Making Better Use of Space; There Are Still Thousands of Pounds to Be Saved in the Private Sector by Effective Office Space Rationalisation but the Signs Are That Complacency Could Be Setting in According to Nigel Mason, Partner at Rider Levett Bucknall

Article excerpt

Byline: Nigel Mason

The topic of space management is at an all-time agenda high for the Government which has realised it could save billions of pounds by consolidating its own substantial work space use.

The public sector has taken its lead from the private sector which occupies office space, on average, at 12 sq m per person. Government statistics suggest personnel occupy office space at 25 sq m per person and the UK's health and safety executive says we must all have six square metres as a minimum.

With the government aspiring to reach pounds 1.25bn savings according to the OGC's efficiency standards for office space report, the possibility of reducing costs via a space rationalisation initiative is one that has to be taken seriously.

However, having being the energetic driver of the revisiting space programme, private sector activity seems to have slowed right down, with many companies assuming that they have done all they can to save costs after a bewildering two years of recession.

The private sector needs to keep pace; the spin off benefits of greater efficiency are many and the necessity to keep the building sustainable is a given.

Effective space rationalisation hits the bottom line well. In terms of outlay, commercial office space is an expensive necessity so why pay more than you have to? More efficiently planned space can create a better working environment for staff which has an unarguable effect on retention rates as well as attendance, and is also an opportunity to deliver improved IT, heating and cooling systems at reduced running costs and lower CO2 emissions. Greater flexibility can be built in too; being realistic, a company will sometimes need more or less space depending on its workloads, market conditions and office requirements and fixing permanent space solutions is now a thing of the past.

The process starts with a simple measurement and analysis of the work space to establish and the ratio of number of workstations to the available office area. …