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There are a lot of factors that go into ensuring that your pharmacy construction is a success. These range from choosing the best location and reading up on municipal building code requirements to pharmacy and fixture layout. Above all else, the big part of that success comes from the right pharmacy design.

Introduction to pharmacy design

Looking at it from a retail perspective, a pharmacy in a medical center promises a steady customer flow. This is largely due to greater accessibility, as well as visibility. Additionally, patients enjoy better customer service thanks to up-to-date communication occurring between the clinic staff and prescribers. 

Furthermore, independent pharmacies normally have more flexibility when it comes to the products they carry. On top of that, they pay greater attention to the establishment’s style and aesthetics. This helps them to attract patrons who would otherwise shop at a large chain pharmacy.

Layout is key in pharmacy design

A pharmacy layout with a well-thought-out design is crucial. The shelving systems in pharmacies need to maximize product placement and facilitate easy traffic flow. Moreover, it should maintain clarity in sightlines. Shelving that is custom-made for the retail space will boost efficiency in the workflow and provide a better customer experience. Another key component is the design of the counter, which you can learn more about in our article The Art of Pharmacy Counter Design.

Plan approval

The prescription area, merchandising area, waiting area, storeroom, and restroom must be included on floor plans. Likewise, all partitions, doors, windows, and fixtures should be present to show the appropriate elevations. All of this must be sent to the board at the time you apply for a new pharmacy. Alternatively, it can be before remodelling takes place.

Before you receive a pharmacy permit, the plans must meet the approval of the board. Only then can you finally start bringing your pharmacy design to life.

The prescription area

The minimum size of the prescription area shouldn’t be less than one thousand square feet. This also includes the adjacent patient consultation and information area and drug storage areas. An additional two hundred fifty square feet should be used, but not restricted to prescription retrieval, checkout, and entrance area. In all cases, it must be large enough to efficiently conduct pharmaceutical activities.

All of the assigned square footage space – and that includes adequate shelving – should generate productive pharmaceutical work. In doing so, it will allow for free movement and visual surveillance.

The prescription area should be separate from other areas. Prescription or non-proprietary drugs or devices must be inaccessible to those without authorization. The prescription area and the storerooms need to have good lighting and ventilation. Additionally, it should be free of any unpleasant odors.

Phone and merchandise storage

The prescription department cannot act as storage for merchandise other than those that help go towards preparing or dispensing medical needs. If this material is present, then the area cannot be part of the prescription department.

It would be smart to have a telephone accessible in the prescription area. Additionally, the phone number must coincide with the number that is present on prescription labels.

Including supply air in the pharmacy design

The supply air volume needs to be established in order to properly meet the heating and cooling load requirements. Moreover, the supply volume needs to go through alterations so that it can do the following:

  • Meet minimum air change requirements should the air quantity surpass the heating and cooling load requirements.
  • Sustain the right space pressurization that corresponds with room exhaust requirements.


The sorting, collecting, transportation, and disposal of recyclable material should be subject to analysis by locality. Additionally, it should undergo modifications to better suit local practices and conditions.

Product types that the pharmacy uses, such as disposable and recyclable products, should be a topic of discussion. This is because it is a vital design consideration that impacts an array of factors. These include the physical space, operations of the pharmacy, staffing, and volumes of waste disposal.

Final thoughts

The abovementioned factors are just a handful of the most important parts of pharmacy design. So much goes into creating the perfect health clinic layout and they should not be underestimated. However, now that you have an idea of what to focus on, you are well on your way to designing your ideal pharmacy. If you want a quote for your pharmacy project, contact our Calgary construction services.