By Dave Clifton
Government buildings tend to serve a specific role: police, fire, courts, motor vehicles, utilities, etc. These municipal functions get delegated to different buildings to ensure they get due attention. But within each need-focused facility, there are a variety of functions that all require different space. As such, government stack planning becomes important.
Consider your friendly neighborhood Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This isn’t just a place to renew your license. Each day, the DMV serves a broad range of purposes from administering drivers’ tests, to registering new vehicles, to title duplication, and more. Different services require different levels of space utilization; as such, a stack plan provides facility managers with a top-down view of available space and how to best-use it.
What is government stack planning?
Government stack planning is a high-level look at different types of spaces and their uses. It’s a simple way of seeing space allocation within facilities by floor, space type, department, and any number of other defining factors. This birds-eye view of space distribution makes it easier to coordinate operations around facilities and vice-versa.
Stack planning is best-used in conjunction with other metrics such as utilization rate or occupancy. For example, consider a stack plan of the local courthouse. It may show that courtrooms occupy 40% of facilities while median rooms take up 20%, and waiting rooms take up 20%, while miscellaneous facilities take up the remaining 20% of space. If mediation room utilization is at 80% almost constantly and waiting rooms hover at 30% utilization, the stack plan makes it easy to identify these inefficiencies and reallocate space.
Beyond recognizing opportunities to improve space function, stack plans also inform floor plan design. For example, if the courtroom decides to turn 10% of waiting room space into mediation rooms, the stack plan may show that the best place to change this space allocation is the third floor—attorneys often migrate from this floor to others looking for mediation rooms.
All in all, the stack plan serves as a high-level look at where space exists and how it’s allocated. It’s useful for influencing workplace operations or shaping facilities around them.
The benefits of government stack planning
Used correctly, a stack plan is a valuable part of a broader facilities management strategy. Combined with utilization metrics, floor plans, occupancy insights, usage trends, and myriad other data, stack plans provide the foundational building blocks for better space allocation. The benefits that follow are numerous:
- More efficient use of facilities, from both cost and operations standpoints
- Better understanding of space allocation and utilization
- Purposeful allocation of space to support the needs of government employees
- Context for broader facilities data such as utilization and occupancy
- Insights and opportunities to repurpose or reallocate space
- Smarter spatial layout of facilities to streamline accessibility
Stack plans allow facilities managers to understand government space at a high level. Even in well-defined buildings, it’s important to know where and how space allocation breaks down, and how that affects everything from the cost of facilities to the utilization rate of specific spaces.
With a stack plan in-hand, facilities managers have the context they need to make sense of other facilities data. Whether it’s reallocating space to better-serve employee needs or breaking down space by cost center or usage, a stack plan offers answers to high-level questions about the workplace.
How does government stack planning software help?
Government facilities range in size and the scope of their operations. Many times, this means dealing with dozens of different workspace types, across different groups of people, in facilities with strictly defined parameters. All these variables make it difficult to visualize and allocate space without the help of software.
Government stack planning software brings cohesion to facilities. Whether used alone or in conjunction with other facility software, the stack plan provides a necessary visual for administrators so they can see the breakdown of where and how space pans out. For example, color-coding employee-only areas in red and common areas in green makes it easy to distinguish allocation based on permissions. Or, the ability to group spaces by location in the building can show potential inefficiencies in the floor plan.
Above all, government stack planning software provides data-driven insights. It’s easy to look at a stack plan and see that 36% of your space has restricted access or that the five courtrooms in Building C take up 61% of its total available space. These top-level insights make stack plans useful in both a governance capacity and for future planning and improvement.
Get a clear picture of facilities
Whether it’s a DMV, courthouse, city hall, or some other municipal building, a stack plan is an invaluable resource for seeing total space allocation. A visual representation of space allows facility managers to contextualize operations to ensure they’re meeting demand. Do you have space set aside to fulfill the requirements of the people visiting your government building? The stack plan will tell you.
Government stack planning is an important tool in both understanding and optimizing space—especially at facilities designed to meet a specific constituent need. The ability to facilitate an effortless, accessible experience is the product of using a stack plan to make sure the right space exists to meet demand.
Keep reading: 5 Pillars of Government Facility Management Software