Space Planning and Administration

Space Standards & Guidelines


  • Functions space requirements which generate throughout the University are:


1. Public circulation and building services.? These requirements include but are not limited to the following examples:? corridors, washrooms, stairwells, mechanical and electrical rooms, data and telephone closets, custodial rooms, etc.

2. Office or workstation requirements for faculty and staff (other than research space).? This function is subdivided for space management purposes into three.?
(a) Full-time
(b) Part-time
(c) Support Space for Faculty and Staff

3.?Student and Support Space
(a) Graduate Students
(b) Undergraduate Students
(c) Support Space for Students

4. Research
(a) Active Funded Research
(b) Active Unfunded Research
(c) Inactive Projects or Capabilities
(d) Research Laboratory

5. Specialty Functions
(a) Library
(b) Archives
(c) Non-University Agencies
(d) Other Specialty Functions

6. Instructional Space
(a) Classrooms
(b) Instructional Laboratories
(c) Study Rooms

7. General Use Lounge and Common Space


The following sections indicate space accommodation standards which are intended as guidelines when assigning space for the function or utilization indicated.

  • Office or Workstation Requirements with Associated Support Staff
(a) Full-Time Employees

It is recognized that the University will attempt to provide appropriate work space for full-time employees.? The type of work space should be determined by comparing the job function against Space Accommodation Standards for that function.? Establishing Space Accommodation Standards involves defining various office and workstation size ranges under various categories, as shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1

Categories of Offices and Workstations

CategorySize Range (sq.ft.)Typical (sq.ft.)Description
A230 to 275250Private Office
B190 to 230200Private Office
C35 to 9060Workstation within executive suite
D140 to 185150Private Office
F90 to 140120Private Office with Exterior Window
G50 to 7560Enclosed Low Height Partition Workstation
H35 to 5036Open Workstation with or without Low Height Partitions
J00Staff Accommodated within Special Purpose Areas, e.g., Library, Research Area

Positions within the University have been assigned an appropriate workspace category as outlined in Appendix B “Workspace Categories and Positions”.

A distinction is made between space requirements for full-time staff and those for part-time.? The requirement for Memorial University to provide accommodations for all active full-time staff is clear.? The ability to apply precise and consistent standards for this requirement is necessary for effective space management.? This Space Allotment for Full-Time Employees will be measured as a number of individual units required for each workspace category (e.g. a faculty may require one A office, three B offices, 30 F offices, 8 H workstations, etc.).? This summary list can readily be compared to availability or actual usage.

(b) Part-Time Employees

For the purposes of work space assignments, part-time employees are defined as:

Staff who work less than twenty (20) hours per week or who work less than 750 hours per year.

Sessional faculty (teaching less than three (3) courses per semester).

The variety of situations for part-time staff does not lend itself to the same ability for precise and consistent treatment of appropriate space assignment.? As an example, most sessional lecturers need not be assigned a dedicated work space, while in some instances it may be a necessity.? To deal with the requirements of part-time employees, Facilities Management will provide a Space Allowance to each academic unit.? Assignment of offices and use of this Space Allowance should be to the discretion of each academic unit.? Some units may deem it best to maintain some rooms as unassigned work spaces for common use of part-time or sessional employees while other units may find it more suitable to provide multiple desks or work spaces within rooms for dedicated work areas for certain sessional or part-time staff.? While it may be to a unit’s advantage to maintain consistency for assignment of its Space Allowance, those decisions should remain within the unit.? This Allowance should also be used to accommodate interim growth of full-time staff (i.e., growth of full-time staff between the times of Facilities Management’s periodic reviews of Full-time Space Allotment).

The quantity of Space Allowance will be determined by Facilities Management applying a general formula based on elements such as the number of sessional lecturers, employed students, part-time teaching assistants, part-time employed graduate students, advanced graduate students, non-employed graduate students, visiting professors and part-time office staff.? In determining the total Space Allowance for part-time employees, an appropriate individual allowance will be provided for each part-time position.? These individual allowances are used merely to quantify the total allowance and should not be interpreted as an assignment of space for any one individual.

