We talk with Álex Guallar and Judit Pérez, in charge of the Grup Idea architecture and engineering teams, about comprehensive management of dental clinic projects

Since 2008, Grup Idea has developed more than 200 projects for the reform of healthcare centers for brands such as Adeslas Dental or Dentix and also unique projects such as the Hepler Bone clinic in Barcelona. We spoke with Álex Guallar, architect and project director, and Judit Pérez, engineer and director of facilities works, about their joint work over the last 15 years, the challenges in terms of architecture and engineering and the new trends in orthodontic and dental aesthetics stores.


Complete project management of Healthcare projects

 

  • You have been working hand in hand for more than 10 years in the architecture and engineering of dental clinic projects. What is teamwork like and what aspects does the client value most about your work?

J.P and A.G: That’s right. For 15 years, practically since we started, the architecture and engineering departments have been working on the entire reform process of social health centers, also dental clinics with orthodontic and cosmetic dental services. Álex is the director of the healthcare projects team and I, Judit, am the director of the facilities works for the engineering part. Teamwork is essential and very good.

We work on projects with our clients, specifically with those responsible for the department of works, interior design, project management, procedures and finances, and also with the brand’s marketing department. The client looks for fast solutions and with the minimum cost and we act in an agile and professional way. We work with maximum transparency, both in the design and in the management of the projects.

 

  • What does the comprehensive management of projects carried out by Grup Idea in the social and health field consist of?

A.G and J.P: When we talk about comprehensive management, we mean accompanying the client throughout the process, from the search for the premises to the opening of the center to the public. We carry out all the phases: from feasibility studies, space design, architectural project development and facilities, project management, architectural and installation work management and the pertinent legalizations, opening and / or sanitary licenses.

 

“The client looks for quick solutions and with the minimum cost and we act in an agile and professional way”

 

  • What are the differences between project management in a dental clinic compared to a retail space?

A.G and J.P: The regulations to implement a commercial premises or a socio-sanitary space are very different. Dental offices tend to require more complex procedures than other equivalent commercial premises. We are talking about a health activity and, as such, the dental clinic cannot benefit from the simplified licensing procedure for responsible declaration. In addition, you need to process a health authorization for each establishment. From the point of view of engineering work and in terms of the design or implementation of spaces, it is necessary to analyze, for example, the availability of drainage networks in the building, the available free heights or the removal of architectural barriers at the entrances.

In this sense, the previous feasibility report is very important to decide the definitive location of the future premises. This phase includes a first Layout in which the different spaces and uses are embedded: the reception, waiting rooms, toilets, but also the boxes, the orthopanto, and other more technical pieces. This first action will allow us to see if the premises are technically suitable and that the client can assess the commercial viability. With the distribution plan and the retail customer journey of each brand, we distribute the different spaces and work with the flows of patients and medical personnel.

“The prior feasibility report is important to see if the premises are technically suitable and so that the client can assess its commercial viability”

 

Dental clinics: expansion projects

 

  • Since 2008, with Grup Idea you have carried out more than 200 projects for the reform of premises in the healthcare sector in national expansion projects for clients such as Adeslas Dental, Dentix, SegurCaixa or General Óptica. How does the design management process work and what does it mean to carry out so many projects in such a short time?

J.P and A.G: At the organizational level, as we have explained, there is a first application of design and then an application of standards at the level of engineering infrastructure and distribution of spaces in each of the premises. I gladly remember two expansions, from 2011 to 2014 with Adeslas Dental, in which we carried out more than 50 dental clinics and from 2014 to 2018 an expansion at a national and international level with Dentix, with the execution of more than 130 orthodontic stores.

For Dentix, in one year we have managed to carry out more than 40 new openings throughout Spain. To achieve so many successful openings in such a short time, it requires a large, well-coordinated and motivated team, supported by a practical and proactive client. We always contribute our predisposition to the client by acting in an energetic way and we give support to the construction management, so that the whole process is more agile.

 

“To achieve so many successful openings in such a short time, it requires a large, well-coordinated and motivated team, supported by a practical and proactive client”.

 

  • At the same time, you have also worked with private clinics that combine dentistry and facial aesthetics, such as the Hepler Bone Clinic in Barcelona. Grup Idea developed the project in all its phases, from the conceptual definition of the space. What was the biggest challenge in this unique project?

J.P and A.G: The biggest challenge with the Hepler Bone project was to successfully convert an administrative building into a sanitary building with all the legal requirements. The clinic also had an operating room for minor outpatient surgery. In this project, the design, architecture and engineering departments of Grup Idea work together to achieve the result desired by the client.

The search for safety and new trends in dental aesthetics

 

  • During this health crisis, and especially while countries are relaxing restrictions and reopening businesses, it is essential to implement actions that minimize health risks for clients and workers. What of the actions that have been carried out do you think will be maintained?

J.P and A.G: Mainly all those related to hygiene as well as the continuous renewal of the air in the spaces. After this pandemic, all clients are aware of the importance of reinforcing the cleaning and disinfection of the areas; as well as having a correct ventilation system in the premises that guarantees adequate air renewal in the rooms. These are actions that we already foresee and in which we must insist in this time of pandemic.

 

  • On the other hand, in sectors such as retail or corporate offices, more and more versatile, modular and specific spaces are being generated. Is there also this versatility in dental clinics?

J.P and A.G: Totally. In dental clinics, there is a space for customer interaction with the specialist in which medical instruments such as boxes are used, but the rest of the rooms are beginning to function as retail and office spaces, where the search for comfort is reinforced of the patient or the connectivity to be able to telework in the waiting rooms.

Each brand has its needs. With Dentix, for example, the interaction area has large windows and sofas where you can wait. In the Adeslas centers, on the other hand, there was not one, but different waiting rooms according to the specialty to which the patient is directed.

 

“Dental clinics are beginning to operate as retail and office spaces, where the patient’s comfort os reinforced”

  • Where do you think the design and architecture of dental clinics is heading

J.P and A.G: Society is increasingly seeking to improve dental aesthetics, which is leading to a growth in dental or cosmetic dental clinics. Currently there is a trend towards specialized clinics in a type of treatment such as invisible aligners.

These new dental offices offer services that base their experience on speed and personalized follow-up of the client / patient through digital platforms, thus avoiding “going to the dentist in person”. Of course, it will be interesting to closely follow this new model of dental clinics and dental aesthetics and reconsider the role of space design with the new business models. The design of spaces plays a key role in reinforcing brand values, generating closeness and transmitting professionalism and security in the service now that remote monitoring of dental treatments has come into our lives.

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