It’s sometimes difficult to get a fix on exactly how architectural walls can help your business. There’s a lot of contradictory information out there put out by competing elements in the construction trades. And to top it off many business owners still view these innovative construction materials as a kind of mysterious, unreachable star only the most well-heeled corporations could possibly afford. So what is the reality and just how can you decide if they’re something that could benefit your organization in the long run?
First, it might be helpful to know why architectural partitions walls are such a hot topic today. It’s not simply a matter of them looking great (although they certainly do) nor is it a matter of one company trying to simply keep up with Jones Inc. It runs deeper than that. Much deeper, and speaks not only to corporate or institutional identity but to survival in a world where competition can come from any corner of the globe at any time.
How Did We Get Here?
The modular office is something that didn’t explode onto the scene so much as it seeped in. Modular walls have been around for decades but until the turn of the century their use was largely confined to convention centers across the USA, or airports or even some educational institutions. There are a lot of reasons why they eventually migrated to the office sphere including changing technology, the shift in the economy from industrial to post-industrial, the breakdown of traditional competitive relationships and free trade agreements that created an overriding need to get and stay competitive.
Slowly, inexorably as these changes (and others) took hold business owners began to look for new ways to get more out of their very expensive office spaces. This required a fundamental shift in attitudes from the old – the office is the fixed center of the business around which the constituent parts revolve like planets ‘round the sun – to the new – business is a kind of improvisational theater and the office is the stage. Like a stage you need to be able to move things about freely to accommodate the ever-shifting narrative and fixed wall construction was a major impediment to that.
Architectural Walls: Where We Are
Those who have seen the light and adopted the flexibility of the theater (or the convention center which is basically the same) have been reaping the rewards while those who have clung stubbornly to their fixed office worldview have suffered by comparison.
Architectural partitions not only provide design flexibility but open up a space to natural light, thereby reducing energy costs. They also allow for freer flow of air throughout the office making it a healthier environment in which to work, which result in fewer sick days.
Here are some other ways by which architectural office walls are benefitting companies who’ve embraced them:
- They provide long term savings – Any drywall contractor will tell you modular walls are more expensive than drywall. The honest ones though will admit that those same architectural partition walls will save business owners a boatload of money in the long term. That’s because, while the initial installation costs may be slightly higher than drywall, future reconfigurations can be handled overnight by regular maintenance staff. No more weeks of expensive, disruptive construction just to move a few walls.
- They slash maintenance costs – Unless you’re into a kind of grunge look for your office you’ll need to have your drywall painted every few years and union painters in big cities in the USA aren’t cheap. Also drywall is susceptible to cratering as well as puncturing if someone or something falls against it. And again, unless you’re into the run-down look you’ll need to have that addressed. The maintenance of architectural partition walls typically comes down to periodic dusting or wiping with a clean cloth.
- They help save the earth – As nice as those stories about colonizing Mars and beyond are the fact is if we don’t take better care of our planet there won’t be any human race to move out into space. Architectural partition walls from I-M-T are produced from more than 95% recycled materials and at the end of their decades long life they can be completely recycled themselves, thus breaking the cycle of primary resource waste and eliminating untold tons of poisonous construction materials from landfills across the country.
- They create a better workforce – Readily available data shows that employees are more willing to work harder for a company that provides a vibrant, modern working environment. Those same workers also display greater company loyalty which has the effect of reducing another major corporate expense: churn.
- They provide tax incentives – Architectural walls are considered furniture or office equipment by the IRS meaning you’ll enjoy accelerated depreciation over the course of a scant 7 years. While drywall construction is considered a capital improvement and is depreciated over a full 29 years.
Where We’re Going
So just where are things going? Well, with the business environment in a perpetual state of flux these days the need for flexibility is more pressing than ever. As such more and more companies are coming the same conclusion: architectural partitions are the way to go. But while we’re confident in the future of our industry we’re taking nothing for granted. As such our designers and engineers work tirelessly to refine our product offerings to make them ever more attractive, durable, affordable and effective.
As we move into the heart of the new century I-M-T will be there leading the way with innovative office solutions that help our clients get the most out of their space. We’re committed to helping you ensure that when the winds of change shift your company will bend like the willow rather than break like the oak. For more information on how beautiful, affordable architectural partition walls can help your company become more versatile and more profitable contact the pros at I-M-T. We’ll show you how to transform your office from a stagnant cost generator into a dynamic engine for growth and sustainability.