Refurbishing your dental practice is a great way to update your facilities, improve the patient experience and increase productivity. Alternatively, you might be looking to fit-out a new dental practice or convert a room to increase patient volumes.
However, to ensure a successful project, it's essential to hire specialist plumbers, electricians and fitters.
In this article, we'll cover the following topics:
Now let's dive into each of these topics in more detail to show you why hiring specialist contractors is crucial for your dental practice fit-out or refurbishment.
Or if you would like to discuss your project with our team then contact us for a chat about how we can ascertain how each and every build element will increase your business performance and operational efficiency.
Plumbing is a critical aspect of any dental practice fit-out, and the correct planning and design of pipework is essential for optimum performance.
Before commencing the pipework design, it is crucial to obtain all equipment details concerning water supply, including whether they are mains supplied or use stored water.
It is also important to determine if a backflow prevention arrangement or device is an integral part of the unit.
Backflow occurs when water is drawn back from an appliance into the supply pipework, which can affect the quality of the water supply and put staff and patients at risk.
Here are some of the specific responsibilities that specialist plumbers can handle:
Installing and maintaining plumbing systems:
Correct specifications and location for plant machinery, including air compressors and suction pumps, must be well-planned.
Specialist plumbers are experts in installing and maintaining plumbing systems, including water supply, drainage and suction.
They can ensure that all pipes and fittings are installed correctly and that they meet the industry standards and regulations.
Connecting dental chair services:
One of the most crucial plumbing services in a dental practice is the installation of dental chair services and floorboxes.
These services are complicated, and the wrong installation could result in issues such as a lack of suction.
Specialist plumbers can ensure that the water supply and suction lines have the correct size piping with ball valves in accessible locations, which can prevent potential issues.
The installation of chair floorboxes is of great importance, if you think about the amount of work that would need to be carried out if the pipes were not securely fastened or leak-free.
Medical air and vacuum systems:
By hiring specialist plumbers, you can ensure that all plumbing systems in your dental practice fit-out are installed and maintained correctly, which can prevent potential issues that could lead to downtime or costly repairs in the future.
The Health Technical Memorandum 2022 (Medical gas pipeline systems) from the Department of Health provides more information on the regulations that apply to hospital installations.
Now that we've covered the role of plumbers in dental practice fit-out, let's move on to the next topic, which is the role of electricians.
Electricians play a critical role in the success of your dental practice fit-out or refurbishment project.
They would need extensive experience with medical facilities as the dental chair and other equipment have dedicated circuits and transformers making them PELV (protective extra-low voltage).
Each compressor, vacuum pump and manifold should be supplied from a separate sub-circuit.
By ensuring proper separation of piped gases and electrical wiring in enclosed spaces, such as booms, gas control panels or dental pedestals, you can minimise the risk of direct contact and improve safety overall.
Another essential consideration is fire safety. As outlined in HTM 82's 'Firecode: alarm and detection systems', smoke alarms and heat detectors should be installed in plant rooms to alert staff in case of fire.
This not only helps ensure the safety of patients and staff but can also help prevent costly damage to your equipment and practice.
Here are some of the specific responsibilities that specialist electricians can handle:
Installing electrical systems:
Specialist electricians are experts in installing electrical systems, including power distribution, lighting and safety equipment.
They can ensure that all wiring and electrical components are installed correctly and that they meet industry standards and regulations.
Connecting dental chair services:
In addition to plumbing services, electricians are also responsible for connecting dental chair services to the main electrical system.
The dental chair floorbox, which is a crucial component of dental practice fit-out, needs specific electric cabling for the power supply, switches, earth bonding and data ducts for monitors.
Specialist electricians can ensure that all connections are made correctly and safely.
Ensuring compliance with codes and regulations:
Electrical work in a dental practice must comply with specific codes and regulations to ensure patient and staff safety.
Specialist electricians are trained to identify potential issues and ensure that all work is compliant with the latest regulations.
By hiring experienced electricians, you can ensure that all electrical systems in your dental practice fit-out are installed and maintained correctly, which can prevent potential issues that could lead to downtime or safety hazards in the future.
Now that we've covered the role of electricians in dental practice fit-out, let's move on to the next topic, which is the role of fitters.
If you want your dental practice fit-out or refurbishment project to be a success, using specialist equipment fitters is not only necessary, it is essential.
Unlike standard equipment installers, specialist fitters have the fundamental skills to handle the complex and sophisticated equipment required in a dental practice.
Additionally, they can advise you on the best equipment, technologies and calibrations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your practice.
