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Meeting building regulations hurdles and much more

Part 5 of the story of our move to 39 Newnham Road

Well into the rebuilding project, we meet numerous hurdles of building control and regulations … while we maintain our service provision to our patients.

Through April, May and June progress was intense, decision-making continuous and expensive. The building project team expanded mainly by continuing use of personal contacts and networks as electricians, plasterers, carpenters and decorators were required.  The minefield of engineering decisions from positioning of drains to ventilation requirements, installation and management of equipment, and compliance with building control, fire safety and site health and safety had us all spinning. I had idealistically imagined that I could bypass this and take more time to make many of these decisions but in reality the sense of urgency and deadlines was necessary for the job to be completed. As things gradually began to take more shape it became easier for other team members to see and engage with the project.

The major concern for the timetable became the CQC. This actually amounted to a level of fear which permeated through both the clinical and the construction team. CQC’s regulatory power over dental service provision is only one year old. There were few case histories to follow. The process was a rigid bureaucratic one into which our case did not seem to fit. We had not had a routine inspection of the existing premises but we had been registered from our own statement of compliance. We knew that we could not begin seeing any patients in the new premises until an inspection had taken place, together with proof of all the associated commissioning certification for building control, fire protection, and health and safety.

CQC wanted a date when everything would be ready and our understanding was that if we missed the deadline we would have to enter a new 8 week cycle. Unlike the building control inspectorate, there was no option for preliminary inspections at our instigation to give us an indication of how close to requirements we were. The particular problem that we faced was one of needing to dismantle much of our essential equipment from 53 Newnham Road to install it into 39 Newnham Road thus potentially rendering both locations non-compliant and unusable for the registration period. The cash flow depended on maintaining a full appointment book.

After a nervous hesitation at the beginning of May, we bravely submitted a date in the first week of July for the CQC inspection. Site hours increased as we raced towards a planned Building Control inspection two weeks beforehand. In order to achieve the full sign off from Building control, all the drainage, wiring, disabled access and provision, fire protection and security needed to be in place. Dental surgeries have complex requirements for plumbing, ventilation, air lines, suction, IT infrastructure and lighting. Juggling the tasks became a full time (seven days a week) occupation for David and Helen.  Meanwhile the clinical team needed to review all the service provision protocols and systems to ensure that nothing had been overlooked with regard to our routine operation that could unhinge the CQC inspection. During this time we also had to maintain our service provision to our patients.

[To be continued]


A stage in the rebuilding process

A stage in the rebuilding process

Plastering work in progress

Plastering work in progress

Photo of detist's chair - we're getting there!

But we're getting there!

Posted on 15 November 2012
< Blog >


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