A new-faced workplace
With a changing economy comes a changing workplace, as many design firms are finding today. Building owners and developers are now looking to build flexible work spaces that can be reconfigured as their needs change.
"We're seeing more and more demountable wall systems being used in office buildings, for one," says Kimberly Surratt, senior designer with WorkPlaceUSA Design Group, a design-build firm specializing in interior design and workplace programming.
According to Surratt, more companies are choosing to spend their money on these movable wall systems, "so they can re-arrange and re-use walls to make office areas into conference rooms and back again. They even want to take their investments with them if they move."
Surratt's last three projects employed demountable wall systems, a trend she says can be economically prudent for some building owners when compared with traditional gypsum drywall construction. Although, at 60 cents per sq. ft., the costs for demountable wall systems exceeds the up-front costs of drywall, she says her clients are realizing that these systems are not only quicker to install and environmentally friendly, but they can be a better financial investment in the long run. "It is becoming a company standard to use demountable wall systems, especially for large corporations who plan to expand," she says.
In addition, Surratt says "green" products, such as carpeting, wall covering and textiles, are becoming increasingly popular.
"Their prices haven't come down enough in today's market [to be used across the board]," Surratt says, "but people are beginning to inquire more about them."