Glossary of Terms

Space Planning and Facility Management Terminology

Here is a glossary of standard terms that occur in space planning and facility management projects.

CAD: Computer-aided design: an automated drawing system to produce drawings. A CAD model file is the master electronic file of each floor of a building.

CAFM: Computer Aided Facility Management: an integrated system of CAD drawings and database.

Benchmark: Standard against which performance can be compared. Might refer to what has been achieved in the past, by comparable organizations, or what could reasonably have been achieved under the circumstances.

Circulation, primary: The portion of the building that is public corridor and lobby, or required for access by all occupants on a floor to stairs, elevators, washrooms and building entrances.

Class “D” estimate: An indication (rough order of magnitude) of the final project cost, sufficient to provide an estimate of cost and to allow a ranking of all options being considered.

Concept drawing: A drawing showing a design idea or preliminary design solution.

Functional zoning: Drawing showing the conceptual relationship of spaces (offices, workstations, meeting rooms, etc.) to achieve desired proximities within a given space.

Organizational unit: Any group within an organization, as defined by the organization.

Proximities (also called Affinities): Desired closeness of organizational units to other units or other spaces (meeting rooms, file storage, etc.). This information is often represented in a proximity/affinity diagram.

Schematic: A drawing of a floor showing, at a macro level, the relationship of spaces required by organizational units. Also called a block zoning diagram.

Space equation: A detailed spreadsheet showing the overall requirements for space based on quantity and sizes of space required.

Space requirements: All requirements for functionality, quantity and quality of space.

Staff on strength: True count of people requiring space in the building or office.

Support space: Types of spaces required in addition to offices and workstations in order for an organization to function. Examples are filing areas, copier and equipment spaces, meeting and training rooms, reception areas.

Swing space: Space assigned to temporarily accommodate an organizational unit while their space is being renovated.

Test fit: A hypothetical space layout of all or part of an organization drawn to show how the projected space requirements might be accommodated in a given space.

IWMS: Integrated Workplace Management System: an enterprise based system of CAD drawings, database of information connected to the master drawings and process information such as capital planning and project management.

Want more information? Call Thatcher Workplace Consulting at 613-595-0439 or email us at

For definitions of more terms check out FMpedia a free on-line glossary of FM terms

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