Office layout: What you need to know

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Office layout: what space to choose and how to fit it out? In the life of a company, its premises are as important as its activity and the people it employs. A reflection of its culture, a company’s offices must be selected with consideration of the nature of its business and, of course, the number of its employees. But before choosing future facilities, it is important also to consider how they will be laid out.

A regulated and limited space

Administrative buildings are subject to specific rules, governed by the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines, as well as various government regulations (accessibility for the disabled, green spaces, etc.).

The rules are designed to specify the requirements of health and safety with respect to employees of a company, as well as in relation to visitors. These provisions must be considered when designing, constructing and fitting out the premises.

To each his own space

When choosing premises, one of the most important criteria is their envisaged future use. Besides the fact that the space rented or purchased must be conveniently located for the company’s activity, one must also consider the potential for fitting out the space.

For example, the number of workstations per floor is limited for reasons of:

  • Security: Each property stipulates in its “safety data sheet” the maximum number of occupants allowed (to enable evacuation in case of fire, for instance);
  • Regulation: The theoretical workforce represents the number of persons likely to be in the building. It is equivalent to one person per 10sqm and is used to determine the width of corridors, the number of emergency exits and the width of stairs. Also note that the number of toilet facilities determines how many people can occupy a floor: one toilet is sufficient for 10 women and one urinal for 20 men.
  • Technical specifications: The greater the number of people in the building, the more dense the heat input, which requires strengthening airconditioning and increasing fresh air intake.

Spaces adaptable to your needs

Whether you manage a company of 15 or of 1500 people, the question of the layout of the office space should be asked early in your exploration.

The same space can be partitioned in different ways, within a maximum area that depends on the configuration of the premises.

The different types of layout are:

  • The open-plan office: An open area containing walls of a maximum height of 1.60m. The total area should not exceed 800sqm.
  • Partitioned offices: Each separate office is defined by four complete walls around an area not exceeding 50sqm.

Which layout to choose?

Which feels right for you: open-plan or partitioned?

To decide, you should consider how the installation of your workforce will ensure that their working space is conducive to their daily activities.

Often, office space combines two types of layout:

  • Open-plan areas host teams comprising at least three people, who rub shoulders with other teams in the same area who occupy separate sets of desks;
  • Partitioned offices which are often reserved for managers or serve as meeting rooms.

In this case, it is necessary that the office space provide a good mix of open and private spaces, where employees are able to meet or collaborate with colleagues, or to work quietly and alone as the need arises.

Also note that offices of any type must comply with fire safety standards (as defined by the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines, the Fire Department, the City of Luxembourg, etc.).

The role of the project manager is to assist owners and tenants with the technical compliance of the premises, so that they will be validated during the final inspection visit by the competent authorities.

Do you want more information about your future office layouts?
Contact our team responsible for Project Management and Fitting-out.

First posted in French on 10 January 2014 by Coralie Delferier
English translation by Tia Azulay, Web Consultant, RealCorp Luxembourg.

Project Management

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