Building in design efficiencies allows developments to perform and function in the best possible manner. Without considering efficiency, buildings produce waste for the developer in the shape of underused or dysfunctional space, and waste for residents in the shape of time lost or a problematic living environment. Developers must consider efficiency from the start of the design process and constantly check back to see if they are meeting good standards. Below are three handy questions developers should be asking themselves to gauge efficiency standards in the design of their buildings.
Is there any wasted space in the building?
The spaces in a building should add value. If they don’t they are a waste. Value is easy to quantify in terms of rentable space, but what about your amenity, ancillary, and transitory spaces? Is that amenity space really going to make people want to live here? What secondary use could we get out of this corridor other than just allowing people to get from Point A to Point B?
Does the design help the building function as it should?
In residential development, the primary function of the building is to create a positive living environment for residents. This can be achieved through, amongst other things, efficient use of space allowing for good levels of convenience and comfort. Developers must ask if their building design is intuitive. Does it allow residents to move around it easily and are key shared areas easily accessible to all?
Is there flexibility in your design?
One of the best ways to allow for efficient use of space is to enable spaces to have multiple functions. These functions will be different for each space type. For example, an amenity space functioning as a shared dining area could easily be adjusted to provide a meeting or work space. In apartments, flexibility means that the space could be used by various demographics and tenure types. Could a young family live just as comfortably in one of your 2 bed apartments as a couple of young sharers?
Author – Patrick Crowe – Planning and Research Manager – 24th July 2018