Open office layouts of commercial office space have become very popular in recent years as some companies find many advantages to this type of setup. Almost any floor plan can be remodeled into an open one; however, it is important if you are a business interested in this idea to first discuss it with your tenant representatives searching for available office space.
Office tenant reps know that some landlords will not agree to open office plans for a number of reasons.
Occupancy and Building Code Limits
Besides being more comfortable, one of the goals of open floor plans is to make more efficient use of leased commercial office space. This often means that a business can have more employees in a smaller, efficient office. While this may be great for you, your tenant representative knows it could be costly for the landlord, who must comply with local occupancy limits.
More people in a building may mean having to put in additional restrooms or affect certain safety codes. When faced with the issue of maintaining code compliance, most landlords prefer to avoid the expense of making any changes.
HVAC efficiency will also be affected in buildings with open floor plans and more people who will occupy the space based on a closed office plan. The addition of more people reduces HVAC efficiency, so keeping the building cool can be more expensive.
Office tenant reps know that landlords can remedy this by increasing the HVAC systems; however, doing so can be expensive. Considering that an open office plan may a temporary, landlord may not be interested in making this investment.
Another potential concern tenant representatives could encounter is lack of parking spaces. If building occupancy increases when a commercial office space is redesigned to an open floor plan, there may not be enough parking spaces. Although this should not affect a building in a more urban area where employees take public transportation or park in parking garages, office tenant reps know it can be a problem for a building in a more suburban area.
Generally speaking, parking lots for a building are designed to include a certain number of spaces for every 1,000 SF of leased space. More staff working in a building means some parking lots can't accommodate all employees. Expanding parking lots may not be feasible or desirable in many instances.
If you are a business working with tenant representatives in a search for commercial office space, you need to carefully consider creating an open office floor plan. This may work well in some buildings that can accommodate an increase in occupancy; however, it may not work in others. Inform office tenant reps of your desire to have an open floor plan. Rather than a landlord refusing an open office plan after negotiations begin, representatives can simply focus on finding landlords who are "open" to open offices!