“The test fit will change?!” squeaked Bob, pen poised over his notepad. “Why?!” I had a bit of an ‘er…’ moment before replying “Well, it’s, um, just a test fit” trying hard to not infer anything negative, like surprise. “We have yet to engage with the business.”
It turns out that Bob was used to using the test fit to define his final proposal, fixing very early on what he would be delivering. The old process ran with this and simply absorbed any issues that arose.
So what is/is not a test fit?
- A test fit makes sure the building you like will actually fit the needs and requirements of the business and local compliance.
- That’s it.
To explain, let’s roll back the process a bit…
- Your organisation will have standards and target metrics.
- You will have a space budget, or space calculator, containing those standards, the space they require and other essential add-ons like team storage, circulation, etc*
- On preferred buildings, the space budget is planned into the space, using your standards and initial visioning sessions as a guide to create the test fit.
Test fits will not show the final construction layout of the ‘executive suite’, where leadership have to agree a layout that supports their new ‘unassigned desk’ status. There are many revisions yet to come on this area alone, particularly in countries where hierarchy is culturally important.
Test fits may not have the shower/ping-pong table/bike racks that all your end users are pushing for – and which you are able to supply.
Test fits don’t take into account the looming occupation study outcome, how that data might impact the business case and your standards.
Test fits don’t know if the budget approval will include costs for HVAC changes, or if the landlord/compliance will let you move fire curtains, or if negotiations with the business mean more desks and less construction, or the other way around.
Test fits identify the road you will be travelling on. They do not show the destination, the story arc, the curves in the road or all the characters you will meet.
* Because you want to avoid mis-calculating the space needed and end up seeking a space based on NUA instead of NIA. (RICS download for terminology buster)