When you enter an office or retail space where the fitouts have been done with proper space planning, you notice it. On the other hand, a poorly designed office feels odd – you would not feel comfortable working in it and neither do the employees. An office that looks good, has used very good materials in the fitout process but does not have proper space planning done would be such a waste of an opportunity.
So what is Space Planning
When you have a bare shell space to fitout a new office in, or are looking at renovating an existing office space, the first step is space planning. In commercial and retail fitouts, it is space planning that defines the usage of every square foot of the floor area. Architects and interior designers first create the layout floor plans of an office space and retail space. They use space planning as a technique to decide what area or facility needs how much space. Space planning often involves the following:
- Meeting employees and potential users of the space being planned to understand their requirements
- Planning seating the number of users who would be using the space
- Deciding how many meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, interactive common areas, or if it is a retail outlet, things like shelves and display areas are needed.
- The requirement of washrooms, pantries etc need to be planned.
- Common areas such as staircases, elevator spaces, corridors and movement space need to be planned
- Planning not just current requirements but also to consider future requirements if any
- Documenting all the ideas, requirements and restrictions of the office or retail space.
- Creating a floor plan that incorporates all of the above within the defined shell space.
Some of the common objectives of space planning are to:
- Ensure that each square foot of the space is best utilised
- Make best use of available natural lighting when planning spaces
- Plan the flow of movement in the office space
- Make the utilities easily accessible
- Consider the impact of noise and acoustics in the space
- Ensure that space planning delivers a highlight functional office or retail space
- Satisfy employees and make them comfortable
- Ensure that spaces planned will fit into budgets available for the fitout
There are several benefits of space planning. When a fitout is being done of an office or retail space, it is expected that it will last several years and will be highly functional, so that the investments being done are recovered. Space planning adds to those expectations and offers the following benefits:
Improve customer/client experience
Whenever a customer or a client enters a retail or office space, they should be impressed not just by the look and feel of the space, but also by the intuitiveness of the design and its functionality. A strategically planned space will enhance a visitors experience and in the long run, result in business growth.
Increase productivity and efficiency
A well designed and planned space will ensure that employees are happy – they become comfortable in the space leading to lower attrition rates and higher productivity. Space planning also ensures that there is efficiency in the operation of the space – in consumption of energy, water and other resources as well as in the time consumed to access various facilities in the building.
Provide space for growth
Space planning ensures that if the office needs to grow or if the retail space needs some more storage space as an example, there is ample space for growth. Planning ensures that these requirements are thought off before the fitouts are done and provisions are left such that in the event of a growth, minor modifications can be made and the additional space requirements are incorporated within the space. This will reduce investments in newer spaces.
Optimise investments in the fitout
A well planned space is designed in such a way that the investment in the office space is optimised. Investments can be planned and adjustments made at the planning stage to ensure that the fitout is finished well within a budget. Investment can be saved and overall cost reduced in several ways at the planning stage.
Enhance the life of the office / retail space
A well planned space will last long and will not require renovation or major modifications for a long time. This will ensure that the investment done is recovered back. Not only will the office feel functional and good for all for a longer time, the spaces can accommodate growth and future requirements too.
Considering all the benefits, it makes a lot of economical and functional sense to plan spaces before execution of fitouts for office or retail spaces. Newton has been through several such planning exercises and brings to the table over 25 years of experience in interiors and construction. Do contact us for more information.