The companies most in need of space planners, professionals say, are small- to medium-size firms with no in-house space planning or facilities management capabilities and no national support. These are generally firms that occupy between 5,000 and 25,000 square feet of space and might have left the job to the office manager. But because of growth, acquisition of a new computer system or other changes, they now find that isn't good enough.
Once hired, the space planner typically starts out by assessing the company's space needs and developing a "program" that will guide the design. That program may be determined by consulting with senior company officials, interviewing other employees or distributing a questionnaire. Such information-gathering can help reveal the "corporate culture" of the company, including the office politics.
From the information they gather, planners can determine how much space various employees need, which departments must be close to each other, who needs an office vs. a partially partitioned workstation and other specifics. From these requirements, they develop floor plans, furniture specifications and other drawings that address the client's needs. Besides rearranging furniture, planners most likely will develop drawings that show how the space is to be reconfigured, including changes in walls, doors and mechanical systems.