Good work begins with good planning
Area planning is more than simply complying with rules and guidelines, but it’s good to know these rules and guidelines.
Principles of area planning
The legal framework for structuring office workplaces is provided by the Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV). This ordinance consists of general requirements for workplaces of all kinds. Since 30 November 2016 it has included the specific requirements for VDU workplaces that were previously in the (German) Ordinance for work with visual display units (BildscharbV).
The Workplace Ordinance is supplemented by the Technical Rules for Workplaces (ASR). The sections that are especially relevant to area planning are ASR A1.2 – Room Dimensions and Movement Areas, ASR A1.8 – Traffic Routes, ASR A2.3 – Escape Routes and Emergency Exits, Escape and Rescue Plan, and ASR V3.a – Barrier-free Design of Workplaces.
Dimensions of office workplaces
The question regarding the minimum dimensions of an office workplace is initially answered in a general way by section ASR A1.2. According to this section,
- every workplace, whether it is located in a production facility or an office, must occupy a floor space of at least 8 m2. If a room contains more than one workplace, each additional workplace must occupy at least 6 m2 of floor space.
- These dimensions are almost always too small for actual workplaces. In cubicle offices, floor space between 8 m2 and 10 m2 per workplace is realistic. For open-plan offices, floor space between 12 m2 and 15 m2 per workplace is recommended.
However, the actual size of individual workplaces can be determined only by addition of the different types of area. We have listed the relevant types of areas in the categories Workplace areas, Communication areas and Traffic areas .
Overall planning principles
The most comprehensive set of planning principles is DGUV Information 215-441 "Büroraumplanung – Hilfen für das systematische Planen und Gestalten von Büros" [Office Space Planning – Guide to Systematic Office Planning and Design]. This document combines the requirements in the Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV) and the Technical Rules for Workplaces (ASR) with recognized rules for office design. In addition, the information brochure of the German Social Accident Insurance association (DGUV) provides useful practical examples and planning tips.
Trade dealers and specialist advisors with Quality Office certification can tell you how to comply with the individual regulations and how to design attractive workplaces on this basis. You can find a list of these specialist advisors at www.quality-office.org.