No matter a lab's size, at some point, the facility and office space needs to change. Every dental lab owner has faced this reality, and NevinLabs (a division of DentalEZ) believes it has found a workable solution to help every one of those lab decision makers.
We recently spoke with Jason Hodkowski, a design expert at Nevin, about the process lab owners undertake when designing their facility, how Nevin helps them in that process and how a facility and office update is possible for labs of all sizes.
1. Why should dental labs consider consulting with a facility planner?
The main advantage is that laboratory professionals can rely on our years of experience in designing esthetically pleasing, efficient dental laboratories. Nevin has a team of in-house design specialists that are seasoned professionals when it comes to all stages of the planning and design process. Nevin has designed a variety of large, medium and small laboratories across the country. Many customers we work with have a specific vision of what they want to accomplish when building a new lab or renovating an existing lab. We place their ideas on paper via sketches and blueprints, evaluate and offer our suggestions and then bring them to life.
2. Who can take advantage of your design services?
Any professional dental laboratory that purchases Nevin equipment can contact Nevin for assistance with the design of its laboratory. We also work with dental schools, military bases and the VA Hospital Network.
The NevinLabs ErgoEZ bench solution
3. How does the process of you helping with lab design start?
The planning process begins with direct customer contact from a Nevin representative to gain an overview and understanding of the project. At this time, a few simple questions are asked, such as: type of anticipated project, number of technicians in each department, what equipment will be relocated and purchased as new, ability to relocate walls and utilities and what main goals the customer wishes to achieve from the renovation. In addition, if an AutoCAD file of the space is available, we will request the customer provide that to us in order to begin the planning process. If this file is not available, we request the customer provide a rough sketch of the space in question so we can begin the design process.
4. How does Nevin apply its design expertise to those initial sketches?
Based on the initial contact with the customer and provided sketch/CAD file, Nevin provides a concept floor plan for the customer to review. It is not uncommon to have multiple revisions during the review process. As stated earlier, the illustrations received from Nevin will convert the customer’s ideas into reality. This is usually the time when a Nevin representative will visit the site to evaluate the space and review the plans in person.
5. How does Nevin make sure the sketches play out in reality?
The on-site inspection performed by our laboratory design specialists is an especially important component of the design process. For example, many times customers think they can fit X amount of benches within a certain area of the lab. Reality comes into play when they see how the space looks with that particular number of benches drawn in. The visual can either reveal too many or too few benches in the space. So the on-site visit is imperative, as it enlightens the customer as to what will truly work within the laboratory.
Next page: Taking a project from dream to reality ...
6. How does the project go from floor plan to more in-depth planning?
Once the customer has agreed upon the floor plan, Nevin will start the elevation drawings and provide a quotation. The elevation drawings illustrate the front views of the cabinets and benches and will allow the customer to choose the appropriate cabinet modules (doors and drawers.) Again, it may take a few revisions once the customer has reviewed the elevation drawings. During the entire design process, Nevin designers offer expert suggestions for the layout based on years of experience-we know what works in a true-to-life professional setting, and we exclusively tailor the details of our plans around the laboratory professional’s vision of what they want to accomplish.
7. How does it move from that stage to the actual purchase of a plan?
When the customer approves the floor plan and elevation drawings, the quotation will be updated and confirmed one final time and the customer will place the order. Once Nevin is in receipt of the order, we will present the plumbing/utility drawings. These drawings pinpoint all air, gas, electric and plumbing locations for the final laboratory design. These drawings are extremely detailed and ensure the customer’s contractor places all utilities in the correct locations.
8. Does Nevin install laboratory furniture?
Yes. NevinLabs has a team of installers that span the country to assemble our products. If the customer wishes to have us install the project, we will provide a line item on the quotation that includes this fee. Our installers will off-load the truck when the order arrives, remove packaging materials, assemble the cabinets and counter tops and walk the customer through the installation prior to our departure. One important item to note is that Nevin installers will NOT make any final utility connections. Our installers are not licensed plumbers and/or electricians, so we recommend the customer have reputable licensed contractors make these final connections.
9. What is the expected service life of Nevin cabinets?
The expected service life of Nevin cabinets is approximately 30 years. During the laboratory renovation, the customer often chooses to relocate existing Nevin casework along with new Nevin casework. Based on the product life of the Nevin product, this is not an uncommon request.
10. Is there a fee for using NevinLabs’ design services?
There is no fee for taking advantage of our facility planning and design services.
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of Dental Lab Products. For more great articles like this every month, click here to subscribe. Top photo courtesy of NevinLabs/DentalEZ.