Tips and advice for planning to build an office block

There’s alot to consider when planning to build an office block, so get some tips on designing and building one here.

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An office block must provide employees with a safe, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment to work in. The perfect office block should be structurally sound, space should be well utilised and furnishing and decor should be suitable for working and relaxing in.

Types of space to consider

An office block will need to include many different spaces; each must be well thought out and the needs of its users met. Consider these areas when desigining an office block:

  • Offices
  • Reception
  • Conference rooms
  • Lobby/Foyer
  • Toilets
  • Storage
  • Canteen/vending machines

These will of course depend on the size of your office block and the requirements of the employees who work within it.

Design considerations

Cost effectiveness – it is often necessary to invest more money in the initial office block building in order to save on long term operations and maintenance. This part of the planning is very time consuming, as it will involve going through all of the costs to be out-laid and deciding whether they will add to the office block and prove an effective investment.

Operational – the office block must fit the requirements of all future intended tenants. This means things such as the overall image, operating hours, room for growth, level of security, special health hazards etc need to be considered. 

Flexibility – a modern office block must be able to cope with all sorts of things. New renovation work, modernisation, modifications and new furnishings, for example. With this specific point there are a few things you can do to ensure your office block is flexible:

  • Think about installing raised floors to enable easy access to cables and power outlets
  • Incorporate flexible features, such as conferencing hubs to allow for daily flexibility within the office block
  • Allow for open plan areas, as you can always use partition walls to create more individual offices

Urban planning – you must think about the effect this office block will have on those who live in the surrounding areas. Office blocks are usually welcomed as they will often boost local economy (by purchasing food and utilising retail services in the nearby area). Consideration to the local transport system must also be given – how easy will the office block be accessed? If it is in a busy city, a large group of office blocks could affect zoning.

Using the postcodes of all the intended occupants, you can work out the best location for the office block. If it is in a hard to access area many of the potential employees will have to relocate, which is not ideal. Consideration will have to be given to the likes of nearby quality of schools, house prices, traffic congestion and even crime rates should the office block be moved to an area which would require occupiers to move.

A lot of thought should be put into the urban planning aspect of building an office block, it is a long term decision that cannot be rectified if found wrong – so make sure you have full planning and building consent. 

Productive – simply put, employers care about employee’s productivity as it costs them money to keep them employed. A multitude of studies have concluded that employees are most productive in good environments that boast clean air, lots of natural light and are comfortable. So what factors need to be considered when building an office block?

  • Encourage fresh air ventilation and if not, at least indoor air quality monitoring
  • Install temperature controls that allow individual users to set their own preferences
  • Incorporate as much window space as possible, as natural light is not only good for physical health but, according to studies, our psychological well-being too
  • Consider a noise control system, especially in open office settings

Security – it is important that your office block remains as safe as possible at all times. For this reason, a CCTV system is highly advisable. A secure locking system and even an entry system may be considered depending on the level of security that will be required. You will also need to consider the fire evacuation protocol.

How much will an office block cost to build?

It depends on the size and scale of your office block; however it will cost approximately £1,650 per square metre for a typical office building in a city.

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