By: Mark Bassil, President and Founder of Modular Architectural Interiors (MAI)
At MAI, we believe companies, landlords, building managers and workers can all benefit from demountable glass wall offices such as MAI’s ALUR line.
Before we begin, I should offer a bit of a caveat. When I speak of costs I’m referring to long-term costs — those beyond initial installation.
Cost Benefits of Demountable Walls
Unlike plasterboard-on-stud office walls described as fixed installations, demountable glass walls may help convince landlords to provide more favorable lease terms. This is because the space is more marketable to future tenants and they are not faced with demolition and its associated mess and costs if tenants decide to pick up and move. Demountable glass walls can also increase the building valuation. In addition, the hassle of building permits can be avoided in most states, which can save both time and money.
Tax Benefits vs. Construction
In general, demountable walls are considered equipment, thus allowing a company to completely write off the expenditure over 5 times faster than typical construction. With current tax laws, the bottom line is that conventional construction initial cost would need to be at least 32% lower to match the tax advantages of a demountable wall system like ALUR.
Lower Move In Costs
Lower move in costs may also apply and here is where prefabricated, demountable walls shine. Let’s not forget that move in costs start with the signing of the lease. If you are the tenant the time between signing and occupancy is money that goes out of your pocket into the building owner’s pocket. The construction period can be reduced with off-site manufacturing and delivery of installation-ready components to the job site.
Unlike modular walls that require verification of site as-built dimensions prior to ordering, ALUR framing is oversized. This means product can be ordered early based on construction drawings. Since ALUR glass panels are provided locally the lead-time is effectively reduced to only the time it takes to get them to the job site after verification of site dimensions. In most cases this is only two to three weeks.
Installation is also facilitated because the product is highly adaptable to building conditions and can accommodate changes in variables that may arise – such as uneven floors, fixed walls and ceilings. To put it another way, framing is oversized and cut to fit on site, with glass and solid tiles ordered based on final opening size. Added costs such as floating the floor are avoided.
As another point, the single piece ceiling and floor framing for glass dividing walls is attached with fewer steps. And modular power and data outlets can be built-in to the walls to save time.
Productivity up with Demountable Glass Wall Offices
When talking about productivity we need to call attention to the ongoing debate concerning advantages and disadvantages of open office systems. You’ll get all sorts of opinions and referred to a host of studies on open office design. One point upon which most agree is that noise distractions do adversely affect productivity. Noise is probably the most prevalent annoyance source in offices, which can lead to increased stress for occupants. Another important point is speech privacy.
Open office designs based on the cubicle concept encourage collaboration and provide the workforce with a feeling of spaciousness and not being cooped in. Natural lighting from periphery windows can also equate to having a window office, certainly a prestige point in the minds of many employees.
ALUR floor to ceiling glass walls address both issues in a positive way. The system is designed for maximum sound attenuation due to the use of premium ½-inch tempered glass that delivers an impressive 36 STC (sound transmission class) rating, addressing the need for privacy while keeping out noise.
To the question what does that mean? Well, normal speech is rendered inaudible at the 36 STC rating. The ALUR dividing wall offers an even greater STC of 42 for complete speech privacy. If further sound management is required, such as masking excited discussions in working groups, ALUR sound masking products work with the glass dividing walls to deliver a comprehensive acoustical solution. Moreover they are HIPA and GBLA compliant, offering uniform, non-disturbing masking sound throughout offices and team meeting areas.
Let the Sunshine In with Interior Glass Walls
This is where our ALUR system excels. Our interior glass walls provide a truly open environment but without the noise and distraction drawbacks of most open office plans, while providing beautiful, open, and airy workspaces that maximize natural daylight. When glass front offices are fitted with our lockable pivot or super sleek sliding glass doors it’s easy for occupants to signal they are open for discussions (i.e. the door is open) or come back later.
ALUR private offices can be equipped with freestanding furniture and/or furniture systems components integrated into the 3.5 inch thick ALUR dividing wall. These modular, dividing walls can also be fitted with custom cabinetry, Smart Boards, flat screen monitors and other equipment. We recommend that ALUR solid dividing walls be connected to our ALUR glass front wall with a one or two foot glass fin wall, thereby increasing the perceived size of the office and enhancing the views to the great outdoors.
In summary, the ALUR demountable wall system does in fact contribute to keeping costs down and to increasing productivity. Furthermore, modern, beautiful and sustainable interiors have been shown to help attract and retain high quality employees in 21st Century workspaces. The system deserves serious consideration by office managers and building owners having these objectives in mind.
Contact Mark Bassil if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of modern glass walls and architectural accessories.