Renovating Commercial Spaces For Medical Use

For years, health care organizations have found ways to minimize costs by optimizing retail space for medical use. These adaptive-reuse projects are often financially appealing, saving organizations 20-30% of the cost of new construction. Not only is adapting a commercial space cost-effective, but it can also be faster than the traditional route of building from scratch. It may also give your medical office access to new patients in a completely new neighborhood. Adaptive-reuse projects for medical offices can pose unique obstacles, however. Before you commit to renovating a commercial space for your medical office, make sure you’re working with a contractor who has a plan to look out for these three common challenges.

Building Code

Be sure to carefully weigh the cost of bringing your selected retail space up to code for your intended medical use. Outpatient offices must jump through far fewer hoops than offices that provide general anesthesia or inpatient services, but that doesn’t mean that this part of your project should be neglected in your budget or in the pre-construction phase. Make sure that there is someone on your team who is familiar with California Building Code and who can spearhead coordinating and negotiating with local officials to make sure that all requirements are met without having to completely retrofit your building.

Mechanical Systems

Unfortunately, the HVAC systems in commercial and retail spaces are not built to code for most medical applications. Don’t waste precious time and money dancing around the issue. Instead of trying to salvage the existing mechanical system, plan to build the cost of a rip out and replacement into your budget, and then work with your contractor right away to discover if the existing system is up-to-snuff for your medical office. If so, you save a big chunk of change right off the bat, and if not, you can refocus this part of your budget on other features that are important to you and your team.

Security and Privacy

When a medical building is constructed, it’s typically done so with an eye toward limiting access to unwanted visitors or passersby. Large lobbies, hallways, and buffer areas, as well as robust landscaping, often protect the doctors and patients of medical buildings from unwanted attention and outside noise. This isn’t always true of retail spaces, however. When choosing the retail space you’d like to adapt, take into account who your neighbors will be and what kind of traffic may regularly pass by your space. Your contractor can help you conceptualize an interior layout that will give you both the functionality and privacy both your patients and your staff need in order to feel most comfortable.

Ready to get started designing your ideal life science or medical environment? Contact us to see how our experienced team can help.


With years of experience in both commercial construction and residential construction, Alpha Omega Contractors is your go-to construction company in Southern California. Our experts take on projects ranging from office space remodels, medical office renovations, and retail space updates for gyms, financial centers, restaurants, salons, car washes, and more. A trusted Orange County contractor and Los Angeles County contractor, we help bring your renovation wish list to life while helping you safeguard and future-proof the profitability of your business. Whether you need help with a residential floor plan or an upgrade to your medical office or retail space, our team of general contractors, designers, and design-build experts will collaborate with you from the initial stages of pre-construction through to putting the finishing touches on your dream remodel project on time and within budget.

Learn more about how to future-proof your commercial property investment.

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