HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT OFFICE

By Diane K. Sumner, B. Interior Design, U of Manitoba. Member of DINZ

WHAT TO LOOK FOR…

If your firm is quickly outgrowing your space or if you're just wondering whether there's a better deal out there, then read on.

In this article Diane Sumner discusses issues when considering leasing office premises including 15 point checklist to get you started.

Start planning early
If moving is not an option, but a necessity, get the process started as soon as possible. It can take 4 months to a year to get from initial planning to moving day.

Consult key people
Before you look for outside help, talk to the heads of all your internal departments to assess their needs. Once you’re ready to consult an expert, recognise that an agent may not be enough. Designers can help determine the actual amount of space and layout needed.

Wish List
Be prepared to be asked basic questions such as how many employees, how many private offices, meeting rooms, and which groups should be near each other.

Prepare a budget
Be realistic about what the costs are. Research the market and find out what rental costs are and what incentives are available.

Location, location, location
Location might be your hardest decision. In addition to size and budget, keep people in mind. Consider staff and access to motorways & bus routes. Also cross-reference that with the locations of clients and suppliers to start your search.

No harm in looking
Follow these steps even if you’re not sure you want to move. The only way to leverage the landlord in your current space is to be considering a shift. He may be prepared to upgrade your existing premises to keep you as a tenant.

The key to negotiating the best lease agreement, in the right location, is to define and understand your spatial needs and wants at the outset of your search. There are a variety of issues that should be considered prior to starting the office location decision process.

"Malcolm & Sumner listened to our needs and grasped the concept of our ideal office model. Using the curve shape of the building to advantage, we were able to achieve our ideal office layout and provide a circular flow. Everyone can see each other and feel part of the group."

- John Appleby , Principal 
Ladbrooks Solicitors

We have included a 15 point checklist to help you to evaluate your premises.

  1. Features
    Best 3 features of current space, worst 3 features
    Most important features wanted in new space
  2. Site Location & Accessibility
    Geographic location
    Motorway access
    Site access
  3. Timing
    Occupancy date
    Time line for decision making process
  4. Lease length & options
    Lease length – 3, 6 or 9 years
    Expansion, extension, termination adjoining space
  5. Budget / Costs
    Rental & operating costs
    Incentives, rent holiday
    Fit-out costs
    Moving costs
  6. Growth projections
    3 years
    5 years
  7. Employees
    Number & Future growth
    Sizes of offices and work areas
    Natural light
    Special needs / storage
  8. Layout Type
    Offices vs. open plan
    Work areas
    Storage
    Office and Warehouse space as a % of total space
  9. Work areas
    Types
    Sizes & Equipment
    Special electrical / data needs
  10. Amenities
    Parking – number on site, total required and cost
    Toilets / shower
    Staff area, tea-bay
    Food outlets
    Day care
  11. Service Systems
    Voice / Data
    HVAC (Air-conditioning)
    Lifts
    Hours of operation, after hours needs
  12. Security
    Building
    Security systems
    Secure car-parking
    Neighbourhood
  13. General Feel
    Age of the building
    Spacious or efficient
    Lighting / ceiling height
    Quality of materials, fittings
  14. Identity & Image
    Signage
    Visibility
    Quality of building
    Location in building & on floor
  15. View
    Building and floor size
    Can the view be built out?

"We are very pleased with the outcome. The building is excellent and our offices are light & bright. We have provided an ergonomic environment and our staff love it."

- Gordon Lamont , Managing Director (Former)
Canon New Zealand Limited

You’ve probably been talking to realtors and they’ve suggested various options. How do you weigh up the pros and cons when comparing buildings? Which one offers the most when considering your criteria? Which one offers the best value for money?

Malcolm & Sumner have developed a series of discussion papers. These are available free on request. Two of our most popular are:

ARE YOU LEASING THE RIGHT SPACE?
7 KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER…
…A detailed discussion paper looks at 7 key categories to help you evaluate new premises.

MOVING OR UPGRADING YOUR OFFICE SPACE?
PLANNING A FIT-OUT
…A detailed discussion paper to help in the shift-stay decision plus a 17 point guide to what’s involved in organising a fit-out.


We welcome your call or e-mail. To arrange a meeting to discuss your office layout or to organise our Spatial Assessment Package please feel free to contact:

Malcolm & Sumner Design
T:  09 916 5187
E: ms@malcolmsumner.co.nz
W: www.malcolmsumner.co.nz
MAKING SPACES WORK

“Integrating space, technology, people & image”