Medical Office Build Out vs Renovation: What’s the Difference?

“Knowledge is power.” – Francis Bacon

We truly believe that a knowledgeable client is an empowered one. Knowing the right terminologies and understanding them is a way to build trust and transparency between us and our clients. Two particular words that will come in handy when doing the project are the words: Buildout and Renovation. They are not interchangeable, and each has its own strengths and opportunities that can become viable options when you do decide to construct.

Build Out

Build out is a project that involves physically building out the space planning of your practice. You construct walls, and run the utilities, in different degrees of completion depending on the handover, a build-out can vary greatly in scale per location. It comes in two types, a gray shell, and a warm shell. A gray shell has no finishing materials and will require extensive buildout. A warm shell will have some finishes and possibly a ceiling and will need slightly less work. The difference can also mean more freedom for you to personalize your space with a gray shell versus having a faster move-in with a warm shell.



To put it more bluntly, a renovation can also be called a facelift. Basically, this applies when you have an existing space where you want to update the look, change the finishes/materials, put in more partitions, basically very superficial interventions that require less work and the results even less dramatic. Renovating although less costly and works boxes you in an existing architectural framework that may not be working for your practice at all.

Why does it matter?

Aside from general knowledge, knowing these terms can seriously give you credibility when navigating through the building process. It comes especially handy with talking with potential landlords when negotiating a Tenant Improvement (TI) allowance, so you know exactly the scale of the improvement you wish to do and demand an appropriate amount from your landlord for what you deserve.

Evaluate which ones for you!

Build Out and Renovation have their own pros and cons and you need to weigh them all against your business plans, your budget, and your timeframe. Ultimately this is a business decision that can set you up for future growth or be a source of frustration very easily. Evaluating by time might initially favor renovation but please be mindful that even slight demolitions will take time and incur some cost and disruption. Examine it side by side with a complete buildout from scratch and the time that you supposedly save making smaller adjustments is even worth it. Cost is an open-ended discussion that hinges a lot on the design intent and the approved budget. For costing purposes, we suggest a budget of 100-150 Dollars per square foot as a guide.

Design for Growth

When you do decide to start on this journey you need to plan with a positive outlook for your future. Allowing opportunities to grow means making sure that you are building not just for the immediate future. It would be such a waste to embark on a poorly conceived project that will eventually be over capacity in the span of months. That is just poor planning and quite an expensive mistake.

We at SIMOUR Design take multiple studies like square footage and allocation calculations and cost opinion processes to make sure that the entire project is well thought out. Involving medical real estate agents at the very onset of the planning stages also inserts some real estate insights that can affect your decisions on whether to stay and renovate or relocate and build out. Having multiple voices of experts around you gives you a clearer view of how the vision can be made better to work for you and your business goals.

What is right for YOU?

Any building project is an opportunity to be better. Being clear on what you want to achieve will guide you in selecting what is the right path to take. Because building your medical office is a significant investment, it needs to be mapped out based on what you need and what you will eventually need in the future to remain relevant and worthwhile. Defining the vision and carrying it through is to work with intentionality is the key to a successful and profitable practice. Whether you build out or renovate, sign up for a complimentary design consultation here. Have a great journey ahead!

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