Effective Optical Space Planning | Part 1- Laying the Groundwork

Eyewear display, optical space design, optical space remodel, design and build, eyewear displays

Part 1 | Laying the Groundwork and Setting Pre-Design Expectations 

Almost every conversation we have with new design clients start with “Where do I begin?”. We totally get it… the design process can be a bit overwhelming for someone who has never done it before. That’s why we are here to help!

In this three-part blog series, we will discuss the main questions and concerns clients have when starting the design process.

Now let’s get started by laying the groundwork and setting realistic pre-design expectations, timelines, and budgets!

Picking your Dream Team

Choosing the right “team” to work with is one of the most important decisions you will face throughout the design and build process. You want to make sure you pick a team that sees your vision and helps you accomplish your goals, while still being able to have the “tough” conversations when your ideas might not be the best course of action.

Your dream team should consist of a banking institution for financing, a design and manufacturing team, and a general contractor. For more advice on picking the right team visit our Wanting to Create a New Space? blog post.

Solidifying Financing and Creating a Budget

Your banking institution will solidify your financing and help you come up with a realistic budget for your build out. Not having a proper budget is the single biggest mistake that anyone can make when starting the design process. The second biggest mistake is thinking you can do it cheaper than people that do it professionally all the time. After 40+ years of manufacturing and construction experience, we have seen there are too many variables to define for someone to effectively work to an unrealistically low budget. Banks that do practice loans are a great source of “logical” information for construction and fixture budgets. They see the original budgets that loans were granted for and then have the data for the actual payments made. (more in our Answers to your FAQs blog post).

Unfortunately, we don’t have a one size fits all budget calculator but there are some industry averages you can work off to give yourself an idea of ranges.

Overall you are looking at $140-$180/sq foot, but keep in mind you will want to allow for some extra wiggle room in budget. There are always costs that you don’t expect (i.e. permit submittal fees, printing fees, etc.). Again, these are just averages so do not base your entire budget off this. You will want to get estimates from each of the trades to get a better idea of budget.

Creating an Initial Timeline for your Project

Make sure your give yourself PLENTY of time to complete your project. Rushed projects are usually never done as cost effectively or as thoroughly as they could be. Throughout the project your timelines may change, but it is imperative that you have an initial timeline to work from.

Here is an example of an estimated timeline we give our clients. Just as with the budget discussion, these are just estimations and your specific project timeline may vary.

  • Initial Design: 3 – 6 weeks (dependent on your speed of approvals)
  • Permit drafting: 1 – 2 weeks
  • Permit approvals (depends on the city): 4 – 6 weeks
  • Production & Construction (typically done simultaneously)
    • Production of fixtures and casework: 6 – 8 weeks
    • Construction (depends on the complexity of the build out): 8 – 10 weeks
  • Shipping/Pick Up: 2 – 5 business days
  • Installation: 1 week (depending on the complexity of installation)

Overall you are looking at about 5-7 months and that doesn’t include any of the time needed for discussions with the landlord about the lease or waiting on financing from your lender. Again, it is very important that you give yourself enough time to complete your project. Taking time up front and being involved through the design process will give you comfort knowing that when construction starts, you can stay focused on what you do best- eye health and fashion! (more in our Your New Office (Part 3) blog post)

Stay tuned for part two in our three-part series on Effective Space Planning!

OUR UNIQUE VALUE ADD TO THE FABRICATION PROCESS

Taking your new office or remodel from concept to reality has a few very important steps.

#1). Figuring out your exact needs for the space (i.e. how your customers move about the space, your preference for location and size of exam rooms, and even how large you want the break room to be!).

#2). The design process, to decide on the look, feel, and function of your office. Not sure how to make that decision? Lucky for you we have an easy how to guide for reference! Click here for How to Start the Design Process.

#3). Last but not least, the main attraction of this post… THE FABRICATION AND BUILD OUT STAGE!

Not to toot our own horn, but there are a number of elements that truly set Ennco apart from our peers including but not limited to our years of experience in the industry, our use of the most advance technology, and finally our quality and attention to detail.

Industry Specific Experience

Would you hire a plumber to build you a house? NO…so why would you hire a local casework builder to create your optical space?

Every city in the country has at least one local builder and in many cases they are very good at what they do.  What they do, however, isn’t designing and building successful Optometry and Ophthalmology spaces. Your typical casework builder does a mix of local projects from kitchens in private homes to commercial cabinets in schools or government buildings. However, in optical spaces there are a very unique set of needs associated with the build and design. Our high level of experience in the industry allows us to make your space work like a dream!  We’ve heard many accounts of someone using the local cabinet/millwork provider only to discover there are horrible flaws in the logic used to build the space (i.e. work surfaces too high, frames displayed too low, low end materials used in an  industrial grade setting etc…).  What works in a kitchen will not carry over to a smooth running and profitable optical dispensary.  So we pride ourselves on the ability and know-how specific to the optical industry…no “faking it till you make it here”.

Most Advanced Technology

Nearly every machine in our fabrication shop is CNC (computer) controlled, meaning we can fabricate exactly what was drawn during the design process… cool huh?!? This ability allows us to really step outside the box and create truly custom displays that couldn’t be built by just anyone. Our computer rich environment means that we have fewer fabricators in our shop than many of our competitors.  Our small team is able to see each and every project from “cradle to grave” and we take a huge amount of pride in the quality of the finished product.  In a huge, labor rich factory any given employee may only see a tiny part of the puzzle but never actually see the finished product, at Ennco that’s just not our style!

High Quality and Unprecedented Attention to Detail

Remember the really cool CNC machines we talked about earlier? Yea…well the REALLY cool thing is they allow us to build casework and displays with an amazing amount of accuracy! We’ve removed the chance for human error in nearly every step of the building process which allows the fabricators to keep an extra close eye on the quality of the finished product and avoid costly mistakes. All of our casework is built above the standards for AWI cabinetry. We use thicker and stronger materials than most shops so the pieces you buy will last until you want to change them out rather than need to. It’s not uncommon to hear of spaces we’ve built that have been unchanged for 20 years. We also dowel and screw all of our casework and don’t use staples or nails on anything we build. This is a much more difficult way to build things but the quality of the finished product is second to none.

We hope you enjoyed this quick glimpse into the Ennco shop! Check back later for more posts like this and much more.