Converting To Office Space In A Commercial Building
It is important when designing an office layout that you maximise the space whilst ensuring everything is done to the correct specifications for fire safety, disability etc. Normally building control will be involved too. Let’s assume you have office on a first floor. These are the main factors which will normally affect your layout;
- Depending on the size of the floor, it may have 1 or 2 fire escapes. If you have 2 escape routes, these will more than likely need to be joined together in some way so if there was a fire, there is an option to use either escape. If the stairs are not in the building yet then be careful where you are planning to situate them as they will govern how the corridor is laid out and where it will run.
- Ventilation also plays a critical role, if you have a very large floor area and are planning to fit internal offices with no windows then you are likely to require an ‘air exchange system’ to pull air in ducting to the rooms with no windows. Air exchange systems can be very expensive so opting for slightly larger offices and ensuring they all have their own window might be a better option if you are on a tight budget.
- As above, if each office has its own window, then there will be natural light and the office being inhabited will not feel closed off to the outside world. Natural light plays an important role, if you have skylights anywhere, not only can they be a nice feature, they can also save on electricity bills through natural light.
- Disability is also important, if all your office space is situated on a 1st or 2nd floor then you may need to make lift access in order to avoid discrimination. Lifts can be expensive so splitting the floor space across the ground and another floor might be the best solution.
Keeping It Cost Effective
Depending on the commercial building, if you are building the offices within a prefabricated building, then you are more than likely going to have to factor in for insulation, the larger the layout, the more difficult it is going to be to heat, especially if it is poorly insulated. Each office could either have its own storage heaters and run off electricity, this is also perfect if you wish to sub-meter the offices to rent them out. If you have gas, you could install a boiler system, this would also run the hot water. Again, the bigger the layout, the more expensive it is going to become.
The next issue to consider is rentable value and business rates. If you don’t own the building but invest a lot into the building and change what is considered ‘storage space’ into ‘office space’, then on your next rent review, your landlord may decide to charge an increase in rent due to how you are using the space. Also, when you have a business rates review, the local council is likely to decide that the office space has increased the rentable value and therefore charge you more going forward. Again, be careful to only make the office area as large as you are likely to require it. The following article should help you decide how much office space you are likely to require.
Once you have decided roughly what you would like, it is then worth consulting with a architectural professional that can design the office layout to your specification. Architectural technologists will often use AutoCAD to design a floor layout that works. Above you can find a serviced office floor layout that was done for The Storage Works in Great Harwood. They provide office space rental in Blackburn and the surrounding areas.