Master planning and functional planning

Master planning and functional programming translates what a client needs the facility to support – staffing levels, for example, or to have working spaces that encourage easy communication between work groups – into documentation that translates those requirements into workable design solutions that specifies area calculations and how the function of each space is to be assigned to meet the client’s needs.

This work involves significant consultations between the planners and the users themselves, as well as other stakeholders and external agencies where appropriate. Facilities planners also work closely with the space inventory team to draw on the area calculations and categorizations maintained with Archibus, the database that maintains data on all the University’s facilities and rooms.

Master Planning

Master planning is aimed at campus wide projects that impact multiple faculties and buildings. As such, it is a very broad and high-level analysis aimed at capturing the overall usage, sizing, and arrangement of facilities in the campus.

A master plan lays out the goals and objectives of the institution, documents existing conditions through a site and/or facilities analysis, presents the current and projected needs of the client along with a conceptual configuration for the project.

Functional Programming

A functional program has a narrower scope than the high-level master plan. A functional program summarizes and analyzes the functional and operational requirements of each department within a planned facility. As such, it provides for a level of detail that is sufficient for an architect can to begin designing that particular building or space.

For example, occupants of a new building may require space for teaching, student housing and support, and a commons area. The functional program will break down each of these requirements into sub-categories and area estimates, which will further be examined in detail as to its users and spatial relationships.

Teaching, therefore, might be broken out into Classrooms, and from there into Large Classrooms and Large Classroom/Computer Lab, each with its own area estimate. The functional program may further note that larger classrooms need to be close to the lobby to accommodate higher volumes of users, or that the computer lab have convenient access to meeting rooms.