Space Planning 101

There are as many design concepts and visions in space planning as there are designers but let’s face it, what we all really want in this profession is to close the deal!


The faster the overall team can agree on a design layout that works, the sooner that deal can happen. This applies to ground-up projects as well as tenant improvements in all market areas.

Here are some tips you can share with your clients that may make this process as smooth as possible:

• Typically tenants don’t know the purpose for a meeting with a space planner: Educating your clients regarding the purpose and process of design will result in more productive meetings.

• Ask your client to be thinking about why and what they are wanting and needing in their new space and to come to the space planning prepared.

• Often we hear “We want it like this place only better”. Ask your tenants to reflect on what they like and don’t like about their current space and evaluate their future needs.


The following is a quick programming guide:

• What is your current staff level along with their positions?
• What is your five year staff projection?
• How many staff members need to be in private offices and what are their approximate sizes?
• How many of your staff need open office spaces.
• What is their level of privacy?
• What kind of circulation and room adjacencies are required?


Group spaces:

• Reception area: Seating for how many guests?
• How many conference rooms are required and what are the number of seats in each?
• Do they require a break room – how many seats?
• What are their Copy/File/Storage needs?
• Are there any gathering spaces for informal meetings required?
• What is the level of privacy required throughout the space?
• What are their technology requirements?
• What is the overall look and feel they are looking to achieve?


Although this is not intended to be an exhaustive programming list, it will provide you with the basic questions you can ask a potential tenant that you can add to over time. Don’t be afraid to ask your tenants to be prepared prior to any meeting. The result will be a faster and more accurate design process allowing tenants to move into new lease spaces sooner and more pleasant experience for all.


Jonelle Vance, IIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President |
EV&A Architects–Celebrating a Diligent Decade of Design | Follow us on Facebook