Hugh Fleming Dentistry is a state-of-the-art dental practice on Sydney’s lower north shore established by Dr Fleming over two decades ago. The practice embraces CAD/CAM and 3D x-ray technology to deliver best practice patient care. While much had been accomplished in the history of the private practice by Dr Fleming, the goal of owning his own premises remained elusive until a recent move.
“The main driving factor behind relocating to a new premises was that we’d outgrown the old space,” Dr Fleming said. “We’d run out of space and we needed to continue to grow. We’d been in the same place for 17 years in a shopping complex and there was no option to expand. In addition, every year like clockwork, the rent would increase 4% and the most we could get was a 5-year lease. Looking to the future, that meant the practice would be less saleable because there was no security of tenure long term. So, we’d always wanted to own our premises, but it took 8 or 9 years to find the right space. We were in contact with three real estate agents looking for commercial space in Mosman that could be suitable. We specifically wanted commercial space as it’s typically an open shell. Retail space around here is very expensive and often not suitable for a large dental practice. Also, as most of our business is via ‘word of mouth’ referral, we don’t need to be paying a premium for the exposure retail space provides. We knew what we wanted; we just had to find it. While we were looking for the right premises, we were in touch with Lester Arnot from Perfect Practice who would come and inspect the variety of potential locations we looked at to see if they would be suitable. He probably did that 8 or 9 times, all without charge and each time, he would give us all the pros and cons about the space and what could be accomplished.” After a long search, Dr Fleming eventually purchased the new premises three years before the move, but due to the terms of his own lease in the shopping complex, he leased the new space back to the existing tenants.
“Once we had the new premises secured, we almost forgot about moving,” Dr Fleming said. “Then the ensuing couple of years went fast and before we knew it, we were only left with a 7-month window until our lease was up. Normally that would have been long enough, but we then spent 3 months getting the design approved by the body corporate. When the time came to choose a builder, Perfect Practice was the only choice. The investment they had made in helping us find the right location was something I never forgot. The choice proved to be the right one as Lester and his team were instrumental in helping us initially meet the stringent requirements of the body corporate. The long process also meant that Perfect Practice was only left with 3-4 months to build it.”
“During the design phase, we went to Perfect Practice’s offices and worked with their designer. It’s very well set up and they have sample surgeries and other spaces built so you can get a
feel for how various finishes and textures and colours will work. There are a lot of decisions to make and their approach makes it very easy. You essentially decide how much you want to spend
and that dictates the finishes. Their designer helps with the choice of colours, fixture and finishes along the way. This is the fourth practice I’ve built, so speaking from experience, this one was the easiest in terms of design and planning. Perfect Practice also helped us through the approval process with the body corporate. We had a big issue with the plumbing for the practice, as is often the case, in that none of the other owners wanted core holes entering into their car spaces below.”
“With a lot of thought and planning, Perfect Practice managed to address all the concerns from the body corporate and ended up with all core holes coming through into common property only.
Throughout the build, Perfect Practice was very responsive to our needs. We wanted weekly site meetings, particularly as the new premises was a block from our existing location and they had no problem with that. You need someone who listens to your concerns and throughout the process, we worked as a team to get the exact outcome we wanted.” Dr Fleming said that overall, the build was largely uneventful and was completed in the relatively short time frame available before their old lease expired. “When the new practice was finished, we closed down at the old location for 2 weeks while we transitioned everything across.”
“Dentsply Sirona is our long serving equipment vendor of choice and they took responsibility for decommissioning and recommission the equipment. They moved everything across including the chairs, Galileos CBCT unit and CEREC System. We also purchased some new equipment from Dentsply Sirona. At 190 square metres, the new space is more than 50% larger than our old practice. We’ve increased from three surgeries to four, the surgeries are bigger, our in-house lab is bigger and can now accommodate the two CEREC mills and furnaces. We have central sterilisation and an office for the associate dentists. The extra wide corridors are more suitable for wheelchairs, which we use with sedation patients and patients with motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There is just more room to move and we have 8 parking spaces, plus an additional 5 visitor spots patients can use. The surgeries face north and look out over gardens and the pool which we have access to for lunch time swims and Friday afternoon ‘Happy Hour’. Nothing was ever an issue with Perfect Practice. Their whole approach and methodology was excellent and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for any dental project.”
By Joseph Allbeury
Austalasian Dental Practice