Remodeling a veterinary facility is the ultimate green strategy, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dan Chapel, AIA, owner of Chapel Associates Architects in Little Rock, Ark. It’s not the perfect fit for every practice owner, but if you can make it work, it’s a great example of sustainability—and a good way to save money.
The first question to ask yourself, Chapel says: Can you make the existing floor plan integrate with an addition in a meaningful, functional way. If the answer is yes, a renovation may be for you. Here are some more issues you’ll need to address before you take the plunge:
> How are your building’s systems? In other word, how’s the heating and cooling system, the plumbing, and the electrical wiring? This often eats up two-thirds of a builder’s budget. If these things are substandard, you’re probably better off building new.
> Are you prepared for the inconvenience? At some point, the building crew might need to disconnect your facility’s electricity or water. You’ll have to deal with the noise and the mess that goes into a renovation. Do you have a plan for working around this?
> How will the renovation affect clients? Though the construction may be an annoyance to some clients, Chapel says it’s a great opportunity for marketing your practice. You could pass out hardhats with your practice’s logo to children. Or, if construction dust reaches the parking lot, offer clients a car wash token to clean it off. People appreciate that thought,” Chapel says. “You turn what could be a horrible situation into a great marketing event.”
These days, more and more veterinary practice owners are choosing remodeling over building new. In addition to being more environmentally friendly, it can be a more frugal way to spruce up your facility. If you have answers for the questions above, you might be ready to renovate.