TZL 932

THE ZWEIG LETTER | OCTOBER 24, 2011, ISSUE 932

GUEST SPEAKER

Partners in space Firms can help clients

managed by an organiza- tion’s internal facilities group – or sometimes the brokerage community – there is a compelling argu- ment as to why the design firm would want to partici- pate in this effort. How can a new partner-

web-based management tool will allow tracking of the occupants by location (butts in seat). Why is it important to track down to the occupant level? xz By maintaining where people are located through a move/add/change process, the client can continuously monitor vacancies and work to reduce under-utilized space. No one wants to pay for space they don’t need. xz When tagging departmental at- tributes to individuals, the client can begin to monitor how a profit center is managing their area. If general over- head is allocated to a profit center based on space requirements, then the profit center becomes incented to only use the space they need. xz A client needs to track and manage direct employees and also any contract or consulting resources tied to a depart- ment. Many times these resources aren’t tracked through the HR systems, but certainly there is a cost to house them. Tracking all types of resources allows a more complete picture of space requirements and occupancy costs. xz It’s the law! In some jurisdictions, there is a requirement (known as E-911) to provide individual location information to EMT responders. xz When monitoring and maintaining occupancy information, the design professional can provide strategic support by determining which depart- ments are trending toward growth or compression and how the space is being utilized. These insights can be factored into future strategic planning efforts. Recommendations based upon trending data can help support a client’s future real estate strategy and contribute to appropriate real estate decisions. By bringing low-cost CAFM options to the client and partnering in under- standing and managing their space and how their resources work within that space can position the design pro- fessional as a trusted partner. Demon- strating to the client that a beautiful space can also be cost-effective and efficient will galvanize the relationship and hopefully lead to multiple assign- ments in the future. Mark Welch is the owner of Mark Welch International, a business strategy consulting practice focusing on the AEC industry. Contact him at mark@mtwintl.com.

Mark Welch

manage their real estate. A s design professionals we are committed to giving clients the best of our services, resulting in in- novative, efficient, dynamic, aestheti- cally compelling and sometimes, yes, award-winning solutions. We believe that clients commission us to bring best of practice ideas to their work environment, allowing for improved retention and staff productivity as well as becoming a magnet for attracting high-talent employees to their organi- zations. In turn, by leading our clients to differentiate themselves from their competition in these areas, we can demonstrate the significant value that can be driven from our enlightened design and delivery approaches. But is this enough to win work? The truth is, many – if not all – design firms are offering the same elixir. Most firms can offer relevant portfolios with compelling case studies or stunning photography. Some firms measure the productive gains from their design so- lutions utilizing research data as well as pre-occupancy and post-occupancy survey results, suggesting a purposed foundation to their design philosophy. Do these approaches help you retain the client relationships that have fu- eled your success? Will they spark the curiosity of potential new clients? Is what your firm is offering truly differ- ent than your competitors? If it is becoming more and more dif- ficult to differentiate the value of your firm’s design and delivery approach, how else can you demonstrate the kind of thought leadership that helps build trusted relationships? One way is to partner with clients (potential or existing) in the management of their physical spaces. After all, who is better positioned than the design profes- sional to provide guidance and direc- tion overseeing the portfolio of leased and owned space? While facilities and workspace have traditionally been

ship between client and designer help reduce capital outlays and position the design professional to become a stra- tegic partner in important business decisions his client is confronted with? What are the alternatives to expensive and cumbersome CAFM (computer- aided facility management) systems clients have purchased to manage their real estate assets? Recent developments of third-party- hosted, web-based occupancy and space management solutions reduce the upfront expenditure for the client and provide greater flexibility, allow- ing for enhanced analysis and strategic dialogue between the parties. The ser- vices provided and the data captured become the instruments of the trusted partnership – not who owns the ap- plication software. Here are important touch-points where the design firm and client can partner to bring advan- tages and savings with a client’s real estate requirements. xz Pre-selection phase: Collaborating on a BOMA study of the space – this study, based on BOMA Standard of Measurements, calculates the R/U Ratio (rentable versus useable square foot- age). A study on behalf of your client may provide a competing calculation to the landlord’s rentable square footage. A small difference in this number extrapo- lated over a long-term lease can result in significant savings. xz Design phase: Once the drawings are loaded into the web-based tool, the designer can utilize this information to provide space planning services. Some tools allow for what-if scenario planning that documents multiple layouts and of- fers options. Integrating departmental requirements (current and future) into the planning process can also contrib- ute to the development of design. Some web-based tools also facilitate the stack- ing analysis, bringing greater efficiency and utilization of the space. The cost of this service is small when compared to the resulting value that is generated. xz Post-occupancy phase: A robust

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