Office Design Trends for 2021

It seems like everything has changed this year, including the spaces we work in. While some continue to work remotely, others have headed back to their place of employment.  

Businesses have adapted to the changing times, implementing new protocols to keep their employees healthy at the office. However, all of this leads to the question: 

How will office design trends change?

With two new commercial build projects happening in 2021, we’re excited to create office and retail spaces for a diverse range of tenants, all the while keeping in mind function and safety. 

Below are some ways we expect commercial design to change: 

Layout

An open office design is popular among many companies. An open layout uses floorspace more efficiently than multiple walls and doors, but it also means people are working closer together. 

Some designers believe the open office layout will begin to fade, though others disagree. 

“There’s a lot of benefit to spending time near daylight and fresh air, and an open plan facilitates that,” said Kevin Van Den Wymelenbery, Director of the Institute for Health in the Built Environment.

Those who want to keep the open feel, ensuring there is ample space between workspaces is a great place to start. Another option is to install glass walls or tall plexiglass dividers to help create separate work areas. 

Airflow

No matter the layout, airflow is one of the most critical factors of new commercial space design. With the right HVAC system, increased outdoor airflow and filtered air improve indoor air quality for all. Rather than circulating air in the room, new systems will pull exhaled air out of the room and push in filtered air. 

Surface Finishes

Construction materials, especially those used for shared surface area, may also begin to change. Germ-resistant materials that prevent the growth of viruses, bacteria, and mold can help stop the spread of all infectious diseases. In addition, touchless technology will continue to see a rise for doors, elevators, and bathroom fixtures. 

As we get ready to work with client for these new spaces, we’re excited to incorporate new design trends to make every space functional and safe for all!

What is MEP Engineering?

When building, people are often amazed at the floorplan, visual aspects of the structure, and the timeline.

The behind-the-scenes (or in our case the behind-the-walls) elements don’t garner much attention. Yet the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems keep people comfortable. 

What are MEP Systems?

MEP stands for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. Let’s break down each system here:

  • Mechanical. Mechanical systems include heating and cooling systems, allowing people to stay comfortable inside, no matter the temperature outside.
  • Electrical. Electrical systems keep us connected. We all know how inconvenient it is when the electricity goes out. Electrical systems keep the lights on and other systems running.
  • Plumbing. Plumbing systems provide clean water for drinking, bathing, and cleaning while removing wastewater. 

 

What is MEP Engineering?

MEP Engineering is the design and construction of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in a building or residence. MEP engineers, or consulting firms, are often used when large buildings are being constructed. They design, estimate costs, and build MEP systems so that the interior spaces are ideal for comfort at home or work.

Benefits of MEP Engineering

It may seem pretty straightforward to install heating, cooling, lighting, and plumbing in a building. When done poorly, it can result in uncomfortable conditions: too hot or too cold, poor lighting, noisy HVAC systems, and inefficient use of energy. 

When strategically designed, MEP engineering can:

  • Lower costs
  • Improve lighting
  • Improve heating and cooling
  • Solve water or plumbing issues
  • Conserve water
  • Conserve energy
  • Automate building systems
  • Improve concentration and mood in the workplace
  • Increase comfort

While MEP Engineering may not be necessary for a single-family home, thoughtful planning and design in offices and multi-unit residences is essential. 

Recycling Construction Materials

Sustainability and green living is becoming more evident in homes and workplaces. It’s one thing to create a green finished product; it’s just as important to make the construction process environmentally friendly. 

Construction & Demolition Materials

Many of the materials used in construction can be recycled. Construction & demolition (C&D) waste comes from building and tearing down houses, buildings, roads, and bridges. C&D materials can be recycled in the following ways:

  • Concrete rubble can be reused in new projects. 
  • Wood can be recycled into mulch, compost, animal bedding, wood pellets, and more.
  • Gypsum drywall can be recycled into new drywall, in the production of cement, and as an additive to composting operations.
  • Asphalt can be recycled an endless number of times, as it never loses quality.
  • Metals can be sent to metal scrap yards and reused.

Additional materials that can be recycled include glass, cardboard, and paper.

Many C&D materials can be reused. During a demolition or remodel, items that can be reused in new projects should be removed carefully before tearing anything down. Items that can be reused include:

  • Doors
  • Hardware
  • Appliances
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Windows
  • Brick and masonry
  • Excess insulation
  • Paint
  • Packaging materials 

Benefits of Recycling C&D Materials

In 2015 alone, 548 million tons of C&D debris was created, with 90% coming from demolition, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling construction materials has both environmental and economic benefits. 

When recycled materials are used, the consumption of natural resources is decreased, saving energy. By reusing materials, less waste goes to landfills. Since landfills are filling quickly, it often costs more money to dispose of materials than it does to recycle them. This can help to reduce the building project expenses. 

Whether recycling of reusing materials, planning is essential to fulfill rules and regulations. Local recycling centers, landfills, and waste departments all work with construction companies to reduce waste and achieve green building practices. 

 

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