All posts by buildtechnology@gmail.com

Get what you pay for in Medical Construction is Misleading…

I have a strong opinion about the “get what you pay for” saying when it comes to commercial or medical construction. I have been a customer of flooring contractors, glazing contractors, painting companies, mechanical companies, electrical companies, and all the different services in construction imaginable. I have been a customer of one man owned construction operations all the way to large national corporations and everything in between. The pattern I found was as I hired bigger contracting companies, the quality of work did not improve. The prices were considerably higher, but in my mind I could justify it because I thought i’d get a more reliable and higher end product. The truth is, the bigger the company usually the product and project was worse. I believe this is because there are many more people involved in the larger companies. Bigger companies have the employees, project managers, project supervisors, and usually an owner who is usually not very hands on or involved. Their isn’t really a personal relationship with the people performing the work. Also often times a big company will just outsource some of their work to another company who is even more removed from the relationship between the customer and the contractor. It creates a diffusion of responsibility and oftentimes opens the door to bad workmanship.

On the other hand, I have hired one man operations where the actual owner of the company is doing the work. The price is usually much cheaper and honestly the workmanship is far better. I have had this experience multiple times on construction sites. The owners of the company who did the work were much more responsible for the product they delivered. They were much more willing to work with the client and took a lot more pride in their work. When we started Build Technology Medical Contracting, we wanted to keep a close relationship with our clients. Our workers are the owners of this company. The owners of this company are your plumbers, electricians, HVAC Techs, Project managers and labourers. Everyone here has a pride of ownership and want to do our best for our clients. It’s why I truly believe we are best suited to take on medical and commercial projects. We almost never subcontract our work, and if we do we are upfront about it. So if you are thinking of building a new practice or even if you are doing a renovation, be open to speaking with us or owners who will actually do the work on your project.

I want to Build a Medical/Dental/Vet office. Where do I Start?

I have been on the client end of negotiating with General Contractors in the past. There has definitely been a valuable lesson that I’ve learned that really has stuck with me. When negotiating with contractors, I always tried to do what was best at that moment. That meant getting the cheapest prices was always super important. Talk to anyone in the industry, quality of construction is going down hill. Even Contractors that are charging lots of money, are in many cases doing very substandard jobs. It is very difficult to find a contractor who is going to give you a great job at a reasonable price. There are many contractors who are getting plumbers, or electricians with no experience in medical jobs to perform medical construction on dental offices, medical offices, and veterinary. Not surprisingly, there are issues in these offices with malfunctioning equipment, leaks and improper installations. Sometimes these issues are noticeable in the short term but often they become more significant in the long term. A great example of this would be for suction lines in dental. Even a bad installation with improper slope can last several years. After a while however, clogs and insufficient suction pressure can persist. This causes many service calls to ensure all equipment performs properly. What clients sometimes don’t realize, that the money they maybe saving today will all be paid back plus much more in maintenance. Get a contractor who has been known to perform high quality work and always ask for a warranty. There are many trades and contractors who will be willing to do work for cheaper prices, but often times it will not be worth the headaches.

 

Over the last several years, I have been heavily involved in architectural, and engineering meetings. I have visited hundreds of suppliers and have seen all the newest products for commercial renovations for medical offices. From lights, to toilets, ceiling tiles, plumbing supplies and everything in between. We have been able to sift through what adds practical value to medical offices versus products/materials that have not been worth the price. It is always important to think about the long term viability of your commercial medical space. You want to use products that are going to last a long time and be as maintenance free as possible.

 

Here is a simple yet very useful tip:

You do not want to have to call a plumber in for a clogged toilet ever. You either can get a commercial toilet, which requires larger copper supply lines or use regular plumbing and put in a pressure assisted toilet. We have clients who have put in these toilets and have not had a single issue for many years.

 

We would love to hear from you, either to provide a quote to build a new office or even as a consultation to talk about how you’d like to build your new office. We have built one of the biggest Commercial Dental facility in Canada and would be honored to give you a tour. We have vast amounts of knowledge in commercial construction, and we only work on medical projects. Get in contact with us!

Pricing Out Your Job – Tips for customers when dealing with contractors.

