Merlin Entertainments has been a long-term customer of BT Office Furniture and has moved and expanded rapidly over the past few years.

The main head office is situated in Poole, and occupies all four floors of Dolphin House near the Quay. Over the past few years the space has been constantly evolving to accommodate more staff and new departments, which has presented a number of space planning challenges all of which seem to have worked with great success!

Around three years ago, the corporate department of Merlin relocated to separate offices locally and took over two wings of one floor at Latimer House, later taking another two wings on the floor above. The corporate department has now grown to such an extent again, that relocation is the only solution.

We have used the following approach on several new customers’ office moves as well as existing customers’ relocations and reworking of existing work spaces:

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As Merlin has already purchased a large amount of a high quality range of office furniture, it makes perfect sense to take the existing furniture with them to their new offices this creates a number of logistical issues: will each member of staff have the exact furniture they have been working on for a number of years, will there be enough space to have the same amount of storage each person is used to, will they be sat next to the same person, how far away are they from the kitchen/W.C. etc.

The only way to produce an initial space plan of the new office layout is to take a full inventory of all existing office furniture and storage, listing each person individually and making full and accurate notes of everything that they use. The next step is to number each person and create a spreadsheet of their furniture and storage and group them in their respective departments. Any new members of staff or potential spare desks also need to be added into the spreadsheet at this time.

Once the full list is prepared the first space plan can be created showing all existing furniture with each cupboard and desk numbered to correspond with the members of staff listed in the spreadsheet. All existing office furniture will also be given a specific colour on the plan. (i.e. all existing furniture would be shaded blue) Once the existing staff have been positioned on the plan, the furniture for any new staff can be shown and now shaded in a new colour, for example red.

In order to produce an accurate quotation, the spreadsheet can now be updated with the new furniture required and a quotation can be generated. This has now created the starting point for Merlin to experiment with the locations of individual members of staff and departments.

At this stage, sometimes sooner, sometimes when the completed space plan has been achieved and sometimes it is not even required, the customer may ask for a 3D visualization of the space. For Merlin, we prepared some 3D visualisations early on in the project in order for them to understand other elements of their new offices i.e. the floor finishes, style of partitioning etc.

The new offices will be completed in early 2009 and all new furniture orders have now been placed.