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Medical office design feasibility study provided by Diversified Design TechnologiesFeasibility Study: Based on the fact that our client was intending occupancy of a newly-constructed, Class-A office building in a vital and active commercial district, he felt that a feasibility study wasn’t warranted; but reluctantly agreed to proceed. The structure is a two-story, 20,000 square foot (10,000 per floor), “L”-shaped building. At the time, the only occupant was located on the ground floor- directly below the suite that my client had selected [photo similar to client structure]. Admittedly, the angled front of the building was appealing- as was the view of the surrounding business community from the second floor suite. However, hidden in the beauty were two mitigating factors:

  1. The highly glazed suite had both a southern and western exposure-, which would have created a “heat-load” on those sections of the building; not to mention the oppressiveness of afternoon sunlight.
  2. The acute angles created by the perimeter walls created a challenge for strategic placement and ideal usage of the interior space. [See sketch]. Although we pride ourselves with the ability to maximize every square inch of space, there’s only so much you can to with a diminishing dimension.

As compelling as these factors were, they could be managed, and would not be “deal-breakers”. However, a much greater but less visible condition loomed.

Clearly, the majority of plumbing and electrical service in a dental suite is run under the floor of the office; which is, of course above the ceiling in the suite below. Since, it would be necessary for the tradespersons to gain access to the lower-level suite, we visited that business to determine if there were any challenges present. We discovered that the ceiling was entirely sheetrocked and was detailed with architectural appointments, like soffits and crown molding. Additionally, all of the lighting fixtures were recessed and/or surface-mounted track lighting. It would have been impossible to penetrate that ceiling and maintain occupancy of the suite.

Un-phased by the discovery, my client declared that we would simply elevate the floor in his suite, and run all of the utilities above the existing floor. Having done that for another practice in Boston, I expressed that the floor could be constructed as proposed. However, it would have been an extremely costly endeavor- approximately $40,000 costly. Those expenses included: framing, decking, ramping, railings, etc. Additionally, the encroachment of the ramp and other architectural barriers compliances would have consumed over 200 square feet of otherwise useable space. Those implications were exacerbated by the position of the suite by virtue of its adjacency to a stairwell and demising wall to the neighboring suite. In short the space was somewhat pie-shaped- the entry being the narrower portion. Since the space was large enough to necessitate two means for egress to comply with life-safety regulations, there were additional design challenges needed to accommodate the ramp. For example, by code, the egresses must be a defined distance apart from each other.

Based on that knowledge, we evaluated another suite on the same floor. Not only did that suite offer equivalent amenities (except for the angled walls), it featured a “land-locked” space that was created by a base-building condition. That space was approximately 40 square feet, and could not be defined as leaseable space. But, it certainly could be used for dental equipment and storage. The client had been slated to sign the lease for the angled space on the following day. The lease was signed, for the alternate suite. Our feasibility service was completed in one hour.

The lesson here is that there are dozens of mitigating factors that may not be apparent to the un-trained eye. We highly recommend that every opportunity, lease or purchase, be evaluated by a professional.