When you are dealing with a contractor, you need to know that sometimes pricing out a specific job can be quite difficult. This anecdote is a true story, that will illustrate the difficulty of pricing out work in certain circumstances. This week, we were in an office that needed a specialized door install. This door is a custom sliding door that has lead in it. This is common in Medical facilities almost all which have specialized lead requirements. Lead doors are heavy. Just adding a sliding door to a wall is not necessarily a solution. Depending on the wall construction, there could be many modifications that need to be made to the wall. For example if the wall is made out of light gauge steel studs, wood blocking might need to be added. This means removing drywall to add the blocking in. Then in addition to actually installing the door, re-drywalling, taping and painting (in some cases matching wall paper) is also necessary. Also the studs if they are not wide enough might not be able to support the door. This means demolishing the entire wall and building a new one from scratch. A lot of this is unknown to a contractor until they actually start to perform the work. The problem is, the client is almost always paying for the worst case scenario. This means the contractor would price the job out as if they would be demolishing and rebuilding the wall from scratch. If this is not the case, the contractor ends up with a bigger margin. If it is the case, then at least they were prepared for doing that scope of work.

If you are a client, you can try to work with your contractor in the following ways:

Ask if the contractor will work hourly

Have conditional pricing (Go through the scenarios of potential construction difficulties and get them to price out each of them)

It is becoming more common for Contractors to work along side Clients to help work out the many unknowns in a renovation. This helps jobs to be more cost effective and will keep both the contractors and their clients happy.

Medical Lighting + Government Rebates

There is a very good opportunity in Ontario when renovating an existing space that allows you to recoup the costs of installing brand new general lighting. We recently experienced this on our job site. Save On Energy in Ontario will subsidize the installation of brand new general lighting in an existing building. It is one of the few Government Programs that actually make a lot of sense to pursue.  We are in the process of purchasing lighting in around the $20,000 range. There is existing older florescent lighting which is a lot less energy efficient. With this rebate we are going to be paying a net cost of around $9,000 for the lights. A truly remarkable saving. The Government does this for a few reasons. The incentive to use more energy efficient lighting options is very real. It is a lot cheaper for the Government to fund brand new lighting systems than it is to spend on building new electrical plants and energy generating stations across the province. This incentive from the Government isn’t put towards your hydro bill, it is actually given to the client as a cheque.

The newer lights that we install are LED Lights for suspended ceilings. Based on the volume we buy them at, we are already getting them at an incredible price even without the rebate. They are beautiful lights, very high end. They are great for almost all commercial applications, especially medical. They produce a beautiful white light, and the fixture itself is a lot more visually appealing than the older florescent bulbs.

If you are interested in replacing or retrofitting an existing lighting outfit in your facility, we will be able to help. We will be able to perform an energy audit, that will help you realize the operating savings you will get by switching to LED. The LED options cost about 1/3 of the price to run versus the older lighting options. We will be able to take care of all the paperwork for you and submit the application for the SaveOnEnergy Rebate. If you are interested in this for your office, let us know. We would be glad to come take a look to determine what we can do with your specific situation.

 

 

Opening Up A Medical Practice In Ontario? Medical clinic, Dental, Vet- ETC

Let’s go through a normal scenario of opening up a Medical practice- Vet, Dental or Physician’s etc.

  1. You Make The Decision. You are finally going to do it! You are going to open up your own practice.
  2. You inquire to a consultant about available space to lease. You may talk to another consultant about the best place to open your practice. You look at demographics of certain areas to determine the best place for your practice. Finally, a space is found.
  3. An Architect produces a drawing for your practice layout. They comb through all the details of every room. They specify all the finishing details. Paint colors etc. You pay or hire a consultant to produce these drawings, as well as to apply for building permit in the area you are planning to open to.
  4. You pay another set of engineers- mechanical, electrical, structural, etc. They specify how the plumbing is to be run, and how the heating is to be installed.
  5. The drawings for your new place are sent out to General Contractors to bid on your job. They follow the drawings and submit a price for building.
  6. You agree to a General Contractor’s bid. There is a schedule, and there is a price. Both of which you believe will not change.

Although these steps seem straight forward, the costs incurred by the client are significant. Money is being spent in all different directions. Consultants, engineers, architects and contractors. You will pay for city permits, inspections, etc. The process is long and complicated.

Build Technology Contracting has been fortunate to have been the builders of one of the biggest dental facilities in Canada. The project was complex. There was over 20,000 square feet of area to be constructed. The building was old and needed upgrading. We had to install from scratch brand new HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical systems. Rooftop units needed to be replaced. The list of services and upgrades is never ending. But one thing we did, was that we did almost all this work in house. This is what makes a huge difference not only in overall cost to open but also in quality of the work.

Here are some tips when beginning the journey of opening up your own practice.

