Considering Network Evolution in Building Design

Considering Network Evolution in Building Design

8 November 2017 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Adapting to Suit Ever Evolving Networks

Networks are all around us; without them, we wouldn’t be able to connect in the way we do. But as demand for these networks grows, are we integrating them into our building designs?

Should we be designing networks for buildings, or designing buildings for networks?

Consideration for growing network infrastructure is increasingly accounted for – and expected – in modern buildings. For example, structured cabling and wireless infrastructures have become an accepted way of dealing with the proliferation of interlinked electronic devices. Equally, very few building developers today would dream of specifying a new office without adequate vertical ducts, generous floor to ceiling heights, or access floors; simpler design strategies for rehabilitating difficult older buildings are becoming routine.

Office furniture manufacturers too, comprehend how important their products are for making networks work. Ways are being found to achieve simpler and cheaper – and less volume consuming – architectural solutions to manifold problems associated with accommodating the network.

Best of all, it is now commonplace for user clients, networking specialists, facilities managers, and all the many and varied members of building design teams, to communicate with each other, using the same language and the same concepts, during the design of even the most complex office buildings.

So what does this mean for building design? As networks grow and expand, do we need to reconsider building design itself?


Why We Shouldn’t Just Dust Off Old Designs

While it’s possible to introduce networks into buildings which were not originally designed with infrastructure in mind, it is of course, not ideal. Network infrastructure, simply put, has transformed the way we work today – adding it in as an afterthought is not ideal.

Dusting off old specifications and designs and making everything ‘fit’ is a poor idea for a few key reasons:

  • Firstly, because the process of the diffusion of networks throughout all office organizations is still not, or ever will be, complete. Wherever, whenever and however the network arrives, there will always be trouble and change.
  • Secondly, because organizations that use networks become increasingly dependent on them – addicted one might say – and quite literally, cannot live without them. The correct infrastructure is therefore essential for organizational survival – and shouldn’t that be a priority? The relationship between the network and building design is simply far too important to the survival of too many organizations ever to be forgotten or ignored.
  • Thirdly, because networks, important as they are as technical phenomena, are much, much more important as the solvent of traditional social and organizational conventions that have held businesses and cities together for well over a century.

After networking, nothing about office work – neither location, nor commuting, nor the mix and type of staff, the conventional shape and specification of office buildings, building services, the choice of furniture, the unique ownership of individual workstations, the importance (or unimportance) of meetings, the design of equipment or even the greatest and most limiting conventions of all, the nine-to-five working day – can ever be taken for granted again.

Networks have changed the way we work

Modern organizations have become dependent on the use of networks. Networking has fundamentally changed the way in which offices work. Yet, organizations sometimes are not able to take full advantage of the opportunities that the network offers since their buildings are not designed in a way that can support the new technologies.

Ultimately all parties involved in the design and development of office complexes have to accommodate network requirements. Accounting for all the considerations that come with designing and implementing effective passive infrastructure in modern buildings can be complex. To help, our Passive Infrastructure Training courses cover every aspect of passive infrastructure; from RF Wireless Infrastructure Fundamentals, to Fiber Optic Infrastructure, to Structured Cabling Design and more.


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