Layouts and Space Planning

The daunting task for everyone given the responsibility  for:-

  • An increase in staff numbers - reorganise the existing offices to house the extra people.
  • A decrease in staff numbers - the part of the offices are going to be vacated - reorganise the remaining space to house the remaining people.
  • Moving to new premises - starting with a different shaped building - you have to layout where everyone goes.
  • Improve operational efficiency - reorganise the existing offices to save operational costs by improving work flow and efficiency

Layouts-Space-planningYou may only have to do such an exercise occasionally every few years and the learning curve can be painful and expensive.

We are space planning every day for our clients and - "we have seen it all" our years of experience and expertise is at your beck and call, so why struggle - let us help you. Being at the leading edge of office design we always start with CAD (Computer Aided Design) layouts and the market leading (and now industry standard) software is AutoCAD®. What takes hours and hours with paper cut-outs, post-it notes and cellotape, can be done in minutes with AutoCAD.  

What's next? – the “must have” list and the “wish” list

Before we can start the Space Planning Process you must be able to provide us with the raw data we need to work with. The following section gives you some guidance as to what we will need.

All offices efficiently operate only when the storage issues are first addressed!!

Secondly, make two lists;

a)Must have list.      b)Wish list.

Often, if "wishes" are known about at an early enough stage, some of them can be incorporated as you go along (at minimal cost). Trying to add them on at the end usually ends in tears.

Things on the "must have" list to consider

  • Store rooms.
  • Post/copier/data collation area.
  • Reception - do you really need one? Will it be manned?
  • Kitchen/WC/Welfare facilities.
  • IT room/Data cabinet, etc.
  • Emergency escape.
  • Private offices.
  • Meeting rooms.

Space allocation presents other questions

  • Occupancy levels, head count ?
  • Public/reception/waiting area, how many visitors at a time ?
  • Meeting rooms, how many people in the meetings ?
  • Can some of the meetings be in the offices ?
  • Number of staff affects WC/Kitchen requirements.
  • Corridor/circulation area should be minimised (to make more space).

The furniture itself also has issues to think about

  • Type of usage.
  • Use of privacy/desktop screens.
  • How much paperwork handled determines footprint size.
  • Size of groups, bigger group means less corridors.
  • Ergonomics - you may need to do risk assessments!

Services play a very important role in space planning

Sometimes a few small alterations to the services can enable a far  better layout than first thought;

  • Power outlets, only one plug is required per desk (with cable management).
  • Structured cabling, not enough ? - have you thought of wireless LAN ?
  • Phones, have you planned for a new system ? - the cabling may not be up to it.
  • Voip ? - worth thinking about at an early stage - try to future-proof things.
  • Lighting - very important these days.

Other things often forgotten when planning an office  layout

  • Fire alarm call points.
  • Smoke/heat detection.
  • Fire alarm sounder.
  • Security alarm sensors.
  • Emergency lighting.
  • Fire escape signage.

Finally, try to remember these points

Try to ensure the speed of consultation and information process with your staff exceeds that of the grapevine. There is nothing more unsettling that having a strange man measuring your office, and you don't know why!

  • Not everyone can sit by the window!
  • Someone may have to sit under the air-conditioning unit! - ask first.
  • When you address these issues, try to call us as the first resort, not the last!  - advice is free!

So, what does space planning cost

Generally, as long as we end up getting an order for something, it’s free!    We prefer not to charge for the design work, but to be fair - the time spent has to be in proportion to the order value!    It's also not fair to ask us to undertake speculative design work. If we carry out design work for a project that does not go ahead, or our design is used and an order placed with someone else, we reserve the right to charge for our design work based on time spent.    As contractors, we cannot offer fee-only based services for survey and design work as the cost of this would be prohibitive when the professional indemnity insurance fees are included.

Want to learn more about choosing the right office furniture? then look at the help pages on our website

► Working comfortably

► Create an Ergonomic Office

► Good Workstation Design

► Choosing an Office Chair

► Guide to Desk Designs