to make good provision for disabled, elderly and young or small clientele. When Ted arrived on site to discuss this brief he quickly saw and understood where the project needed some additional input. In essence we needed some professional construction design management to steer us through a whole further series of compliance regulations applicable to our project.

In March 2012 Ted Walters pressed the accelerator pedal on the project. We approached the bank with a revised project plan and an application for more funds. The bank had already pidgeonholed the loan as a “construction project” which required us to demonstrate our separate contribution to the project and then only allowed access to the funds as a drawdown against invoices.  No provision for cash flow support due to the delays on the original project plan and the burden of restricted business while financing the running of two buildings would be considered by the bank. Furthermore, the bank underwriters pushed to aquire the deeds of 53 Newnham Road as security despite the total borrowings amounting to under 50% of our annual gross turnover. We successfully resisted this with careful management.

[To be continued next week]

Photo of construction work in progress

In the middle of building works ...

Photo of building works

... it doesn't look glamorous

Photo of progress happening

But the changes are unfolding steadily!

Posted on 9 November 2012
< Blog >


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