How many orthodontic offices have we designed?

In the past 15 years, we have designed over 100 orthodontic offices & buildings, 50 dental offices & buildings and over 300 private medical offices & buildings in over 25 states and 5 countries.

How does ARCH-101 successfully work with clients when geographically located at a distance?

Not an issue these days.  We use the most current technology for all communication.  With applications such as Pinterest, Skype or Google Hangouts, we can have live meetings at any time, including looking at floor plans or reviewing designs, finishes and colors. Most other communication is via email and phone. For materials samples, we mail boards with actual finishes such as carpet, vinyl flooring, paint colors, wood, and tile samples for your review. We also send a schedule of the finishes with drawings indicating where the finishes are scheduled to go. When physical visits to your location are needed, we can coordinate these with you.  For new buildings, we normally visit at least twice during the planning and design phases and three times during construction.

What professional design services does ARCH-101 provide?

ARCH-101 is a full-service architectural and interior design firm. We complete a full range of services which can be customized to your needs or we offer standard services we have customized to meet the needs of a majority of our clients.

New Buildings

  • Programming
  • Pro Forma creation (assistance with financing)
  • Review of the owner's goals
  • Identify how the owner will ultimately measure the success of the project
  • Review (or create) project budgets and schedules
  • Identify how to approach construction / finding a contractor
  • Site design
  • Space planning
  • Complete building design
  • Designs of cabinetry and casework
  • Lighting design / ceiling design
  • Lab and Sterile design
  • Interior design - material and color selection
  • Construction documents
  • Permit review
  • Construction oversight
  • Interior design (furniture and artwork)
  • Coordination of engineering and other professional services required for construction and permit (civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering; IT, and equipment design; landscape design; and others)
  • Others...


  • Programming
  • Review of the owner's goals
  • Review of project budgets and schedules
  • Identify how to approach construction / finding a contractor 
  • Review of the owner's lease
  • Space planning
  • Designs of all cabinetry and casework
  • Lighting design / ceiling design
  • Lab and Sterile design
  • Interior design (finishes and colors)
  • Construction documents
  • Permit review
  • Construction oversight
  • Coordination of engineering and other professional services required for construction and permit (civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering; IT, and equipment design; and others)
  • Others...

Other services offered

  • Site evaluations and selection
  • Strategic project planning
  • Compare multi-tenant building investment with single occupant, owner occupied buildings
  • Budget review / pro formas
  • Floor plan design
  • 3-D modeling
  • Reviewing drawings from other professionals
  • Contractor selection & contract review
  • Compare options of leasing versus building new
  • Environmental “green” design
  • Lease review
  • Selection of furniture and artwork
  • Space planning
  • Consulting
  • Others...

Does ARCH-101 offer packaged design services or customized design services?

Both. Our design services can be tailored to the needs of individual clients or they can be offered in a standard “design package”. Our standard design packages are the most widely used by clients.

We work with each client to identify which design service would best suit their needs. We can customize a solution for every customer.

What sets ARCH-101 apart from our competition?

  • Client education
  • Principal-managed projects
  • Design excellence

ARCH-101 specializes in orthodontic, specialty dental and healthcare projects. This is our business. We don't design schools, homes, churches, government buildings, high-rises, etc.  We offer the most experienced professionals in the industry.  

We educate our clients in all phases of projects from leases to costs to schedules and budgets.  This is not an additional service, it is simply how we work on a day-to-day basis.  This is one of the most valuable services we offer (see our ABOUT page).  This gives our clients the opportunity to find hidden opportunities in their projects as well as avoid the pitfalls.  An educated client is better equipped to make educated decisions.

ARCH-101 identifies how each client will judge the success of their project BEFORE design has started.  In order to achieve success, we need a roadmap to follow.

We also have a unique approach to design. We design what you need and what you want that meets your budget and your schedule.  Simple.

We are not the best fit for all practices. When we are not, we help guide them to solutions that work best for them.

What is the first thing you need to do when starting work with ARCH-101?

Be prepared to establish clear goals and measurements for success, even before we enter into a working agreement. We start all projects with the ARCH-101 Orthodontic Programmer. The programmer is a questionnaire that is used for planning that reviews project goals. It then goes into the detail, room-by-room, of your practice. The programmer is the guide we use to plan your entire project. We encourage clients to include their staff in its completion.

How long does it take to design an office?

This depends on a number of factors including the client's schedule, whether the project is a new building or a remodel, the anticipated move-in date, and others.  Refer to the article, PROJECT SCHEDULES.

How do we charge for our services?

Quite simply put, we offer the highest level of project expertise offered in the industry and we charge a fair fee for our work.  We will not be the most expensive, and we will not be the cheapest, but you will not find a better value anywhere else.

Services are charged for by the square foot, lump sum, or percentage of construction cost. For customized services, we charge by the hour or a mutually-agreed upon amount.

How do I compare one architectural fee proposal to another?

To be honest, it is nearly impossible. To do this, the client would have to give each competing firm a list of the same design criteria, a schedule, a project budget, a description of how construction is to be completed, and a list of all professional design services needed and/or wanted.  The problem with this is that most clients do not know which services are required by the building department, which services they need, and which services they want.  Because of this, different firms will include (or exclude) a number of services you may want or need.

For instance, if you ask different firms for fee estimates for your project, you will not be comparing apples to apples. One architect may include the costs for engineering consultants in their proposal and another may not. One may include interior design or landscape design and another may not. One may include construction oversight, but in a very limited capacity while another may provide fees for comprehensive construction administration.