Consultants are not necessarily on your side

We have seen this before many times. The architect and engineers, who works for you, are not always on your side. There is unfortunately a pretty significant conflict of interest working against you. This is not to say that all consultants are like this, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. An example of this was on a project we did where an engineer specified about 20 high bay lights to be installed in an open concept theater area. They specified a specific brand of light that had a cost of about $800 per light. After researching other options we helped the client find an alternative for about 25% of the cost. Not only was this light cheaper, it also produced the same if not better quality. Although we can not confirm this with certainty, it seems as though engineering/ architectural firms might benefit from the products which they spec for their clients to buy.

Another example was on a project we did where the engineers had spec’d a specific fire alarm to be installed. This was a very big building and the expected cost of installation was upwards of 100 thousand dollars. As the Contractors on the job, we were confused as to why a fire alarm system had been called for since the building already had a sprinkler system. We pleaded with the engineers for cheaper options. We discussed alternative brands, smaller systems and anything we could think of. Eventually, we studied the code in detail and realized that the building did not actually require this fire alarm system. We brought this up to the engineers, who eventually acknowledged that we were correct. We had saved the client from a huge spend that was not necessary.

Contractors are going to burn you on change fees

The reality is when building a medical facility, that there are going to be changes. Not everything on paper is going to make sense in reality. This might take some time to realize and it might even be evident after construction has already started. When you want to make a change, your contractor is going to charge you. A lot of construction companies now are underbidding jobs because they know they can make it up on the change fees. You are unfortunately almost at their mercy when it comes to making a change from the original drawings. Keep this in mind when signing with a contractor. From experience, most changes are not a big deal. They can be done pretty quickly with not a lot of complication. Speak to your contractor before starting about changes and their associated fees.

Contractors make money by sub-contracting. They make big margins on other people doing the work.

Generally, your Contractor is awarded a job. They then go to other companies who have employees that perform the work. The General Contractors cost is usually about 30% less than the cost the client eventually pays for the work. For example: A contractor approaches a Electrical Sub-Contractor to perform work on a 2,000 square foot dental facility. The Client is Billed $40,000 for the work. The Contractor pays the Electrical Contractor $28,000. The Electrical Contractors cost for materials and paying employees is about $14,000. This in a nut-shell is how a normal construction operation is run. The cost for a job flows downstream with multiple companies taking a piece even if they do not perform the work.

 

Why work with Build Technology Contracting?

First of all, we do the work. We are all on the job site, we are all involved in the actual construction. The same people you will meet when we discuss your job, will be the people who perform labor on your project.  We are not going to hire another company to perform the work and just take a profit of the top.

When you work with us, you have the option of using Build Technology architects, engineers and consultants. We work with them on projects and there is a trusting relationship that we all take very seriously. We are not going to take advantage of the client. If you are our client, we are going to keep that relationship open and honest. We will give you our opinions and always present the best options possible for your specific situation. We respect how hard you work for your money and we vow to make sure you do not waste it.

No matter what phase you are at in building your dream medical practice, we can help. We would love to meet with potential clients to discuss future projects and how we can help make your dream into a reality.

Why We Started Build Technology

Build Technology Canada is a team of very talented and diverse people. We are the new generation of Medical Construction in Toronto. When I used to think of a Contractor, the idea of rip-off artist and con-men always entered my mind. It was so easy to spot it. A contractor would always focus on how much was wrong and how much it would take to fix it. They would talk about the vast complexity of the job and make it seem like only they could fix it for you. They would go on and on about the costs of the project. Making it seem like even though the job was expensive, that you were getting a great deal. Once you’d agree to the work, the contractor would bring up all the unexpected extras. The contractor would take a deposit and then not show up for days. They would not contact you, and it would be a never-ending cycle of disappointment. At the end of the day you’d end up with a sub-par job.  It’s an exhausting process and I truly believe it makes clients hate dealing with contractors.

This is why we launched Build Technology Contracting. We have been there.

Our company has vast experience in almost every field. We are electricians, plumbers, tapers, drywallers etc. We have experience in business, architecture, project management, and engineering. What separates us from others? Almost all of our work is done in house. We do not subcontract our jobs. Our jobs are completed by the people at Build Technology Contracting. We are also very experienced in the medical industry. We are the builders of one of the biggest dental facilities in all of Canada.

We are professionals. We are polite, courteous builders. Everyone at Build Technology Contracting is expected to uphold this standard. We also expect it from our customers. We can guarantee that the experience you will have as our client will be a positive one. We will be as open as possible. We will never mislead, or misconstrue the scope of our work.

Want to know more about us? Let’s set up a meeting. Let’s talk about your project and give you an opportunity to let you meet our team. Dealing with Contractors shouldn’t be hard.

Call or email us.

buildtechnologycanada@gmail.com