The Glasgow dental clinic story: from vision to reality PART 1

I’m often asked about the history of the clinic and the building which houses our surgeries.
Here’s a blog all about the evolution of Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry…tells the story about how the clinic came about.

I hope you find it of interest…

My vision for my new clinic was crystal clear.
I wanted to create a leading dental clinic with highly experienced and trained staff working in an environment equipped with the very best in dental technology to ensure our patients receive the highest-level of treatment and care.

I wanted my new clinic to look like no other clinic – to be a state of the art building in which patients would feel 100% comfortable and welcome at all times.
My clinic is about its people – the staff and the patients. I wanted to create a space that would be the perfect background for everyone.

Where it all began

My professional career has resulted from a long held passion for the study of dentistry and especially cosmetic enhancement work.

Having graduated from Glasgow University with degrees in anatomy in 1998 and dental surgery in 2000 I left my home town of Glasgow and headed northwards.

I worked in Inverness taking a two year training pathway in general practice and maxillofacial surgery.
I then opened a clinic in Ayrshire and spent five years building it up, developing its patient list before selling it.

The day after I sold the Ayrshire practice I bought the building that was to become my current clinic, however due to the premises having existing tenants I needed to wait for almost three years before seeing my vision become a reality in its final form.

Over the years since graduating and developing my career I have had a particular focus on dental implants and have travelled extensively throughout the world in my quest to study more about implantology.
I had always wanted to create a clinic where, as well as offering bespoke general dentistry, our patients could avail themselves of the finest cosmetic dentistry techniques and, of course, life changing dental implant surgery.

In the three year period before moving into the new clinic I worked from temporary premises just a few hundred yards from the new building.
This meant it was easy for me to work closely with the architects and subsequently the project manager because I could be on-site in just a few minutes.

Work in progress

I’d known my new clinic premises – based in a traditional Victorian red-sandstone, tenement style building – for many years before purchasing, living as I did at the time in the neighbourhood with my wife and family.

The area has a really good ‘buzz’ to it and is a much-sought after residential pocket of West End Glasgow with an excellent local and outlying patient demographic within easy commute. Neighbouring businesses include hairdressers, doctors’ surgeries, delis, wine bars, bookshops and coffee shops.

The new premises are split over two levels and the ground floor is elevated giving passing motorists an ideal view of the clinic. Located adjacent to traffic lights at a busy junction it means that drivers and their passengers can see the premises and signage – proving to be a great marketing bonus with the clinic name being the most-used keywords on Google searches generating visitors to our website.

The building dates back to late 19th century, is listed and is in the middle of a conservation area and so our hands were rightly tied as to what we could and couldn’t do with it. My aim, however, was to ensure that our makeover was as sympathetic to the original building as possible and I wanted our refurbishment project to create a hugely positive benefit to the street in general.

We worked with and supported the local community council in order that they knew we wanted to be a ‘good neighbour’.

I instructed the architect to not only look after the internal refurbishment but also consider the garden and stairway entrance to the clinic.

I had a healthy concern about the need to adhere to stringent planning laws but thankfully I had a great architect on board and he gave me a lot of confidence about what we could achieve in the new clinic.

The design brief for the new clinic saw the radical transformation of the ground and basement floors of a predominantly residential building to create a 21st century, cutting edge clinic with the latest developments in dental technology and sterilisation techniques.

My brief to the architect was to create a clinic that was “bespoke, dynamic and different” that would create a new benchmark in clinical environments.

The two level clinic houses five surgery rooms with the latest in contemporary technology and equipment.

As well as extensive internal work, I gave the exterior and gardens a facelift too.

Because I lived nearby at the time of the renovaton and I love the area I knew the importance of keeping our neighbourhood looking great and vibrant.

As well as attention to detail inside we mirrored that outside with the design of the new wrought-iron railings incorporating the nice touch of our company logo.

This project was a real dream come true for me and I had spent several years visualising and developing very specific aims and objectives about how the clinic would operate. Today’s patients have high expectations in terms of patient care and comfort and my own standards are high.

I’d done extensive research on how the clinic would be fitted out with input from all over the world – visiting clinics in Sweden, Germany, Canada and the US.

The plans were a real melting pot of bringing together what the patient needs and expects and my vision to create an environment that’s different and state of the art.

The new design was endorsed by many of the leading dental companies who associated themselves with the project.

Because I’d had the building for three years before we eventually moved in, I was able to prepare myself mentally for the project. The extra time also gave me the chance to work closely with my accountant who was able to prepare the budget for the project. That extra time also gave me the opportunity to save money for purchasing equipment.

My project manager and main contractor Simon Mullen was excellent. He was a neighbour and I met him at a summer party about a year before we started our work together.

I already had encountered experiences with two other project managers who’d been keen to get involved and hadn’t been impressed so Simon’s arrival was exciting.

He was a great influence on the whole project, spending a huge amount of time on-site, overseeing the refurbishment and being the ideal liaison between the contractors and many of the dental equipment suppliers.

The printing cartridge bomb scare in the middle of 2010 which almost crippled our flights network had an impact on our project. We were awaiting deliveries of the sofa from Spain, the vinyl floor covering from Italy and the ‘no-touch’ taps from Holland. Suddenly everything ground to a halt as deliveries were ‘quarantined’ for uncertain periods of time.

Notwithstanding these unexpected hiccups the project went well. In just three months the major work – the hidden wiring, plumbing, electrical and building stuff that no-one sees but the cheque book sizzles with was done and the fitting and installation work began.

Read part 2 soon….