A space planner is a professional who is responsible for assessing a business's space needs and figuring out the best configurations for improved workflow within a space. A business may hire a space planner to assess an existing building or space, or the business may hire the planner to find a new space that will better suit the needs of the company. Space planners generally need to have experience in the industry combined with education that will prepare them for the job. College degrees in business, design, engineering, or other related fields are generally required.
It helps if the space planner has experience or training using computer aided drafting (CAD) programs. Such programs allow the planner to figure out how to best utilize space and manipulate various layouts to find the ones that work best. Other computer software may be necessary as well, so the space planner will need to undergo sufficient computer training in order to qualify for such positions. Moderate to advanced math skills will be required, as will exceptional communications skills; the planner will be responsible for discovering the needs and desires of businesses and translating those needs and desires into usable data.
One of the skills a space planner must develop is an ability to read blueprints and schematics. Using these plans, the planner is able to determine space availability in a building or structure without necessarily being in that building on-site. Other useful information can be gleaned from such blueprints, such as the location of fire exits, ventilation systems, heating and cooling elements, stairways, elevators, windows, and doors. All of these elements will have an impact on how the space planner makes determinations about the most useful manners in which the space can be used.
Before a single piece of furniture is moved or a wall knocked out, the space planner must draw up a report that will be easy to understand for employers or investors. This means compiling data about a particular space, business needs, and permitting or construction issues. The overall cost of renovations or moving will be included in the report, as well as mock-ups of various designs that may work for the space. This data can be presented to a business as a proposal that can be altered once the business has an opportunity to process the new layout of the space. The planner must work closely with the business to ensure all needs are met.