Medical Office Buildout vs. Remodel: How to Decide What’s Right for You

When planning to open a new practice, physicians are faced with a choice: start from scratch with a complete medical office buildout, or remodel an existing space. Each has its pros and cons, but there are several factors to consider to help you make the best choice for your situation.

Find out which method is right for you.

Buildout Considerations


  • Complete Customization – Brand new construction in a medical office buildout plan is attractive for those who want to make all of the decisions from start to finish. From conception to design to completion, a buildout will offer complete customization–your only limitations are your budget and timeframe. In this scenario you can map out the size and location of every area of your space: reception and waiting areas, offices, exam rooms, testing labs, and anything else your practice will need.

    You can also take into consideration the type of practice you’ll be operating, and make specific choices based on how your office will need to function. For example, pediatricians might consider play areas and room for toys or TV viewing. Doctors specializing in geriatrics will need to allot enough space for patients with mobility devices such as walkers or wheelchairs. A buildout will typically allow you to work with your builder to meet all of your specific needs.
  • Budgets – It is important to set your budget early in the process. This allows you to determine where real value is and spend your money wisely. Depending on the amount of build out required, and what the Landlord will pay for a medical office build outs from scratch will generally be more expensive than a remodel. Medical facilities in particular are pricier than general office spaces due to their specialty needs, figuring for medical equipment and devices.

    In addition, chances are good that you won’t own the building outright, so you’ll be paying to construct a landlord’s property. Lease negotiations and breaks in rent are common in situations like these, but you may want to consult a lawyer before signing any agreements to ensure you’re entering into a fair deal.
  • Long-Term Potential – If you plan to stay in the same city or geographic area for the foreseeable future, a buildout might be the most cost-conscious option. With custom construction, you can get exactly what you want and need for your practice, while also planning for the future. As you plan your design, you can factor in anticipated growth to avoid future renovations or a need to move out of the space.  

Remodel Considerations

  • Better Suited for Physicians Just Starting Out – New physicians opening their first practice may decide to remodel an existing office to avoid the high costs associated with a medical office buildout. Without years of experience under your belt, renovating an existing office might simply be easier. Many of the features you’ll need will already be present in the space without you having to do a ton of research to decide what to include in a building plan.
  • Less Flexibility – While you’ll save in costs, choosing to remodel may mean giving up some of your preferences. You may not be able to dictate the exact layout, but if you’re fortunate enough to find a medical office space the more or less meets all of your needs as-is, you might only need to make small cosmetic changes, such as fresh paint or new furniture and carpeting.

    Even with less flexibility than a buildout, you should still have a little wiggle room to make more significant changes while still saving money. Ripping out a reception desk to restructure the waiting room, or adding new plumbing or additional outlets to account for various equipment will cost more than just a fresh coat of paint and a new couch, but it’ll still be less expensive than a full buildout.

BG Southern Division, LLC is Florida’s premier design-build company that offers construction services like start-to-finish medical office buildouts and refreshing upgrades in commercial renovations. Take the first step in opening your new medical practice and contact us today!