The Harrogate Vet Talks about her Design Award Win


Katherine Jacklin, MRCVS, talks to the BVHA about her design aims for her new practice, The Harrogate Vet. Katherine won a President's Award for its welcoming and innovate waiting room.

Practice Name: The Harrogate Vet


Design Award for: President’s Award


Q1. What were you trying to achieve/what was your overall goal?

A1. Our aim was to create a practice that was an attractive, comfortable and inviting place for both clients and pets. Our main focus was to avoid a ‘clinical’ or ‘medical’ atmosphere in our reception and consultation rooms, but at the same time maintaining a clean, professional and practical space.

Customer service is central to everything we do and an important part of this is to have a welcoming and warm environment for pets and their owners, we believe this makes the experience of coming to the vets as pleasant and relaxing as possible.

In our clinical areas we aimed to create pleasant and bright areas for us all to work in, we had limited space so put a lot of thought into workflow patterns and the best use of the available space.


Q2. What were the 3 most important factors included in your practice design?

A2. 1. Creating a welcoming and attractive environment for clients

2. Creating a bright and pleasant environment to work in which also functions well as a veterinary practice day to day

3. Planning carefully how to use our limited space to ensure it functions well and doesn’t feel small or cramped. 


Q3. Did you use and architect? If not, why not?

A3. No – our budget did not allow for the use of an architect.


Q4. Why did you decide to undertake the project?

A4. We are a brand new practice and were looking for a premises with a central town location but which could be converted into a veterinary practice. We wanted to create a new type of veterinary practice, both in terms of the look and feel of the building and in our approach to customer service and client care.


Q5. Did you keep within your budget? If not by what percent did you exceed your budget?

A5. Yes, we stuck to our budget.


Q6. With hindsight, what would you do differently?

A6. We are really pleased with what we have achieved in our premises – it would be great to have more space than we have and we would love to have another consultation room and a meeting room but the building does not allow. The only think I wish I had installed during the build is air conditioning, which we are currently in the process of installing!



Q7. How has this changed your business?

A7. We are a brand new independent practice so everything is new!


Q8. What has winning the Design Award meant to you?

A8. As a small, new, independent practice we did not anticipate winning a prize so were absolutely thrilled when we heard the news! The whole team have been involved in the project from the very beginning and have all played a part in the transformation of the building to what it is now. It means a lot to us to be recognised for what we have created here in our little practice!


Q9. Was the project very stressful? What was the most stressful situation?

A9. The project overran on time and we were all working hard to get it ready right up to the opening day. There were times when we all thought we were not going to be completed on time which was very stressful!


Q10. What parts of the project went as you expected and what parts did not?

A10. Apart from the project overrunning the expected finishing date it all went surprisingly smoothly! I expected to have to make decisions and alter plans slightly as the project progressed and I think going into the project with this attitude helped reduce stress!


Q11. Did you use a project manager, or did you manage the project yourself?

A11. I project managed myself.


Q12. Who were the main suppliers that you used?

A12. We used a local contractor for the building work and worked closely with Shor-line, Photon Surgical Systems, IMV and VetIsco for equipment.


Q13. What features are particularly important to you?

A13. Our reception area and consultation rooms are the area of the practice I am most proud of. We have created a vet practice that looks nothing like a vet practice! It is attractive, welcoming, comfortable and not at all clinical. Clients and their pets really seem to appreciate the atmosphere and feel welcomed rather than apprehensive about their visit to the practice.


Q14. Are you and your staff pleased with the results?

A14. Yes, we are all really proud of the practice.


Q15. Are your clients pleased with the results?

A15. We think so! We do receive a lot of comments from clients about our reception area in particular and have also found since opening that having an environment which is homely rather than clinical seems to put a lot of our patients at ease too.


Q16. What tips do you have for others contemplating a building /refurbishment project?

A17. Be thorough in your planning before the project starts but be prepared to be flexible and for things to change as it progresses. Be clear what your objectives are and what exactly you are trying to achieve and remind yourself of that constantly thoughout the project.