Why the differences?  Like many other service-oriented professions, there are no standards for services. One possible exception is in the public sector, where they ask for very specific design services for very well-defined, pre-programmed projects. 

Beware of the firms with the lowest fees.  This may be an indication of limited services.  If an architect wants a competitive advantage for clients seeking fee-based selection of services, they may provide fee estimates that include fees for their work only (an may be limited services), even though they know that they will eventually have to employ a structural, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineer in order to complete the project. These costs are typically passed on to the client at one point or another.

Good Advice: Find an experienced firm with a project team you trust and who you feel you have a good rapport with.  Discuss your needs and services desired and/or required, and then negotiate a fee that is fair to both.

What is "fair"? In the profession, for architect's fee only (no consultants), full service fees for new buildings will normally range between 5% (for large buildings) to 13% (for smaller buildings) of construction costs, without tax. Other professional services, such as engineering, will add another 2% (for large buildings) to 5% (for smaller buildings). If a fee proposal is outside of these ranges, more questions should be asked about what services and level of services are included and why.

Generally speaking, how much does it cost to build a new office?

For Remodels

Construction costs vary, but for remodels, they are normally in the $85 per square foot to $150 per square foot range, without tax or permit fees (construction costs only). If you office is under 2,000 square feet, you have a very unique design or high-end finishes and/or design features, and/or you live in an expensive metropolitan area, it can be much more.  Keep in mind, there also may be additional costs for demolition in a remodel that usually average around and additional $2-$5 per square foot.

If you have a lease allowance for construction, it can help cover all or part of these costs, depending on the amount of your allowance.

For New Buildings

Construction costs for new buildings (including finished interiors) are typically in the range of $125 per square foot to $200 per square foot, excluding land, taxes, and permits (construction costs only).  This can vary widely depending on the level of quality desired and location of the building.

Additional Project Costs

Keep in mind that the costs noted above are for construction only and without tax. There are a number of other project costs that add up. To the costs noted above, add the following costs for remodels:

  • Professional design and engineering fees
  • Dental equipment
  • Furniture
  • IT
  • Building permits
  • Taxes
  • Legal fees
  • Lender fees (points, interest, etc.)
  • Demolition costs (if remodel)
  • Hazardous materials investigation (and removal)
  • A/V systems
  • Security systems
  • Window treatments
  • Signage
  • and others...

For new buildings, add these additional costs to those above:

  • Land
  • Utility assessments (if any)
  • Special inspections for concrete, steel, welding, etc.
  • Site survey (ALTA survey)
  • Environmental survey(s)
  • Soils engineering / soils testing
  • Developer fees (if applicable)
  • Realtor fees (if applicable)
  • Construction loan costs and end loan costs
  • Building street signage and permits
  • Landscape design
  • Contingencies (usually 5% of project or construction costs required by lender)
  • and others...

How large of space or building do I need?  How many chairs can I fit into  "X" amount of square feet?

We get asked this all the time and is actually a very important question. It deserves a longer conversation. In actuality, there is no set size. There are rules of thumbs that we use that can be found in our articles; see ORTHODONTIC OFFICE SIZE.

Office size depends on:

  • the needs of your practice - today and in the future
  • how you practice
  • your equipment
  • the configuration of a specific suite (for example, a 2,000 square foot office that is a large square or rectangle can be more efficient than a space that is broken up into pods or quadrants. The dimensions of the space should be reviewed and pre-planned before leasing a space, if at all possible.
  • future flexibility to expand or contract office size
  • and others...

When should I start looking for an architect or designer for my project?

The usual answer I give is “the sooner the better”. Time flies whether it be a remodel or a new building. Allow appropriate time.  See the article, PROJECT SCHEUDLES.

Tenant build-outs or tenant improvements

(see “Remodel Note” below for Remodels)

  • Identifying a new space to lease (0-6+ months)
  • Negotiating terms / lending options (0-3+ months)
  • Design (2-3+ months)
  • Construction drawings (1-2 months)
  • Permits ( 1-2+ months)
  • Construction (3-4+ months)

This can be a total of 7-20+ months! If you already know where your space will be and have negotiated your lease, the process will be roughly 7-11 months; most times 8-9 months is appropriate. (Keep in mind that a 7 month schedule is bare minimum; leaving little room for delays in any phase of the project).

Remodel Note: If demolition of existing work is involved with your suite, add another 1-3 months to the schedule for environmental review and demolition drawings and permits.

New buildings

  • Pre-project planning (feasibility, budgets, location, etc.) (0-2+ months)
  • Identifying land (0-3+ months)
  • Due-diligence period to verify land is appropriate (verify zoning, parking, site drainage, setbacks, utilities, environmental issues, buildable area, etc.) (1-3 months)
  • Secure lending, project planning, legal, etc. (1-3 months)
  • Design (roughly 3-4+ months)
  • Construction drawings (2-3 months)
  • Permits ( 1-2+ months) (This time can vary wildly and no one has control over it. Permit review is typically 1-2 months, but we have been involved with projects that have taken 4 months and longer!)
  • Construction (8-9+ months)

This can be a total of 16-29+ months! If you have already secured land, the process will be roughly 14-18 months; most times 16 months is appropriate. (Keep in mind that a 14 month schedule is bare minimum; leaving little room for delays in any phase of the project).


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