The client, a national industry body had reached capacity within their existing fitout. Having previously worked with the client to make small alterations to their existing space and investigate future layouts for the space, they decided that it was time for a fresh start. The existing fitout itself was fairly dated and had been added to on an adhoc basis in order to accommodate growth throughout the years. The original fitout was based on an “office heavy” model where the built environment outweighed open areas and had subsequently led to a silo effect on staff within the organisation.
Moving would allow them to correct their current working environment in order to produce a more efficient outcome for both staff and investors. A review of the current needs of the business, departments and staff was completed, involving extensive interviews with managers and stakeholders from each department to ascertain their needs and requirements for office space going forward. These interviews included discussion of what currently worked well (or did not) so that any issues were not replicated in any new office environment.
Upon completion of the interviews, a full report outlining all input on the current space, as well as priorities and functional requirements for a future space, was prepared by Plan A for review by the Board. A space analysis was also calculated and both tools were used to review the suitability of their existing premise for refurbishment and to look for potential new premises. The aim of this review was primarily to maximise the outcome, work environment and productivity for staff, yet also to make savings for investors through efficiency of floor space use etc.
The new brief for the space was to provide an inviting, modern environment with a holistic and consistent approach to accommodations for staff (desk size, storage etc). Ready access to collaborative areas, quiet areas, hot desks and meeting rooms – which were severely lacking in the existing office – were also identified as important. A front of house area with larger meeting rooms for use by staff and investors, presentation spaces and a central “Staff Hub” were other key desirables for the new environment. New works were to be aware and conscious of outward optics and that the business needed to carefully consider and manage the expectations of stakeholders. Therefore any new building location or work environment needed to be professional yet not lavish.
During the property search, Plan A provided Test Fit services for spaces in which the client was interested, in order to gauge its suitability and responsiveness to the brief and determine how their specific requirements could be interpreted into that space.
The final destination selected was over 2 floorplates of which the client only required part of (1 full floor, 1 part floor). Plan A then worked closely with both the client and the landlord’s representatives to outline and secure an appropriate portion of the floor for the new tenancy. Plan A was then engaged for design and fitout works which commenced immediately.
Close consultation was ongoing throughout the entire process with both the clients Steering Committee (Management Group) and Working Group (formed from interested staff members from each department), so that all staff were kept well informed and had direct input into the look, feel and functionality of their new space. Numerous concept boards were presented to the groups for review which were shared, feedback gathered and finishes tweaked in order to arrive at an overall concept which staff were eager to see implemented. The layout process occurred concurrently with the design concept – after much discussion we were able to refine the varied floorplan options put forward into the final layout.
Upon final approval of layout and concept, Plan A prepared concept and finishes boards for presentation to the Board and display to staff, and organised a workstation prototype and a 3D rendered walkthrough of the new office. These were all useful tools in communicating the design intent and functionality of the new space, and built a sense of excitement among staff during the construction phase.
During the construction period, Plan A attended weekly meetings with client groups and provided regular progress reports, updated programmes and organised site walkthroughs for interested staff, so they could see first-hand how the new space was taking shape and relay their enthusiasm back to other staff.
After a 20 week build (including full demolition and base building upgrade), and much anticipation, the completed project was handed over and the new work environment is worlds away from their previous one. While there had been some initial apprehension amongst some staff about moving to a more open plan setting, feedback has indicated that everyone has settled into their new surroundings and are thrilled with the new environment. The more open plan nature has led to a more comfortable work environment due to increased natural light flow and better AC performance, and the abundance of both private and collaborative spaces are a welcome change from their previous office.
Key take away points
Plan A can assist in all phases – from pre-move (determining space requirements, feasibility studies, information collection and brief preparation), property selection, design & documentation, change management and project/construction management.
Clever space planning allowed more workstations and more facilities for staff in less space – giving an annual saving in rent.
Design to budget
Achieving the correct aesthetic based on the client’s requirements
Reduced space from 2500sqm to 1600sqm, which reduced fitout costs by $800K and annual rent by $600K
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