Many Post-Secondary planning assignments require restacking or redistribution of space. In a few instances, we have helped institutions to design their space management processes and protocols which are then translated into policy and procedure regimes within the college or university.

Developing a restacking plan requires a comparison of the existing space to the space needed in order to determine the optimal fit. There will be factors related to individual spaces that impact the facility requirements such as the appropriateness of the space to its intended function, proper lighting, access to the right technology, or appropriate acoustical characteristics. Gathering all of this information may be necessary, but it can be expensive and time consuming. The standard approach is to exhaustively program each space. However, this approach is above the level of a general fit program but not quite a full functional program. Consequently, we searched for a better way to determine the fit and attributes of a space in a manner that saves time and expense to the facilities team. This needs to be done regularly to track the changes in spatial needs as research and teaching requirements change. We sought to create a simple way of tracking information and identifying areas of fit that work and that do not work. Priorities are based on the needs and condition of the space and not influenced by demands, lobbying, or other non-transparent mechanisms. The intent is to be straight forward and clear to all involved parties.

A Scoring Program Tool Emerges

Out of those requirements, we began to develop a tool based on a simple Excel spreadsheet that captured the people and program spaces. The existing locations and areas for both people and program spaces are recorded and the areas of each are compared and its ration calculated. The space is then scored in a manner that highlights deviations from the standard space requirements; either high or low. That score is colour coded to highlight the match or lack thereof using red, yellow, or green. If the score is red, there is a profound lack of fit between what currently exists and the needs to be addressed.

A number of “Fit Attributes” that highlight the nature and performance of the space will be determined in consultation with our clients. In our programming interviews, we ask the stakeholders to score those attributes on the criteria we have established for them. The score has a range of numbers that identify how close the overall fit is. These are combined with two additional elements: first, individual attributes are weighted according to their impact. Second, the weighted scores are aggregated with the area score to come up with an overall score for the particular space.

In addition, we add two levels of required adjacencies, those within departments and the other across all groups on campus. The data is then illustrated using a chord diagram of each adjacency which provides you a visual representation of how collaborative or stand-alone any group is.

The numbers are aggregated for all groups and a summary sheet outlines the results. The result again is ranked as being within reasonable limits, in the middle ground, or significantly high or low.

For more information of this space programming tool and its use in the day-to-day space management regime of your institution, contact us at[email protected].


206 - 1470 St. Paul St.
Kelowna, BC V1Y 2E6
(250) 762 2503


300 - 10190 152A St.
Surrey, BC V3R 1J7
(604) 581 8128