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Facility managers employ a variety of tools to understand and manage space for their corporations. To usefulness of these is directly depend upon their facility manager’s ability to collect and analyze data and then apply these tools is a manner that demonstrates to understanding of the organization’s core business, view of space, use of space, strategic priorities and decision-making processes.

In this paper presented some tools used in space management for improving space management activities and space analysis.

  1. Staff forecast summary

A key indicator of growth/contraction: this summarizes informations on number of employees by location and title/level  (current and new hires as well as projected attrition rate and layoffs); is the foundation of effective space management.

Using assumptions about the amount of space required by each employee and function, this tool takes the staff forecast summary and turns it to meters / sqf. The amount of space required to house staff is then combined other space requirement data. This data can be driven by specific business initiatives such as opening of new stores/offices or can simply quantify existing and new requirements for meeting, storage and distributions space. The space forecast summary is the facility manager’s fact-based early warning system for identifying space needs in a timely manner.

Space forecasts can be used as historical documents to measure the organization and facility department’s performance by reviewing forecasted space requirement versus actual space needed. Facility managers who compare this data and highlight the cost associated with successful unsuccessful forecasts can provide valuable information to their executive team. Space forecasts typically range from one or three to five years.

  1. Benchmarking

As an element in the space management toolkit, space benchmarking activities can involve collection/comparison of data on workstation standards, Churn rate, accuracy of space forecasts, and project performance on renovation and relocations (budget/ schedule). Comparative information about performance by other facility departments can be used as support tools by the FM as he reviews alternatives, costs and strategies with management.

  1. Churn

Churn is a term widely used in facility management to describe the amount of movement and relocation of occupants within an organization over a specified period. It is defined as the ratio of the number of employees moved annually compared to the total number of employees in an organization.

Churn rates vary by industry, but an average churn rate of 32% was recorded in IFMA’s Space and Project Management Benchmarks, Research Report #35 in 2010. That means that almost one in every tree office workers relocated their workspace sometime within the previous year.



Churn rates of 50% or greater are usually an indication of either rapid growth and/or significant change. High churn rates have significant impact on the facility manager’s operating and project budgets. The time necessary to oversee extensive relocation activity also stretches the FM department’s resources. For these reasons, the effective FM often uses churn statistics in executive presentations, annual facility reports and budget justification materials to describe workload.

  1. Space standards

Space standards for personnel and support spaces are generally a combination of accepted design elements (standard conference room sizes, file/ desk dimensions) and office/workstations dimensions. The office/workstation dimensions/standards are generally unique to each organization and usually reflect a combination of functional requirements and status.

Since standards dramatically affect the amount of space used by an organization: they are key cost driver. For this reason, must organizations are interested in benchmarking their standards. Some go so far as to use space standards developed by IFMA. More frequently, companies adopt a set of standards jointly developed with interior architects and designers.


The following figure represents the general office type found in a survey of facility managers in IFMA’s Space and Project Management Benchmarks, Research Report #35/2010)



For many years, IFMA has tracked the migration from private offices to cubicles and open seating, i.e. workstations with no partitions or low partitions (30in/76cm). The chart shows the ratio of office types for the past 13 years.


The same study showed that typical office space per worker ranged from a low of about 40 to over 800 useable square feet (USF), and the office size was highest for executive management and lowest for call centers.



This chart shows the amount of individual workspace allocated to specific position levels. As mentioned earlier, more senior professionals and technical staff have lost their private offices, but we also see that their individual space has shrunken as well.



This chart shows the amount of individual workspaces allocated to specific position levels. There are several drivers for the change. These include the reduction of real estate and resulting savings, new technology such as flat screens which requires less desk space, the movement to non-dedicated workspace and a change in culture driven by a younger workforce

The adoption of standards is a key indicator that organization is moving forward in the evolution of its FM function. Standards application and enforcement are two of the greatest leadership and communications challenges faced by the facility manager.

  1. Floor Area Classification methods

In defining space in North America, refer to area in square feet. Europe and much of the rest of the word use square meters. The definition for space measurement varies depending on the audience or client as well as standard classification method used. For purposes such ass facility management, occupant requirements, space planning or strategic facility planning the FM may use various types of building floor area measurements. Most facility manager’s work with architect and real; estate professional to ensure that measurement methodologies are consistent.


IFMA’s Space and Project Management Benchmarks, Research Report #35/2010
IFMA Facility Management Journal – FMJ : http://www.ifma.org/publications/facility-management-journal

Till next time,

Gabriel Oncioiu

Project Manager IFMA FMP