By Dave Clifton
There’s a finite amount of space on military bases and in military facilities. These spaces need to accommodate very specific activities and applications, which means tremendous emphasis on military space planning. Facility managers need to not only understand the nuances of everyday operations, but the demand for space and amenities that come with them. You can’t send soldiers to the mess hall for range training, just like you can’t conduct an intelligence briefing in the cafeteria. Space needs to meet demand.
The inflexibility of many military applications makes space planning a difficult endeavor. How do you ensure everyone has exactly the space they need to fulfill a specific activity, while orchestrating numerous other (equally as specific) opportunities around them? It comes from a clear and present understanding of what space is available, what demand exists, and the path of least resistance for joining the two together.
What is military space planning?
Military space planning is the act of orchestrating space with purpose in mind. It takes into account the complete scope of base operations and ensures everyone has the space they need to accomplish a specific task. To do this requires a comprehensive understanding of both facilities and demand for them.
Take something like a five and dime (commissary). The base needs a specific place to house this building, and the building needs to have enough space to accommodate inventory and the number of people browsing it. This requires no small amount of planning and space allocation. The same goes for just about anything else, from a shooting range, to the base’s hospital facilities, to the armory and more.
The benefits of space planning for the military
Space planning is a complex process because it needs to balance space allocation with demand. Just because you have 8,000 square feet to dedicate to a new guard post doesn’t mean you need to devote all of it to that application. Instead, space planning involves looking at whether that’s the most efficient use of space and what other demands exist for it. Striking a balance between allocation and application results in a number of benefits:
- Base facilities become more accessible to constituents
- On-base personnel have the space they need to do their jobs
- The cost to taxpayers drops as facility efficiency conserves funds
- Fewer overlaps and interruptions ensure smoother base operations
- Enhanced safety, security, and privacy in well-orchestrated spaces
- Easier navigability and wayfinding on a well-organized base
Ultimately, the benefits of good space planning manifest themselves in smoother base ops. Whether it’s employees doing their job, visitors to the base, or enlisted servicemembers going about their day, well-planned space supports the ever-active environment that is an army base.
How does military space planning software help?
Military bases are sprawling, with dozens of facilities and thousands of individuals relying on them daily. Coordinating everything with cohesion isn’t a manual process. Space planning software is essential in allowing base administrators to recognize need, review opportunities, and create space that bridges the gap.
For example, a base might be considering a new on-premise research facility. That facility needs 20,000 square feet to function. Space planning serves an important role in approaching the decision to adapt existing facilities or build a new building. Software makes it easy to understand available space and opportunities for new construction, and to plan for either option accordingly. Such is the case for any situation involving demand for space—or the opposite: repurposing space to create future opportunities.
The true benefit of military space planning software is in data readiness. Digital insights allow for better decision-making about facilities and space, with quantifiable insights behind them. It puts base administrators in a position to think quickly and act decisively, which is especially important for military space that could see rapidly changing demand. Software provides agility where and when it’s needed, without compromising solutions.
Stringent space governance at all times
There’s little-to-no margin for error in military facilities. Government employees need exactly the right space to conduct specific business, and they’re relying on the facilities around them to meet those needs. For barracks for soldiers to sleep, to briefing rooms where officials exchange sensitive information, to correctional facilities to deal with insubordination, every unique space plays a role. It’s up to facility managers to plan for these spaces, so they meet demand.
Beyond having the right facilities available, stringent governance is essential. This is more and more why military administrators turn to space planning software. The ability to plan, govern, and understand the finite amount of space available to military personnel results in optimizations that improve utilization. The result? Better efficiency and reliability where they’re needed most.
Keep reading: Military Space Utilization – No Square Foot Left Unused