How to design a two-story office building

Written by judi light hopson
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How to design a two-story office building
Always place a conference room on each floor of an office building. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A two-story office building can create more flexible work space for various business needs. For example, workers who need to dedicate themselves to phone calls and computer work can find more privacy on the second floor. Receptionists and those who deal directly with the public should have space on the first floor. By creating a productive work space, employees or office building tenants who rent space can decide which offices work best for them. Design the building to work well for future tenants in case the space will be sold or leased.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Copy of fire codes
  • Commercial space design books
  • Office magazines
  • Measuring tools
  • Sketch pad
  • Graph paper

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  1. 1

    Check all building requirements with the local government. Get a copy of building codes and fire safety requirements from building authorities. Plan the building around productive work space and all foot traffic in the building. Include hallways that are wide enough to allow for building occupants or visitors to evacuate quickly in case of fire. Consider windows that are operable for escape and fire escape steps from the second floor, too.

  2. 2

    Look through design books and office magazines. Go over many choices for placing desks and interior walls before deciding on a layout. Measure the physical space for the building before making sketches. Draw individual offices, bathrooms, elevator spaces and stairwells based on how the building will be used.

  3. 3

    Plan the second-story space for private offices. Consider that those working there will need quietness for making calls or discuss issues with important clients. Include a conference room on both floors for workers and business reps or clients coming to the building. Take into consideration that office buildings may require conferences throughout the year that will require kitchen facilities, too. Add a room for microwave ovens and other appliances.

  4. 4

    Design the first floor space with a pleasant entry. Leave room for chairs, space to hang coats and one or two tables for visitors to place brief cases or laptop computers temporarily. Draw a receptionist desk area to create a barrier between visitors and workers. Incorporate lots of natural light, if possible, at the entry space. Include a skylight if a two-story open-to-the-ceiling entrance will be used.

  5. 5

    Use graph paper to lay out both floors. Build all offices to correspond with bathrooms and elevators, so that every worker can move quickly to the elevator, a stairwell in an emergency or a bathroom easily. Plan each office space individually, so that windows bring in natural light. Consider adding walls of glass bricks to face the interior hallways to add more ambience to each office individually.

Tips and warnings

  • Invest more of the budget in the front facade of the building. Future buyers or tenants of the commercial space will get their first impression from kerbside appeal.
  • Avoid building a commercial building with rough blocks as the final surface. Instead, use stucco over those blocks to add visual appeal to an inexpensive surface.
  • Never construct a commercial building with lumber only. Instead, incorporate steel into the skeleton of the structure to provide excellent support in case of fire. Make the building as fireproof as possible in terms of using concrete flooring and tile versus other materials.

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