No major move is undertaken without a floor plan or layout for the new space – but this is really a basic requirement for practically every move, irrespective of its size or scope. Ideally, the floor plan(s) should be based on properly measured layouts, or ‘as built’ drawings, which take account of the reality of construction rather than simply the design. Messing about during a move because your floor plan is a few centimetres out will not make you a happy bunny. Smaller businesses moving into leasehold premises may not always find it easy to get an as built floor plan, but there should be some sort of plan that forms part of the lease. Always check dimensions and note the position of services before working out what you want where – exactly the same as avoiding putting the wardrobe against the only power socket in the bedroom when you move house. Clearly, if you have a great deal of critical equipment requiring not just power, but also water and drainage too – for example in a laboratory or production facility – then the position of services usually needs to be determined very precisely.
Some larger organisations have the luxury of in-house space planners. Space planning should form part of the design brief for any new or refurbished building/space and the service can also be procured on a modular basis from freelance practitioners or professional practices. Some furniture suppliers will also provide ‘free’ space planning as par of the service when you buy their products. Here are a few good practice tips for organising space plans:
Try to ensure that plans are created electronically in a file format that can be read and edited by other people (the industry standard is ‘AutoCAD’) and that a copy of files in that format will be provided on completion of the business in addition to hard copy print-outs. Even if you cannot open the files, someone else will be able to – and that will save you time and expense when you need the plans in the future. And assume that you will.
Make sure the costs for additional designs and drawings are clear at the outset.
If you’re getting ‘free’ plans from a supplier, make sure they will include significant items that you will be moving, as well as their own products.
If CAD software is being used, you’ll need different layers showing, for example, services, floor boxes, furniture, reference numbers – etc. Layers can be turned on or off to provide whatever information is needed. You will need relatively clean, uncluttered, plans for the move itself.
For heaven’s sake, make sure each new set of plans has an issue reference or date. This is good practice even if you’re sketching out plans by hand. It sounds obvious, to make sure that everyone works to the same plan – but you’d be amazed how often it doesn’t happen – even in larger organisations.
Finally, make sure everybody that needs to understand the plans can read them.