Maximizing Pharmacy Space When Restricted by Code

Posted by Robert Walthall on Wed, May, 29, 2019 @ 10:17 AM

We’ve spoken plenty in this space about the myriad challenges faced by pharmacists. One that we haven’t covered yet is as ironic as it is vexing: the point at which all of your work and sweat equity finally positions you for expansion, only to hit a wall — whether a literal one imposed by your existing space, or a metaphorical one in the form of local building codes and other restrictions on pharmacies — that limits your options and elbow room alike. There’s a solution: careful pharmacy design that maximizes your space.

Understanding Building Regulations

Pharmacy-specific building regulations vary from one state to the next, and you should check with your state’s Board of Pharmacy for compliance in your area. Further requirements and permitting may be needed at the county and municipality levels.

Here in Alabama, where Shelving Design Systems is headquartered, the BOP’s requirements for facilities [PDF] are minimal, requiring only that a reasonable area should be set aside for patient consultations pursuant to OBRA ’90 guidelines, and that any building “in which drugs or medicines are wholesaled, repackaged, stored, held, sold, offered for sale, exposed for sale, or kept for sale must be of suitable size, construction and location to facilitate cleaning, maintenance, and proper operations. Buildings must meet all applicable federal, state and local standards.” The regulations further stipulate that your pharmacy may not  be located in a residence.

Pharmacy Design

Once you’ve navigated the industry-specific and site-specific concerns for your renovation or new build, it’s time to plan your pharmacy design. While a traditional floor plan or the more modern racetrack/figure-8 plan is common in most pharmacies, many newer designs are relying on an open floor plan that can be an excellent choice in areas where an upscale look or a more boutique approach is desired. In any case, your pharmacy design should also include close attention paid to your pharmacy decor; this is especially true of smaller spaces, where the wrong shelving, merchandising choices, or POP materials can lead to the space’s sense of scale feeling off-kilter, as well as feeling smaller or more cramped than it is.

Pharmacy Fixtures and Shelving

Your pharmacy fixtures and shelving also play an outsized part in any renovation or new build. Our suggestion is typically to start behind the counter and work forward, since optimal organization can mean a smaller but more efficient space that gives you more flexibility with your front-of-house layout. That brings us to another vital component…

Pharmacy Workflow Process

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, or of our newsletter, you may be thinking we sound like a broken record right about now. After all, pharmacy workflow process comes up rather often in these little missives. But we keep mentioning it because it keeps mattering — and it’s all the more important when space is as tight as time.

Pharmacy Solutions from Shelving Design Systems

When you run a pharmacy, it can often seem as though your day to day is filled with restrictions. The pinch can seem especially acute when you’ve worked hard to grow your business, only to find you’re further restricted by your location and building codes. We can empathize; Shelving Design Systems has helped countless pharmacies through the years with problems like yours. Our suggestion? Rather than dwelling on the restrictions, concentrate on making the most of the things you can change in order to maximize the opportunities that are sure to follow.

Topics: pharmacy store design, Workflows, Pharmacy floor plan