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A Basic Guide to Space Planning

Basic space planning principles and methods for commercial offices.

Have clear goals

Before you go too far, stop and ask yourself what are the specific outcomes that the space planning exercise needs to produce to be successful?  Also, what are the company goals and plans that may affect your office redesign?


Get a blank floorplan to scale

Before you can start, you will need a good plan of the area-to-scale.  If you don’t have one, then you will need to measure the area carefully and draw a scaled plan.  Make sure you have identified all doors, windows, power and data points, radiators, anything else that needs to be accessed like light switches, air-conditioning or thermostat controls, fire alarm call points, fire extinguishers etc.


Clearly identify your requirements

Note the size and make-up of the different teams that need to be accommodated in the office space you are designing.  Who works with who or needs to communicate regularly with who.

What are the requirements for the workstation?  How much space does each person actually need?  What is the ideal shape for the tasks they perform?  How much personal storage space do they need?

Then identify the other shared facilities that are needed e.g. central storage, meeting facilities, printers and copiers etc.


Start space planning

Start with sketching out the main walkways that will need to be kept clear.  For smaller offices, make sure you maintain at least 750mm clear walkway including any pinch points.  If there is any possibility of wheelchair users using the area, then you need to provide a minimum of 900mm width.  However, we would recommend working to 1000mm or 1200mm if possible.  You also need to bear in mind fire escape routes.

Next roughly sketch where different departments or people should ideally be positioned to facilitate good communication and also positioning of shared facilities to avoid needless time wasting.


Space planning the furniture

If you are planning banks of workstations with persons sitting back to back, then the recommended gap between desks is a minimum of 2000mm and, if possible, as much as 2200 or 2400mm.  This may vary depending on the size of chairs being used, the nature of the work being performed and also the number of workstations in each bank. Remember to consider access to power and data when positioning workstations and office machines.

Don’t forget to allow for informal meeting space within the main office and also give full consideration to adopting elements of agile working.

Space Planning Guide CTA - Hampshire Office Furniture

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