A key element that is often overlooked when designing an office is the locations of power and data lines. If these placements are not coordinated correctly, the layout and design of the office may need to be altered significantly. Or, power and data lines may need to be re-run, which can be a costly mistake. To prevent these sorts of problems, furniture plans should be provided to your electrician and data technician before wires are run. This preparedness will allow for power and data lines to be placed in proper locations using outlets, power poles, base feeds, or floor cores.
Even if the majority of your office will be connected wirelessly, there will still need to be areas with power and data capabilities in order to charge wireless devices. These areas are also used for hardwire connection to the internet—in case wireless internet is unavailable. Connections can come from a few different areas, including walls, floors, and ceilings.
If workstations are placed along the walls, the best option is to place power and data outlets directly in the walls. This choice allows for plug-in directly under the worksurface. If workstations are placed perpendicular to the walls, a good option is to use what is called a base feed—a hardwired connection to the building’s power. The base feed can then be connected to a daisy-chained power unit that has the capability to carry power and data under the worksurface to multiple workstations. Base feeds can also be connected to a floor core. In this case, power and data are pulled from underneath the floor. The floor core connection is a great option if workstations need to be placed in the center of a space away from walls. Another option in this circumstance would be to use a power pole, bringing down power and data lines from the ceiling discretely.
These options for placing power and data lines provide clean and easy ways to connect workspaces to needed power and data. Without forethought and proper coordination, there is the potential that power and date will not be usable in the places you need those resources. If the planning is awry or nonexistent, the only options are changing the layout of the office, running messy extension cords along the floors, or re-running wires—potentially (likely!) increasing costs. The best way to avoid these time and money issues is to make sure your furniture team and electrical and data specialists are in contact before construction begins. This communication will ensure that the power and data lines are coordinated with furniture locations, and that your office will be up and running by the time you move in!