Here are some of the specific responsibilities that specialist fitters can handle:
X-ray machine support and wiring:
X-ray machines are an essential component of any dental practice, and they need support for their fixings to withstand a pull force of 100kg each. The leverage and being pulled by hand can add weight to the wall fixing.
If the wrong fixings are used and are not fitted securely, they can fall off the wall, causing damage and harm to patients or staff.
Specialist fitters can ensure that the x-ray machines are installed correctly, with the right fixings and wiring, in compliance with legal requirements for the parts to be installed in the correct positions.
Flooring in a dental practice must satisfy CQC compliance, and this is particularly important for cove and cap flooring with welded joints.
Specialist fitters can ensure that the flooring is fitted correctly that meets CQC compliance requirements.
The right type of cabinetry with sinks and bins is challenging to find, and it won't be the same spec as dental cabinetry.
Ultimately, it is crucial to find cabinetry that is HTM-compliant and meets the ergonomics and aesthetics of the room.
Specialist fitters can help you find the right cabinetry and ensure that it is fitted correctly, with all the necessary plumbing connections.
In conclusion, it is imperative to use specialist contractors for your dental practice fit-out or refurbishment project. They bring unique skills and expertise to ensure that all the components of your dental practice are installed and maintained correctly.
By hiring specialists, you can prevent potential issues that could lead to downtime, safety hazards, or costly repairs in the future.
When planning a dental practice fit-out or refurbishment, there are some common mistakes that could have a negative impact on the project's outcome.
From the wrong pipework type to subpar equipment installations, each mistake can be like a ticking time bomb that will cause a headache for all involved.
So, it's not just important to avoid these common mistakes, it's vital to the success of the project.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Dental grade lighting:
It is difficult to purchase dental-grade lighting without a specialist supply chain.
When it comes to the different lighting sources in a dental surgery, the operating lamp and ceiling lighting can cause eye strain, fatigue, headaches and neck/back strain.
Specialist contractors have the correct knowledge and suppliers to make sure this issue is eliminated. You could take a look at our Top Tips for Dental Surgery Lighting for more information on this topic.
Sinks with no overflows and taps situated directly above the waste (this stirs up what is in the waste by the tap discharge) are other common mistakes.
Not only is it unhygienic, but it could also result in issues with the HTM compliance of the surgery.
Wiring for isolators and timers needs to be fitted correctly to ensure they comply with legal requirements.
Failure to do so could mean failing radiation protection inspections.
There are five common issues with suction pipework when a specialist is not contracted.
When contractors are hired that are not experienced in dental practice fit-outs, some other issues could arise, such as a quote being on the low side of a budget, but after the work has commenced, the price can rise drastically.
Some contractors can also disappear after a job, and another company would have to be employed to fix any snagging issues.
The time frame for project management can also be an issue if outside contractors are hired.
We strive to help dental practices achieve success by providing customised solutions that maximise operational efficiencies, improve patient experience and meet CQC guidelines.
We act as a business partner, not just a supplier and bring in trusted specialists who approach every detail with minimal business disruption and ongoing success in mind.
We also have a supply chain that allows us to provide dental-grade lighting, sinks, cabinetry, dental chairs, suction pumps, air compressors, X-rays and any other equipment you might need for your practice.
What does dental practice success look like for you? We’ll help you to achieve it.
“We had an 8-surgery build and fit-out project to be completed with tight time schedule and budget. Eclipse Dental was very professional throughout and their team of project managers, construction staff and engineers were able to complete the project very efficiently with great attention to detail.”
Queen Mary’s Hospital - Mr Mosoko Moffah
"The workmen were very professional, friendly and considerate to the workings of the business, which continued uninterrupted upstairs. They delivered a perfect job in 8 working days! The surgery looks amazing. I cannot recommend Eclipse highly enough. They have a fantastic 'can do' attitude."
The Lodge Dental Practice Ltd – Dr Tim Earl
"From start to finish their team were fantastic. Very professional and hard working. Eclipse are very flexible and listen to your needs. We are very impressed with the quality of workmanship they delivered. I would not hesitate to continue recommending Eclipse. If anyone is looking to see the quality of work we are happy to be contacted.”
Cyfarthfa Dental - Paul Jones
“I contacted Eclipse regarding a refit of my decontamination room, Chester came to do a survey and was very efficient and accommodating of my requirements. The work was arranged for a few weeks later at a time convenient for my business and was conducted by a very friendly and helpful group of tradesmen. I am very pleased with the result, it is of a high quality and surpassed my expectations.”
Hillcross Dental Practice, Morden - Dr B. Cullen