DEMAND-LED CONSULTANCY

Business space must be able to meet both the immediate demands and the changing requirements of the people who use it.

Each decision about the selection and planning of space must be taken in the context of an understanding of changing patterns of use. Knowledge of the way in which organisations use working space can only come from direct contact; this requires a commitment to supporting an organisation's business objectives, and an organised approach to collaborative working to ensure that these are achieved.

Briefing

From the perspective of a building user, Briefing is the process of establishing the nature of the organisation's requirements and aspirations for its premises - in terms of both quantity and type of space - and an understanding of its changing patterns of use.

The first stage is to establish the size and shape of the organisation, and the ways in which these are changing, to enable the basic characteristics of a building to be identified.

Once strategic decisions are taken (either in the development of a new design or in the selection of a building in the market), further layers of more detailed information will inform the detailed design process, and the allocation - and future re-allocation - of space.

It is crucial that an appropriate level of information is available at each stage of the design process: just as the absence of critical information may generate false assumptions about major issues, so a concentration on matters of detail at strategic design stages can impede decision-making.

We have produced briefing documents for a range of clients, each tailored to a unique set of circumstances and to a specific purpose.

Building appraisal

With a clear picture of space requirements, the tools are in place to analyse available space and appraise its suitability to meet the needs and aspirations of the user organisation.

Modelling these requirements in a way which is consistent with the measurement of the space allows options for different building solutions to be evaluated at a strategic level. Preferred options can be analysed in more detail, and space planning simulations carried out to illustrate the implications of different scenarios.

We have supported a number of organisations in the comparative analysis of premises options, both in looking at different ways of using the space they already have and in comparing buildings available in the market.

Space Planning & Fit-out

Space planning is the process of defining an approach to the use of space in a building, to achieve the best match between the requirements of the user organisation and the characteristics of the building.

This begins with a broad appraisal of overall characteristics, and the definition of a space planning strategy. It continues with a more detailed analysis of requirements and a zoning of the space to accommodate the current and projected requirements of different parts of the organisation. The final detailed planning stage forms the basis for installation of furniture, and defines the ground rules for managing future change.

The design and implementation of an office fit-out involves close collaboration between the designers and occupiers of a working environment; the handover of the completed fit-out marks the final stage of this collaboration and the beginning of the 'real-life' operation of that environment in support of its users' business. At Simon Laird Associates, we are committed to ensuring that these real-life requirements are understood and fully supported, and that the design will remain valid as user requirements change.