Interior Office Design – An Overview of Designing Floorplans for Offices

Interior office design is a lot more complex than interior design for residential projects and in this article I will provide a basic overview of what is involved in the first task of most office interior design projects, the floorplan.

Interior Office design Floorplans

The interior floorplan of an office or layout as it is often called is the first task in planning an office. Spaceplanning as it is often referred to is a specialized skill and not only requires good creative problem solving ability but also specialized knowledge of building standards as well as knowledge of the company’s requirements who will reside there, commonly known as the client or tenant.

The process and aim of the floorplan layout is to achieve a plan that meets all of the companies requirements in terms of how many offices, meeting rooms, storage areas and so forth and also complies with the relevant regulations and standards.

The floorplan will also include designs for many technical and engineering services such as:

Electrical designs for lighting and power

Emergency services designs for exit signs, emergency lighting and evacuation warning systems

Designs for all communications services for phones and computers

Designs for Fire sprinklers of fire detection systems and also fire hose reels

Designs for Air conditioning

Designs for plumbing services

Designs for security and access control systems

The floorplan will also need to meet some specific standards such as:

Emergency exit or egress compliance to enable safe and fast evacuation in the event of an emergency such as a fire.

The disabilities Discrimination Act or DDA which ensures safe and easy access for persons with a disability such as wheelchair access.

Various Standards applicable to the country which cover standards for Air conditioning, fire services, partitioning and many others.

Any other local authority standards

Building Codes applicable to the country

General Health and Safety standards

Achieving the Clients requirements and general workflow issues

The floorplan needs to be designed with consideration for not only all the standards required but also what the client’s requirements are as well as general good design practice for work flow and effective working environments.

Some of these issues are as follows:

Achieving the amount of offices, meeting rooms and open plan workstations required by the client.

Achieving adequate general facilities such as storage areas, printing areas, filing areas and staff amenities such as kitchens and toilet facilities.

Effective positioning of offices and workstation work areas to maximize access to natural light.

Consideration of main workflow spaces and circulation corridors.

Location of public areas such as reception and meeting rooms to avoid disruption to the general office work areas.

Location of heavy load storage systems to ensure structural integrity of the floor.

Strategic positioning of break out or staff relaxation areas.

Specific furniture and equipment planning

Lastly the floorplan will also need to be designed with specific furniture and equipment requirements in mind. Consideration needs to be given to access to equipment and adequate working spaces. Some of the issues to be considered here are:

Flow space around busy areas such as printers, photocopiers and large plotters.

Flow space and access to staff facilities such as kitchens, water stations and toilets.

Adequate personal workspaces and interaction

Flow spaces and landing areas to meeting rooms, conference and training areas and reception areas.

All these issues need to be considered by the Designer when spaceplanning and the skill and expertise at which this is done can have a big impact on the effectiveness and harmony of a workspace. In the commercial world this can be instrumental in keeping clients or losing them as well as building solid professional reputations. For clients or tenants these issues can have a real impact on the productivity, performance and well being of staff and in turn the performance and profitability of a company.