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Making Best Use of Commercial Space

Utilisation / Density Surveys


A recent UCL survey identified that on average across the UK every desk space (at the minimum area requirement of 4.6m² per person) will cost approximately £6,500 per annum in rent.


When considering an average £2,000 per m² build cost for office space, this amounts to £9,200 without considering any costs for the purchase of land and the on-going operation of the accommodation.


It is therefore incredibly important for both businesses and the public sector to make best use of their commercial space in order to either maximise profits or avoid wasting Government funds.


1st Planner developed all of our tools and processes within the education sector making best use of existing schools to provide for the rapidly growing pupil population. We have then modified and applied the same tools to commercial and other public sector assets.


Our granular and detailed approach to our work means that we can deliver significant value to our Clients through identifying and communicating where efficiency gains can be achieved through better utilising their estate.


1st Planner has established a 5 stage process, which we follow to complete the survey and produce the reports:


Phase 1 – Define Extent of Buildings within Scope Phase 2 – Update/Draw CAD Plans and 3d Models Phase 3 – Survey Scope Development

Phase 4 – Utilisation Surveys

Phase 5 – Report Production


It is essential that a detailed understanding of the buildings "Users" and "User Groups" are established and that their common working routines are identified as early as possible.


The surveys are completed and the information on both "utilisation" and "density" at a site, user and user group level is collated.

Within each of the user groups, the various disciplines can be coded by both "type" and "frequency" of occupation. Established space standards are used or when unavailable calculated in order to compare the actual usage against a benchmark.


The results of the surveys can be used in conjunction with representatives of the Users and/or User Groups to realise "Immediate Wins".


Workforce forecasts and projections can then be completed based on business plans or population growth to establish medium and long range estate utilisation strategies.

Case Study
Community Solutions / NHS / Nottingham City Council
1 st Planner were commissioned to complete a utilisation review of four NHS LIFT buildings across Nottingham City.
Procured on a 25 year lease, these buildings are occupied by a considerable number of different User Groups and were believed not to be operating at full capacity.
The survey was a joint commission where the building owners, operators and occupants were provided with a detailed, quantitative assessment that provided a foundation for the development of utilisation plans of the four facilities.
Outcomes & Achievements
  • 52.5% average utilisation

  • 46.25% average density

  • 1932m² available space

  • £3.8m build cost (at £2000 per m²)

Client Testimonial

"1st Planner was appointed to conduct utilisation surveys on a number of facilities jointly occupied by NHS and local authority bodies. The complexity of occupancy provided a significant challenge for 1st Planner but by working closely, and patiently, with all parties and their representatives 1st Planner was able to produce reports which were invariably of value to the tenants. As a result, both the NHS and local authority are now well placed to improve their use of the surveyed buildings."


(Peter Jones - Regional General Manager, Community Solutions)

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