Clinic By Design

What to Look for When Choosing Your Builder

Going out on your own can be a daunting task so it is extremely important you make sure you are working with the right people.


When it comes to construction fit out companies you need someone you can trust, someone who will point you in the right direction and someone who is familiar with the issues that can arise during any medical construction.


The most important thing to remember when you are selecting the construction fit out company you would like to appoint is that commercial construction and medical construction are two very different things. Just because someone is a builder and has years of experience within the construction industry it doesn’t mean that they can construct a medical facility to standard.


When it comes to medical construction and design there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to obtain your Certificate of Occupancy.

Below are just a couple of requirements a residential or commercial builder may not be aware of, which results in additional and unexpected costs and delays for your business.

DDA Compliance

DDA Compliance (Disability Discrimination Act) is a big factor in any commercial setting and ensures equal access and opportunity within your clinic for anyone with a disability.


Not only does this go for patients but also your staff members. Access for the disabled should not stop anyone from doing a job they are completely capable of and therefore with the required addition of ramps, disabled amenities and lift access where required you are ensuring access for everyone.


Parking requirements for medical facilities differ from commercial properties, something a medical construction fit out company will be well aware of and therefore be able to assist you when looking for a new property.


In a nut shell, as per the current Victorian Planning Provisions; you need to provide:


  • 5 parking spaces for the first person providing health services, plus
  • 3 parking spaces for every other person providing health services

Under the Building Code of Australia 9BCA), some of the required number of car parking spaces must be allocated as disabled car parking, which much be in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2890.6-2009 (Disabled) and the BCA.

Because councils will vary with their requirements and whether they require any additional  items to be ticked off, depending on where you are located, having an experienced medical construction fit out company on your side will really navigate this sometimes tricky process.


Body Protection

Two questions we are regularly asked by clients when quoting are ‘What is body protection?’ and “Do we have to include it?’.


So what is a body protected area? Basically it means every power point in your clinic is protected by a safety switch which is imperative in any area in which patients are being treated with equipment that is plugged in.


Body protection safety switches are a lot more sensitive to earth leakage currants than those on a residential or commercial power point therefore protecting you, your staff and your patients from any chance of an electrical shock while treatment is taking place.


Not only are new tenancies effected with the requirement of body protection. If you have an older tenancy that needs any electrical upgrades done the entire tenancy will have to be upgraded to include body protection.


So to answer the question ‘Do we have to include it?’ the answer is yes. Body protection is a requirement under the Standard AS/NZS 3003.2011 and therefore compulsory for any new medical or dental construction or refurbishment.


Keep in mind that ‘new’ electrical works can be something as small as the addition of one new powerpoint which will trigger the entire tenancy to be upgraded therefore it is important you are working with a medical construction fit out company that knows the requirements and will have these costs covered in their quote.


As you can see, something as small as adding a powerpoint to your already functioning medical centre can trigger unexpected costs as well as taking the risk of running your clinic not to standard.


By appointing an experienced medical construction fit out company you can rest assured all requirements will be taken into consideration from the very beginning therefore reducing the risk of any unexpected costs during your construction or fit out.