The following are the guidelines for determining the Space Allowance to the units for part-time employees:

Part-Time Faculty - Allowance of 12 sq.ft. for each sessional faculty (minimum 120 sq.ft. total allowance for sessional faculty).

Part-Time Staff - An allocation of one-quarter to one-half the area that a full-time staff member occupying a similar position would be assigned.? For example, if a full-time staff member occupying an intermediate clerk stenographer position would be assigned a H work space (36 sq.ft.), then for each part-time intermediate clerk stenographer the unit may receive an allowance of up to 18 sq.ft.

(c) Support Space for Faculty and Staff

The area for support functions will be determined by combining the support requirements generated by the full-time staff along with that of the part-time staff.? The full-time component of support space will be 20 sq.ft. times the number of active full-time positions.? The part-time component of support space will be 30 percent times the calculated allowance for the unit, not to be associated with or assigned to individuals.? The total support allowance will provide areas for requirements such as conference rooms, reception areas, file storage, general storage, copier rooms, work rooms and staff lounges.? It will be measured in square feet of floor area.

Student and Support Space

?(a) Graduate Students

Graduate students are a very diverse group in their requirements for office space.? Full-time PhD students and full-time Masters students engaged in the intense research (sciences) or thesis writing of their programs require individually dedicated space.? Part-time Masters students are typically on-campus sporadically and require only common meeting or study space.? Full-time students in course-based Masters programs or the course component of thesis-based Masters program do not require individually dedicated space.? The situation is further complicated by the fact that many graduate students are provided space in research laboratories or special purpose facilities.

The following are the guidelines for providing space allowance to academic units for graduate students who are not otherwise assigned space through employment or research involvement:


PhD Students - 60 sq.ft. allowance for each full-time PhD student; 12 sq.ft added to allowance for each part-time PhD student.

Masters Students - 36 sq.ft. for each full-time Masters student at the research/ thesis stage of their program; for course-based Masters programs, allow 5 sq.ft each for full-time students.; for part-time Masters students allow 1 sq.ft. each.

(b) Undergraduate Students

Provide 0.5 sq.ft. allowance for each full-time enrolled undergraduate student.

Research Space

It is recommended that for space management purposes, research space assignments be recorded under three separate headings:

1. Active Funded Research Projects

2. Active Unfunded Research Projects

3. Inactive Projects and Capabilities

Each research project should be assessed on an individual basis.? The database should clearly indicate those employees that will be accommodated within the boundaries of the research area.? Other employees associated with the project but not accommodated within that space should also be noted in relation to the project.? The appropriate amount of space for each project should be analyzed on an individual basis based on the research function and the required equipment and should also take into account the sharing of resources with other projects.? Care should be taken to avoid unnecessary duplication of offices assigned to individuals who perform more than one function.? In some cases it may be appropriate for a department to request transfer of space allowance from research to an individual’s primary office in recognition of extra space requirements due to the dual role of the individual.? However, in most cases, this requirement should be handled by assigning an office with an area at the high end of the size range within the appropriate space category.

Tracking research space utilization under these three headings will provide a clearer definition of requirements and help rationalize the commitment of space.


The following standards are included as suggestion only for space at this stage and additional work is required prior to finalization:

Table 1

Sample Space Categories and Standards

CategorySubcategoryFactorNASFs per Factor
Research SpaceLow-intensive (e.g. Arts, Mathematics)FTE Researcher10.8
Medium-intensive (e.g. Psychology, Comp. Science)FTE Researcher107.6 - 129.1
High-intensive (e.g. Engineering, Biology)FTE Researcher322.8 - 484.2
Classroom SpaceCourse Registrations12.9
Laboratory SpaceLow-intensive (e.g. Humanities)FTE Student3.2
Medium-intensive (e.g. Biology, Chemistry)FTE Student6.5
High-intensive (e.g. Mechanical Engineering)FTE Student8.6
Other SpaceAthleticsFTE Student9.7
Student and Cebtral ServicesFTE Student21.5
Maintenance ShopsTotal Space.2
Library1000 Volume Equivalents96.8
(NASFs = Net assignable sq. ft.)


Facilities Management

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000