Space management is the time-consuming process of controlling, assigning, and managing the difference spaces within a building. Spaces can be anything from rooms and units to corridors. Proper space management is important for more than just planning flooring replacements.
Square footage is used to evaluate:
- Tracking room capacity or occupancy
- Calculate rent in commercial facilities
- Plan remodels
- Calculate space to room occupant ratios
- Track billing, revenue, costs, and grants
- Tracking asbestos
Often facility management teams struggle with space management because there are different teams within an organization that could benefit from the data. With different collaborators working on space management there is an increase in discrepancies and inaccuracies. To avoid these annoying aspects of space management, use these following strategies to optimize your maintenance team and make space management more bearable.
Collect Accurate Building Square Footages
Square footage is one of the most important data points to track in any building. It is used for occupancy, custodial planning and budgeting on a regular basis. However, square foot measurements are often inaccurate and inaccessible due to constant building remodels and updates. This means time will be wasted recreating this information or trying to retrieve it when it is needed.
Stay on top of the madness and require that your architects and contractors provide an accurate space inventory during building turnover. Set a plan in place to keep these numbers up to date. With architectural fees averaging over 1 dollar per square foot, it is substantially more expensive to recreate building plans than it is to maintain them.
Make sure your building plans are easily accesible and versioned to make it clear which one is the most current. Due to the fact that buildings are constantly changing, square footage should be reassessed at least every four years in health care, education and other institutional facilities.
Integrate Space Management Software and Maintenance Databases
On top of needing accurate square footage, as stated before there are several different groups within an organization that would benefit from square footage information.
- Leasing groups
- Human resource departments
- Grant allocation teams
- Maintenance teams
- Construction planning teams
With so many groups needing access to this information, it is more than likely that there are multiple software programs involved or locations where this data can be accessed. Keeping this is mind, there are several opportunities to make this data inaccurate. To avoid this, space management databases need to be integrated or at least synchronized to a common denominator at key points throughout the year to ensure that everyone involved is using the same space data.
It is a hassle to synchronize multiple databases manually. Using a space management software that allows you to export data allows you the freedom to switch between programs without having to tediously add everything in. Also, look at the customizability of the space management software you use. The ability to customize a program makes integrating data substantially easier as you can personalize data fields and match the unique workflows of your organization.
Stop Using Spreadsheets
It is common to use spreadsheets to hold space data. They are readily available and familiar. While it is a powerful tool for transferring or manipulating data, your organization should never solely rely on this tool. Spreadsheets do not update as the spaces in your building change as they are merely a snapshot in time.
Organizations run the risk of using outdated or inaccurate data when different management groups collaborate around a spreadsheet. Buildings are constantly changing as are the square footages of spaces. There’s really no control with a spreadsheet as there is no way to tell who made the changes and when.
Taking note that different groups need space data, spreadsheets also make it hard to collaborate. Everyone involved most likely has a different level of experience is using spreadsheet software. With the freedom to manipulate data in the sheet at anytime, this opens the door to more inaccuracies and unstandardized space data. Much time is spent formatting and organizing spreadsheets to meet the needs of the organization. Investing in space management technologies gives you control over space data and allows you to synchronize your database across organization departments. These programs pay for themselves by simply standardizing data and reducing wasted time looking for or recreating information.
The Power of Accurate Space Data
Square footage is crucial for benchmarking and planning in facility management. While there are different types of square footage and different uses for each, accurate square footage and a controllable, integrated space database is critical regardless of your goals. Incorporating these strategies into your organization will save time and money by allowing your team to become truly proactive in facility management.
Looking for a way to get accurate floor plans? Check out our 5 Steps to Accurate Floor Plans Guide.