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Aurecon thinking: Why designing for humans is really important

People at the centre

Why designing for humans is really important

According to the British Design Council, who did a study examining the ways office accommodation can create economic and social value for businesses, salaries of occupants constitutes 85 percent of a company’s annual budget, while just 6.5 percent goes on construction and 8.5 percent on furnishing, maintaining and operating the facility.

Humans are quite obviously the biggest expense.

Source: The Impact of Office Design on Business Performance, British Council of Offices, 2008

Source: The Impact of Office Design on Business Performance, British Council of Offices, 2008

Source: The Impact of Office Design on Business Performance, British Council of Offices, 2008

Conventional projects see the client’s focus on cost of construction and the facility manager’s focus on operations. In reality, a three-dimensional approach to the ROI analysis of buildings of the future is needed, yet the third leg of this approach (namely humans) is often neglected. More attention needs to be given to the way in which a building and its facilities can actively support or disrupt the people in it.

In a landmark study, for instance, Roger Ulrich found that patients with views of nature, as opposed to buildings, recovered faster, received fewer negative evaluations from nurses, and received fewer moderate-to-strong doses of analgesics, proving the significant effects of building design on human health and psyche.

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