Space: It’s about a place you want to be

By Manette Newbold Fisher

Friday, August 03, 2018

As Sandia leadership looks toward fulfilling the Labs’ operating principle of one lab, one system, a new vision for space management is taking hold.

For years, space was managed by 11 divisions in a decentralized model, leading to a constrained and unbalanced system, said Jack Mizner, centralized space manager. Space coordination generally was assigned to members of center support teams as a part-time focus. This, among other issues, led to inconsistency, space conflicts, short-term planning and lack of communication between divisions.

In June 2017, representatives from Facilities, Human Resources, Business Operations, Space and Asset Management and Information Technology began meeting to plan for the implementation of centralized space management.

The primary objective was a model based on organizational change management principles, project management tools and best practices. Jack and his team of strategic and tactical space planners continue to consult with division and center leadership to fine tune the new model.

Los Alamos, Livermore, Nevada studied

Benchmarking studies of other space management approaches were conducted to inform Sandia’s model, which included other Department of Energy sites (Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the Nevada National Security Site) and universities.

“This model is not new. While it’s new to Sandia, companies do this all over the country and all over the world,” Jack said. “They have professionals who work in this field.”

Some of the most notable research the team gathered came the from University of Michigan’s Space Utilization Initiative, which put into place space policies that are used across campus in a centralized space management approach, according to strategic space planner Jeff Smith. In doing so, the university avoided $462 million in one-time capital costs and some $18 million in estimated recurring operating costs.

Of particular interest to Sandia was a shift in Michigan’s campus culture, where space is now considered an institutional resource that must be shared and managed effectively for the good of the institution.

“In light of the short-term projected mission growth, space management is one of the only timely tools we have to help out – all the more important that this initiative is successful,” said Lynne Schluter, Facilities director.

A new Sandia system

The new space management workflow begins with a need, Jack said, and the sooner the facilities organizations in New Mexico and California know about that need, the sooner the team of tactical space planners can help. Requests are submitted through the MAXIMO system, available on Techweb.

The space planners will work with centers and divisions, as well as HR, to make appropriate space assignments and coordinate any needed space modifications. Under the new model, key roles include:

  • Strategic site planners interact with assigned divisions to understand needs and future Labs capabilities. They ensure Sandia addresses facilities and infrastructure requirements.
  • Tactical space planners are responsible for the short-term management of space and will maintain data and metrics to inform longer-term decisions.
  • Building managers will work with other team members to meet customer space needs and ensure workspaces are safe and secure.
  • Moves personnel ensure relocation needs are met, both for computing and physical/personal assets.

Together, the team will identify opportunities where space utilization can be improved.

Jack said the goal of the new space management structure is to ensure each division has appropriate and suitable space available for each member of Sandia’s workforce and that the policy is consistently applied across Sandia. He also said the system aims to retain, attract and engage top talent at the Labs.

For more information on Centralized Space Management, including presentations, FAQs and contact information, visit Sandia's Space Solutions website.