12 March, 2010: Facilities managers think ahead to plan for 2030 and beyond
[New York | Author: Department of Management]
Some consult a crystal ball and others read tea leaves when they are asked to look into the future and predict what may happen 20 years from now. At the UN, the approach is a bit more traditional. We commission a feasibility study and invite experts to consult widely within the Organization and develop scenarios about what the future may hold.
The most recent topic of interest is a long-term strategy for office accommodation at Headquarters in New York, as requested by Member States in General Assembly resolution 60/282 of 17 August 2006 in the larger context of the Capital Master Plan (CMP).
After a competitive bidding process, one of the largest architectural firms in the world, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) won the tender and is ready to take on the challenge.
Under the overall guidance of the Facilities and Commercial Services Division of the Department of Management (DM), the UN Feasibility Study will provide a detailed analysis of the 4,500,000 square feet of office space currently used and project probable space needs 20 years from now. Based on different scenarios and New York real estate data, different options will be explored to develop recommendations for 2030 and beyond.
The objective of the exercise is to develop a real estate strategy that addresses current shortcomings, such as the fragmented state of office spaces spread out in many buildings, and that optimizes the mix of owned and leased properties.
Obviously, the quality of the Feasibility Study can only be as good as the data that it is based on. Therefore, the Department of Management is counting on close collaboration with other Departments and Offices to ascertain programmatic requirements and take into account different overarching parameters, such as information technology needs and safety and security issues.
An initial meeting of the interdepartmental focal point group was held at the end of February.
Now, the countdown is on for this ambitious one-year project that is comprised of four overlapping phases.
- During the fact-finding phase, all relevant background information will be compiled. All leased and UN-owned space in New York City will be inspected to establish the status quo and assess the existing office space utilization.
- The space needs analysis will take a closer look at organizational growth and future space needs of the UN for the next 20 years. Based on the data gathered, availability and viability of such space in New York will be projected.
- The feasibility study will explore different scenarios for within the Headquarters campus, such as alternative uses for the North Lawn grounds (including the possibility to build a permanent structure with or without the North Lawn Building) and options to consolidate offices on campus or in nearby locations. This phase will also take into account issues such as the preservation of architectural integrity and original design intent of the historic United Nations complex, energy conservation, sustainability, and efficiency.
- In the final phase, recommendations will be formulated to weigh different options and enable the Organization to make an informed decision about the alternatives, so that it can be determined which long term strategy should be pursued.
The Department of Management is committed to collaborating closely with other Departments and Offices to ensure that the most reliable data is gathered. DM is confident that in the consulting firm SOM, the Organization has found a competent partner with broad expertise in architecture, design and engineering that is reflected in more than 800 awards for quality and innovation.