Raised floor or not? That’s the question

Raised floor or not? That’s the question

Or, how should electric and network cables be laid when furnishing our new office?

To understand why this question is timely, let’s take a step back in time. In 2003 the Science Park office building was constructed based on the plans by Iván Nagy and Ferenc Cságoly and it immediately become one of the emblematic buildings of the Újbuda area. Although the office building today is a very busy business section, the complex at the foot of Petőfi Bridge is has a recognition by both experts and laymen.

But, in order to maintain this status quo, the value of the building must be preserved. So we have lately decided to refresh it a bit:  we have renewed the face of our building. But that was just a first step: soon it will be followed by an overall technical renovation. So, the time is near when we have to take a decision – hand in hand with our new renters-, where to hide the electric and network cables in the new offices. Probably it is no news for anyone that office activity has been radically altered by the explosion-like technological development of the past few years. Where a couple of years ago power was channelled from the fax machine through monitors to the table lamps by ten-socket extension cords, this solution now is a no-go. And not only because no one wants to trip over a bunch of cables. But because – thanks to those past few years, we have experienced so very good gadget and service innovations like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth -, these have a lion’s share in the fact that most of the cables have by now disappeared.

In addition, very strict provisions have been met by now in respect to free-access work spaces. Just to name a few convenience and safety measures that are compulsory:

  • to provide office furniture fit for the body-size of the employee
  • to provide a comfortable body position of the employee
  • optimal positioning of working tools based on the their frequency of use and maintaining a natural body position
  • depending on the office tools, every employee must be granted a working space that is ideally 9m2 / one person in a one-person office; for a team-room it must be at least 6 m2/person.

OK, OK, but where to put now the network cables?

Since nowadays raised floors are the most common solution, let’s take a closer look on this feature.

In spite of choosing this option in the majority of the cases, the truth is that it also has quite a few disadvantages as well. Let’s take the biggest of these: it significantly reduces the height of the room (especially in an already existing house), thus it also decreases the number of air cubic meters per person in the office. What’s more, it is decidedly expensive. And we have to be prepared also for the case when – due to moving or any other reason – we have to remove it: when laying it back again, the fittings will no longer be precise, the plates must be levelled again.  Furthermore, occupiers often complain that – after a while, due to uneven weight distribution – it creaks and squeaks.

But if not raised floors, then what?

Fortunately, there are many options to choose from. There are for example the surface conduits in drywalls or we can drive the electric and network cables in a parapet-channel or we can hide them in the furniture as well. What the final solution will be depends mainly on individual needs and expectations but primarily on the furnishing. It is important though to stress that in one-space offices tables are generally situated next to windows for natural light, by parapet-channelling or hiding in furniture the cables can perfectly be hidden.

We could go on listing the examples because as many renters as many expectations there are to meet.

„Thanks to the above-mentioned cordless technologies, almost all renters have their own distinct expectations, what’s more, there are some who expressly look for no-raised floor offices.” says Judit Varga MRICS, Head of Advisory and Transaction Services, Offices at CBRE, mandated with the letting of Science Park, soon-to-be-renewed to create optimal and tailor-made solutions together with their future renters.