What Does a Facilities Planner Do?
A facilities planner is a person who analyzes a space for potential use for a company, business, government entity, or other occupant. He or she will also be responsible for negotiating terms of a lease or sale, populating the space with furniture and other supplies or equipment, and inspecting the space regularly for safety standards and efficiency. Other duties may be associated with the position of facilities planner, and the person who takes such a position will usually have a college degree or relevant work experience to give him the skills necessary to complete the job effectively.
One of the key responsibilities of a facilities planner is preparing the layout of a space for the intended use. In other words, the facilities planner will need to measure the space accurately to determine how the layout should be drawn. If the space is intended for office use, the planner will need to figure out where furniture will go, where cubicles will be set up, where safety equipment such as fire extinguishers should be located, and where walls can be built or torn down to maximize effective use of space. He or she will also need to ensure all entrances and exits are clearly marked and unobstructed at all times.
Another key role of the facilities planner is adherence to safety regulations. In hospitals, for example, the planner must account for the safety of workers and patients by ensuring walkways are easily navigable, the layout encourages easy access to stairways and elevators, and computer equipment and other electronics are installed in such a way that cords cannot be tripped over and shock hazards are reduced. Even the flooring materials are considered by the facilities planner, as carpeting must be installed so no loose ends are exposed and no rolls or lumps in the carpet exist. Materials used for flooring, construction of work surfaces, and other applications must be fire retardant in many cases, and the planner must ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.
Construction and renovation projects are sometimes overseen by the facilities planner. This means he or she may be required to have the skills necessary to read blueprints or work with computer design programs. He or she will need extensive knowledge in construction processes and materials to ensure all renovations or repairs will last a long time and will resist the need for immediate future repairs. The planner will work with a construction foreman to ensure all codes and regulations are adhered to.
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