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How does a large, diverse, and dynamic Facility respond to the constant requests for new and additional space? This is one of main parts of Facilities Management: Space Planning.

The facility planning role involves programming, working to understand how the space was used previously, the current status of the space, and what the future plan is for the space. Programming, the foundation for the design effort, is essential to informing the design aesthetics.

Even after a project has been planned, sent off to construction, built and completed, planning is involved in data collection, with an inventory of each space being documented every three years. Data collection of floor plans is ongoing because many changes that occur do not result in renovations. Once gathered, this information is widely used throughout the facility. Grant contract accounting uses information to track grant progress and overhead. Operations & Services uses it for energy management of buildings. Environmental Health & Safety collects floor plan data for its records. Information Services & Technology uses the data to map its networks.

The Planning Group

The planning phase includes data collection, an understanding of who’s in what space, how the space is used, and document management. Document management involves floor plans, past records of plans, and renovation work—basically, all documents related to a project.

The Design Group

In close consultation with facility clients, a staff of professional space planners and designers develops programs and plans to meet the need. The associate director/designer works with two full-time designers, a full-time consultant, and a Co-op group of design students to source materials and put together rough plans to get an idea of the project’s budget and scope. Projects can be as small as renovating an office or classroom to as large as 33 Harry Agganis Way! Often, these large-scale projects require the expertise of outside consultants.

Aside from documentation, the other side of planning is more interactive. Unlike most of the facility departments, summer is the busiest time for the Design group. From upgrading rooms to planning out larger building projects, summer is the season to begin construction and coordinate moves.

After programming schematics, plans, specifications, and construction documents have been determined, Planning & Design hands over the project to Construction Services, which oversees the construction and execution of the plans.

Under the guidance of the SPACE Committee and the sub-SPACE Committee, the Planning & Design group makes recommendations and presents them to the facility provost, senior vice president for operations, and the president for suggestions and final approval.

The sub-SPACE Committee includes:

  • Planning & Design
  • Construction Services
  • Vise president Office
  • Budget Office

Any time there is new construction or interior renovations on facility, the Planning & Design group is heavily involved.

Written by: Mohammad AlQara’wi, Facilities Management Expert

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