Who is Integrated Strategies?

March 13, 2008

Modular Wall Systems

One of the biggest questions on the minds of facility managers across the country is how to incorporate green products while saving money. The largest on-going cost in most facilities is churn caused by growth/contraction/relocations. Construction costs are regularly planned into the budget to make sure everything is in place for optimum performance. To that end I'd like to talk about movable wall furniture systems.

Almost all of the major workstation manufacturers have begun development on modular office systems. It's a natural progression to extend panels to the ceiling and provide attractive options outside of workstations and cubicles. The tough sell is that currently the cost is higher in most markets than traditional drywall construction - often high enough to put it outside the budget of your average company. Another difficulty is that since it is classified as furniture it is often excluded from a landlord TI allowance. However there is a growing trend in the real estate market for landlords to pay for these style walls within the TI assuming that they stay with the building at lease end.

With that being said, there are significant advantages to looking in the direction of a furniture system instead of traditional construction. The most important to a facility manager is cost. Wall systems are made to last up to 15 years. A typical payback period for a system of this type should be measured in terms of number of moves instead of years. Walls that are built to move are a cost avoidance over traditional construction. The electrical and data systems within them are built to be plug and play which makes things twice as easy. It is not uncommon for these walls to pay for themselves after even 1 reconfiguration. In more expensive construction markets they may even be the same price as traditional office construction.

The second reason is they are built to be environmentally friendly. If you are looking to have a LEED or environmentally certified space then these walls are the only way to go. Their use eliminates construction waste, they are often made from recycled materials and they can be reused many times. For a modest to good payback you are able to do your part for the environment.

If you are looking to undergo a workplace design change talk to your furniture vendor about this option. You may find that it fits well into your already existing plans. Or you can always contact us for help. We're always willing to talk construction methods.

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