Plans showing proposed building in Chester

Making a difference for veterinary practices

Posted on 04/05/22

Our Architectural Technologist, Kate Ashdown, reveals how NWD Architects has built a detailed portfolio of experience working with some of the UK’s leading veterinary groups, including Vets4Pets, The Linnaeus Group, and also more recently, VetPartners.

“Having worked with Pets at Home for over 20 years, we have been involved in the evolution of its sister brand, Vets4Pets, through its inclusion in many Pets at Home stores across the UK.

We are also proud to have been offering our services to The Linnaeus Group for the past three years, in the delivery of new designs and refurbishment to industry leading veterinary practices across the UK.

We were delighted to also recently welcome VetPartners to our growing list of clients. Established in 2015, VetPartners is made up of the UK’s most respected and trusted small animal, equine, mixed and farm practices and animal health businesses.

We are already delivering several exciting redesigns of its practices, which we can’t wait to reveal soon.

With each veterinary surgery which becomes part of VetPartners still needing to retain its uniqueness in its local community, this has provided some interesting and engaging design challenges to ensure each practice keeps its individuality. This has included working around pre-existing spaces, allowing us to be extremely creative with the layout, whilst also always considering the practicalities of the design.

Every veterinary practice we are briefed to redesign must be considered from three perspectives; from the veterinary staff who use the spaces every day, to the pet owners bringing in their animals, whilst also incorporating how the pet will feel and interact with the space too. For example, dogs prefer to be at ground level, to make them feel more secure in a different environment, whereas cats prefer to be at a higher vantage point, but enclosed and unable to be seen. Of course, these pets prefer to also be spaced at a distance from each other too. This applies just as equally to the waiting area, as to the holding areas. Considering the user experience, whether vet, pet owner or pet patient, is therefore key to our designs, as well as ensuring what we propose fits the brief from the vets themselves.
This micro style of design allows us to think creatively, as well as strategically, to ensure everything required can fit neatly and succinctly into the available spaces, much like a functioning jigsaw puzzle. Being able to manoeuvre trolleys which could be required to carry a Great Dane from surgery to a recovery area should have the space it needs to allow a smooth and safer journey, without the need for 3-point turns around tight corners, or columns. One veterinary practice which had been converted from an old fire station had plenty of these, leading to some interesting work-arounds to ensure good flow around the space.
We must also be considerate of which rooms and spaces are placed where. Isolation wards should not be placed near operating rooms, for fear of contamination, just as areas where owners say goodbye to their too ill or elderly pets should not require an exit back through the main waiting area. Not to mention, some of VetPartners’ surgeries cater for farmers and their animals, so spaces may also be required for larger and more dirty animals to be assessed.
Since we started working with VetPartners in early 2021, the smaller and mid-sized practices we have helped to develop have been gaining good results and positive feedback, benefitting humans and animals alike.”

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