A good project design should focus on the needs of the user; typical requirements in respect of design are identified as Functional, Structural and Services based.


Functional considerations

The public area in an office project, for example, the ground floor foyer, lift lobbies and lift car interiors, should make a maximum positive impact on prospective tenants and should be
constructed of durable easily maintained materials. An efficient net leasing area to gross building area ratio provides a measure of value against capital expense and will be closely scrutinized by an investor.
Office space should be preferably column free with perimeter column spans facilitation the construction of a standard office configuration. The floor should be designed to provide
minimum wasted space when subdivided.
Tenants prefer generous window areas, good artificial lighting, quality carpets (80/20 or 100% wool) and well presented amenities areas.
Sufficient easily accessible car parking is essential.
In short, a tenant requires maximum inbuilt accessibility to cater for his present and future needs.

Structural Considerations

Major cost savings can be achieved in this area by comparing alternative structural systems and
selecting the most appropriate for the project.
Designers continue to design project with inherent problems –
a) Non-waterproof facades and roofs.
b) Poorly detailed plant room floor tanking systems.
c) Poor slam deflections.
Project subsidence problems are common. Many architects design projects with limited thought
being given to future cleaning difficulties. More project owners are insisting on the provisions of
project maintenance units, which can reach all parts of the external façade.

Services Consideration

a) Mechanical
An air conditioning system must be of adequate design with spare refrigerant and
heating capacity. The system must perform within acceptable noise levels and have the
flexibility to provide conditioned air to small spaces at a reasonable running cost.
Equipment and controls must be reliable and regularly maintained.
Many investors provide improved air filtration systems in response to user tenant wishes
to reduced potential health risks. Government departments are increasingly seeking
higher standards in air circulation, number of air changed per hour and location of air
Design and placement of cooling towers and their handling units to avoid potential
health risks (e.g. legionella) is a major consideration.

b) Lifts.
Waiting times and round trip times should compare favorable to other similar buildings.

c) Electrical, fire and communications.
Systems should be designed with maximum flexibility to cater for tenants present and
future needs.

d) Security.
Tenants, for example in office building, expect card key access control systems for car
parking and perimeter access. A well designed security system becomes a marketing

e) Building automation.
An investor expects to gain cost efficiencies from the planned operation of building

f) Energy utilization criteria.
More sophisticated project owners require project services to perform within
predetermined energy utilization levels.

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