How to Build a New Vet Clinic

As a veterinarian with a busy practice, you have to wear many hats, but a construction hat shouldn’t be one of them. From veterinary clinics and hospitals, to animal shelters, to boarding facilities and more, Morton Buildings has the knowledge and experience to deliver a one-of-a-kind building for your unique needs. A whole team of vertically integrated Morton construction professionals – architects, engineers, project managers, drafters, on-site construction coordinators -- focus exclusively on executing our unique process for Morton projects. This collaborative team works with you every step of the way to ensure the project stays within budget and schedule.

Our expertise will guide you through the many decisions that are involved in a new hospital or clinic design. We hope the following information helps to clarify initial questions that you may have when deciding to construct a new vet facility.

What do I need to do first?

In this pre-planning phase, you’ll want to gather your thoughts and do some research about what you are really wanting in a new hospital or clinic. It is helpful to visit with other veterinarians who’ve built new construction and ask questions and guidance around their experience. Talk to your stakeholders about their input of what’s necessary for future operations. Look at sample floor plans for design inspiration and tour as many facilities as possible. This phase also involves land acquisition, and site design and preparation.


Optimally, you will want an open floor plan to allow you to customize the space of your veterinary office building to enhance traffic flow, comfort, and energy-efficiency. Some features you may want to include when planning your floor plan layout include:

  • Indoor and outdoor daycare
  • Grooming or spa service
  • Training room
  • Office
  • Retail
  • Luxury suites
  • Waterplay
  • Waiting room with client
  • Therapy
  • Cat and dog lodging
  • Pharmacy
  • Exam and surgical rooms
  • Radiant floor heat
  • Kennel runs
  • Breakroom
  • State-of-the-art air quality systems
  • Indoor play areas
  • Equine/bovine units

Once you have a fairly solid idea of your ideal hospital or clinic, you can begin the design and build process with an outside firm.

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What’s the first step in building a new hospital or clinic?

In what we call the concept phase, a variety of activities happen. First, schematic design needs, such as programming, initial code reviews, initial design ideas, and arrangement of rooms and initial site layout will be assessed. Next, the design development of the floor plan, elevations, renderings, room finishes, and major material selection will occur. Based on these findings, a written scope of work, transparent cost estimates, and the alignment of the concept design with budget estimates will be done.

Noise and odor control will be a vital design component in creating a welcoming and stress-free environment. Drinking water, bathing water, and animal waste can contribute to damp, odor-filled rooms. Proper ventilation and drainage help to eliminate these problems. Air flow for cats is even more important. Cats need additional ventilation beyond HVAC to prevent contagious upper respiratory diseases when being boarded. As there are many available options to mitigate noise and odor, we work with you to determine the best solution for your facility.

Other design decisions to be made in this phase include:

  • space planning of the animal and human areas
  • traffic flow
  • exterior and interior materials
  • daily cleaning process and drain accessibility
  • food prep areas
  • laundry
  • number of dog and cat enclosures needed
  • future expansion plans

What comes next?

This is where your new hospital or clinic starts to come alive. After the concept phase is finalized, then you’ll move on to the design phase that involves collecting more detailed information such as a geotechnical investigation, obtaining building permits and approvals, and soliciting proposals for trades. You will also complete the certified architectural and structural drawings, certified civil plans, certified mechanical, electrical, and plumbing drawings and written specifications, which are all used to obtain actual construction costs of the project.


Let’s build!

After all the details have been worked out, construction of your new building can begin. When you work with us, we provide a division of responsibilities, written scope of work with details, and clear and transparent costing in this phase. Then, during construction, we manage the schedule, coordinate all trades and inspections, and maintain a safe jobsite. After the construction is complete, you’ll walk-through the facility and create a punch list of final closeout items and receive all closeout and warranty documents.


Our Proven design-BUILD Process Integrates Design and Construction Services

The most effective and most popular method used to deliver construction projects in America is the design-build approach. This approach means that one entity, the design-builder, enters into a single contract with the owner to provide both design and construction services. The benefits of sole-source responsibility for both design and construction include:

  • Greater cost efficiencies with fewer change orders
  • Earlier knowledge of total project costs
  • Shared responsibility for the design, budget, and schedule
  • Quicker project delivery through superior collaboration

We developed the designBUILD process with our customer in mind, as it enables us to deliver projects that meet your scope, schedule, and budget. This alleviates stress, eliminates time loss, and ultimately reduces the overall project cost, as our design fees are nominal and included as part of the construction package.

How Does it Work?

A dedicated team at Morton consisting of architects, project managers, engineers, drafting technicians, project estimators, and construction management professionals work with you and your local Morton sales consultant from the beginning to end of your construction project. This collaborative and vertically-integrated team all utilize the same four-phase project delivery system process to ensure the project stays within budget and on schedule.

Benefits of Utilizing the Morton designBUILD Process

Not only do you receive the benefits of building a Morton structure, you will also realize these additional benefits of integrating the design and construction of your project:

  • Low-cost and low-risk
  • Reduced change orders
  • Budget is constantly evaluated so you receive a building that you can afford
  • Self-performing construction staff and crews