For any company of a reasonable size it’s safe to assume that its premises and the facilities located on those premises are one of the biggest expenses that the business incurs. Therefore, in order for the company to control this cost, the workspace the company utilizes must be properly optimized and made as efficient as possible. Over the course of the last couple of decades companies have been gradually reducing the amount of office space that they occupy in order to rein in costs and make savings wherever they can. While this trend looks set to almost certainly continue, as companies attempt to offset other expenses, such as energy, which are ever increasing, there are ways in which the workplace can “streamlined” in a financial sense while still being able to meet dynamic requirements. The use of flexible furnishings can help to achieve this objective and the number of companies across Canada and the rest of the world that are utilizing demountable wall systems in their office spaces is rising.
Demountable wall systems are designed and manufactured offsite (most of the time they are 90 percent complete when they arrive at the installation site) and fit together in a modular fashion to offer business owners a very time and cost effective way to adapt their workspaces to their exact requirements, whether that be a more collaborative environment or a segmented one that offers more privacy. And if purchased from a reputable firm, demountable wall systems are available in a virtually unlimited range of materials and finishes, meaning you are not forced to compromise on the appearance in order to get the other benefits such a system provides.
Just How Are Demountable Wall Systems Helping Businesses to Cut Costs?
Having walls constructed onsite is typically a much more labour-intensive process and consequently it works out a far more expensive way of shaping the interior of a building. Below we are going to discuss several ways in which demountable wall systems can save your business serious amounts of money from the outset.
- Faster Installation Reduces Project Cost – Modifying a standard sized office space can take several weeks when standard drywall construction is used, using a significant number of man hours. However, as demountable wall systems are designed and then manufactured in an offsite facility, the whole process is considerably quicker. To give you a better idea, an area measuring 16 x 12 ft can quite comfortably be finished off within a single day. Quicker installation results in less labour (see page 6) to pay far and brings the initial cost down considerably. However, the true savings aren’t made right away, since demountable wall systems often cost more initially compared to standard drywall. Interested parties have to look past that cost to the long term savings! In 2002 a pilot completed in Washington D.C at the GSA Office of Real Property utilized modular construction and yielded a 25 percent saving in construction costs per square foot.
- Architects & Engineers Are Not Required – Another aspect of traditional drywall construction that can cause further complications and increase the project cost is the need to consult a specialist, typically either an architect or a structural engineer, to check that the planned building work is safe and meets all building regulations and codes. With most modular wall systems this is not the case since they are pre-engineered to exacting standards and comply with local building codes. Architects and engineers are a hidden cost that you won’t have to deal with.
- Installation Easy to Coordinate – Modifying an office space with drywall construction often requires the involvement of several different types of contractors in the installation process to make sure everything meets regulations. Finding, scheduling and coordinating multiple types of tradesmen can be a real drain in terms of time. However, when you opt to utilize demountable wall systems to modify your premises, the supplier of the system will often be able to provide a dedicated team of trained installation contractors to take care of this process, freeing up your time and saving you money.
- Less Impact Upon the Company’s Earning Potential – A business needs to be fully operational in order to generate revenue and meet its true earning potential. However, if a construction project renders a key part of the company’s facility non-functional for a period of up to several weeks (which is not uncommon with traditional building methods, as mentioned earlier), the cost to the company can be significant, as productivity and output can be severely affected. However, when architectural walls are utilized instead, because the typical installation time is so much quicker, the affect on the business’s earning potential is much less significant. For a company that operates on a large scale, this can result in savings that creep into the tens or even hundreds of thousands.
- Very Little Clean-Up After Installation – Traditional construction is not just inconvenient in terms of the delays that it causes; it’s messy too. You’ve probably been present at some kind of construction site at some point in your life and, if you have, you’ll remember that they are very dusty. Dust can be very harmful, meaning the space that is being modified must be properly sealed off from other parts of the company’s facility. This could further affect the staff’s productivity, seriously hampering the workflow process. But that’s not the worst of it; conventional drywall construction requires a relatively intense cleaning process afterwards to make the space 100 percent functional once again. This means even more expense to hire the labour and further delays. When modular wall systems are installed, there is very little dust or debris generated, meaning not only is it not necessary to seal the area off, but this also reduces the clean-up time once the installation is complete, saving you even more on labour.
- Accelerated Depreciation – Traditional drywall construction takes a total of 39 years to fully depreciate, while modular wall systems are able to utilize a much shorter depreciation cycle of 7 years. This is due to the way to two different construction methods are classified. Drywall construction, once completed, is considered a permanent addition to the property and is classified as “real property.” However, since demountable wall systems can be disassembled, packed up and then reassembled in another location, they are classified as “tangible property” and therefore qualify for the shorter depreciation cycle. This can allow the company to offset the full cost of the system against taxable income over a relatively short period. If you are unsure of how depreciation of business assets works in Canada, see this page.
- Reduces the Financial Impact of Churn – Churn is a term used in facility management and refers to the continuous cycle of moves and modifications that take place within the workspace over the course of a year in order to meet the company’s requirements. If a company had a churn rate of 35% over the course of 2014 and there are a total of 500 workspaces at the company’s location, this means that 175 workspaces were either moved or modified during that period. As you can probably imagine, if a company has a relatively high churn rate, this can have a considerable financial impact on the business. How is this countered? There are many factors that can impact the churn rate and it’s often not practical for a business to simply stop these moves and modifications as this might seriously impact some of the business’s core processes. Churn will always be an issue; companies just have to find ways to lessen its financial impact and that’s exactly what demountable wall systems do. These systems are considered “flexible furnishings” and allow companies to adapt the floor space at their location to meet ever changing requirements without incurring additional costs (or only minimal costs). With traditional drywall construction, the company would have to pay a fee every time a modification is made as in most cases the existing wall must be ripped out and then the construction process starts from scratch again.
Depending upon the exact modular wall system that is selected, the initial direct cost that has to be paid is often comparable or slightly in excess to that of drywall, but through the indirect and long-term savings, many of which we have outlined for you above, demountable wall systems can save a company a significant amount over the course of its usable lifespan. And that’s another cost saving factor in itself; demountable wall systems have a far longer usable lifespan than drywall does. If your company decides to completely remodel its current office space once, it can still be used, if you remodel 10 times it can still be used. Even if you move to another city altogether you can pack these systems up, take them with you and use them to sculpt your company’s new workspace. That’s the unique ability that demountable wall systems have and it’s one that can contribute significantly to your company’s bottom line.