The entire Sydney basin is in the midst of a construction and infrastructure boom to the tune of more than $80 billion. Vast tracts of rural land are being rezoned residential and roads, railways and even a new airport are all being built in earnest as the population of the city continues to rise. With new housing developments comes the need for schools, restaurants, supermarkets, shops, medical centres and of course, dental practices. With a successful practice in Blacktown already, husband and wife team, Dr Raman Aulakh and Dr Samreen Kaur, had been looking for an opportunity like this to open a second practice under their Winning Smiles brand for some time.
“We’d been looking around for over two years at various locations to open another practice,” Dr Aulakh said. “Sydney is a competitive market and there are practices being built everywhere, so you must find the right location, especially when you’re starting from scratch in a new area. When we heard about a new shopping centre still at the planning stage that would be opening in a new residential development in Denham Court, we were immediately interested. The major tenant was going to be a large Coles supermarket and then there would be 11 other shops that were already under offer from a medical centre, a pharmacy, two restaurants, a nail salon and a couple of real estate agents. We literally secured the last available space.”
Denham Court is located 44 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD and on Google Streetview, the location of the new shopping centre is still farmland. In reality however, Sydney’s once rural outer south-west is quickly becoming part of suburbia. “We opened the practice in Blacktown in 2013 and at some point after that, a representative from Perfect Practice came by and visited us,” Dr Aulakh said. “Because we were interested in expanding, we went and visited practices they had recently built nearby and were impressed with the work. Peter Arnot from Perfect Practice was always very helpful whenever we needed advice while we were looking for a space, so we naturally called him in once we had secured tenancy at what would become Willowdale Shopping Centre.”
Dr Aulakh supplied Perfect Practice with the architectural plans for the 112 square metre space so that the design process could begin. The new shopping centre was slated to open on 11 October 2017 and the tenancy agreement specified that all construction work needed to be completed prior to that time. “We gave Peter the dimensions of the shopfront and specified what we wanted the practice to include and how we wanted it to look. We wanted a very modern look and because the shop has an 11-metre frontage with lots of glass, we wanted to take full advantage of that. We wanted a big reception desk in the middle, inline with the main entrance and large enough for two or three people to work at comfortably. We wanted an area where patients could sit and pay their account with a degree of privacy and we also wanted an area for kids to play as there are many families in the area. On the business side, we wanted three treatment rooms, an OPG room, a sterilisation area and a laboratory. The shopping centre has its own restrooms for patients to use and separate facilities for staff right outside our rear entrance, so we didn’t need to include that in the floor plan. We also specified that the colour scheme for the practice should compliment our existing Winning Smiles logo and branding.”
The team at Perfect Practice then created drawings and 3D modelling of the practice and through a series of meetings, workshopped the final design and chose fixtures, fittings and finishes.“Working with Perfect Practice to design the practice was a great experience. They explained how the process worked before we started and then we had lots of meetings. They listened to all our ideas and whatever we asked for, they delivered even more. They would show us finishes and colours, the overall design, electrical plans and more – they went over everything in great detail. They have a very big team and they are all experts at their jobs. I was really impressed. We had a month and a half to build the practice between the time the shopping complex was completed and the opening. Perfect Practice worked to that and delivered on time and on budget and handled all the coordination of the equipment installation as well.”
Dr Aulakh went shopping for all new, state-of-the-art dental equipment for the practice. “I chose Dentsply Sirona equipment for the new practice,” he said. “We’ve had problems at the other practice with our imaging software being from different suppliers, so buying everything from one company has proven to be a much better idea. A friend who uses Dentsply Sirona equipment put me onto them and they have great products, great facilities and great service and support. Their staff are very knowledgeable and they made the whole experience from choosing the right products to installation very easy.” Dr Aulakh said that since opening in October 2017, business is doing better than expected and growing month-on-month. The two practices now employ four dentists and 15 staff and word-of-mouth is spreading. “The entire experience of building a new practice has been great,” he said. “It’s never easy to deal with shopping centres but I had a really good experience thanks to Perfect Practice. They looked after everything and made it very easy. We used another company for our first practice but in future, we’ll stick with Perfect Practice. They exceeded our expectations at every level.”
Written by Joseph Allbeury as it appeared in the March/April issue of the Australasian Dental Practice