New Veterinary Facility, North Walsham 2020
Westover Vets is a reputable and thriving independent veterinary practice with a rich history spanning over 130 years. We were honoured to work with the directors of the business, to design and oversee the build of their new small animals clinic in the area. The vision for the new veterinary facility was simple – a larger, purpose-built clinic to accommodate the practice’s growing clientele, one that would provide the highest quality veterinary medicine and services in the community and stand to be a credit to North Walsham.
Location being paramount to the team, the plot chosen was close to the original practice which allowed for an easy adjustment for patients and staff travelling to the site. Our team at ACD Projects ensured that the clinic was in the ideal position to maximise the potential of the purchased land, whilst also providing some privacy for the surrounding residential area.
The new building required a design that would reflect what Westover Vets stand for as a practice. Together, we worked on incorporating features that would portray the practice’s positivity, and their approachable and welcoming spirit. The building was designed to make the most of natural light, ensuring that visitors are welcomed in as bright and hospitable a setting as possible. Additionally, the practice’s multiple consulting rooms are spacious, with high ceilings, modern fittings, and disabled access – allowing for more comfort and accessibility for animals and their owners alike.
Conscientious of their imprint on the environment, the design for Westover Vets incorporated features that would not only minimise consumption but reduce cost in running of the practice. For example, we introduced energy efficient air source heat pumps to heat the practice, and both motion sensor and dimming lights to conserve electricity. The practice is also fitted with bicycle parking for staff members and clients wishing to reduce their motor travel.
Other prominent features of the new veterinary facility include two operating theatres and a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging suite, complete with advanced digital x-ray and ultrasound technology. The large operating theatres ensure better flow of the practice, and increase freedom of movement during surgery, simultaneously opening the possibility for multiple surgeries to run in conjunction.
It is now more important than ever to bear in mind staff health and wellbeing in your initial veterinary developments and designs. From the get-go, Westover Vets encouraged ACD Projects to design safe, quiet spaces for staff to cool off and relax. The Small Animal clinic now hosts various staff areas, including a peaceful relaxation room for overnight stays, a staff area and kitchenette, and a multi-functional meeting room.
Due to the scale and complexity of the new Westover practice build, the design was not without its challenges. The practice was built on a very visible corner plot which is considered the gateway to the town. Planning requirements stated that the practice had to mirror surrounding residential buildings, however as it was such a key location we also envisioned the end design to be modern and contemporary. To meet these conflicting requirements, we ensured the bricks we used were the same as the surrounding houses and we also used Hardie-Plank boarding to add a low maintenance but modern material palette, which again matched the surrounding buildings.
Another example of a major obstacle we were required to overcome during the design was asbestos contamination of the plot, as a canning factory was previously located on the site. This meant that a full site remediation was required, with local and national Environmental Agency sign-off during the build and on completion. Thankfully, this obstacle was overcome safely and effortlessly.
Overall, we have been thrilled to be included in Westover Vets' Small Animal clinic, and we are pleased to hear that the resulting facility is already achieving its purpose, benefitting the wider community with all that it has to offer.
Westover Vets won the President's Award for "Outstanding Architectural Flair" at the 2021 BVHA Design Awards.