Movable, or demountable, wall systems have a number of advantages over traditional construction, including the flexibility to reconfigure your space, superior acoustic privacy, and technology integration. So how do you choose the right system for you? Read through our 10 considerations:
1. Reconfigurability | How often do you plan to reconfigure your space?
If you require frequent on-demand reconfigurations (every few weeks or months), and want the fastest installation, a unitized system (like Horizon or Privacy Wall), is a great option. If you plan to reconfigure once or twice a year, a modular system (like V.I.A. or lalinea) would work for you.
2. Category | What category matches how often you want to reconfigure?
As described above, the category of wall system you choose typically goes hand-in-hand with the frequency of reconfiguration you anticipate. There are two main types of movable walls: unitized and modular. Unitized walls arrive on site as a unit assembly and typically install very quickly and can be easily reconfigured using less labor. Modular wall systems usually come in pieces and need to be assembled on site. These types of wall systems can require more labor and coordination from a logistical standpoint.
3. Surface flexibility | What different kinds of surfaces would you like to have in your space?
Whiteboards? Tackable fabric? Magnetic whiteboards? Integrated displays? Unitized panels have fewer options when it comes to surface flexibility, but with the trade-off of faster reconfigurations. Modular systems, in contrast, usually have a much broader variety of surface options.
4. Privacy | How important is visual and acoustical privacy?
Visual privacy can be achieved using solid panels, a patterned film on the glass (usually semi-transparent white), or a film that blocks screen content from the view of passers-by. Acoustical privacy can be achieved in varying levels depending on the materials used in the wall system. Glass can achieve high STC ratings when double-glazed, but the highest privacy is achieved with acoustically treated solid panels. Solid panels have the added benefit of adding built-in visual privacy in addition to absorbing sound.
5. Glazing | What features are most important?
Even if you are using solid panels, you are most likely going to include some glass for transparency and natural light. Single glazed is the most basic option, and offers the most modest acoustic properties. Double glazed is thicker, and therefore, more soundproof, offering higher STC ratings. Double glazed also expands your options for attaching technology or other structural elements within the space. Butt-glazing is when two panels of glass are joined without additional framing, creating a seamless look. If the aesthetic of butt glazing is important to you, be sure to see which systems offer it (like lalinea by Maars).
6. Wall depth | How do you want to run power and data throughout the space?
If you want to run power and data through the walls, you need a system with enough wall thickness to support those utilities (like V.I.A. , at 4” thick). If you are using raised access flooring to run power, data, and even HVAC, then you can go with a thinner wall system if you desire.
7. Aesthetic | What are you trying to achieve visually in your space?
Whether you are looking for a widely transparent workplace with subtle private elements, or want to infuse your space with your brand and culture with bright, bold graphics and film, there is a movable wall system to meet your need. Some systems, like lalinea by Maars, boast an incredibly low profile and near-seamless glass expanses for a sleek, elegant look.
8. Technology Integration | How important is it that the wall accommodate the latest technology?
Some modular systems (like V.I.A. and lalinea) specialize in integrating all different kinds of technology within the wall, including LED lighting to support videoconferencing. This creates a sleek, modern aesthetic while maintaining proper venting and maintenance access for the devices. Unitized systems (like Privacy Wall and Horizon) don’t enable you to integrate within the wall, but do offer surface-mount options.
9. Sustainability | How important is well-being and environmental protection?
If you care about protecting the environment, then I have good news – all of the movable wall systems you might consider are much better for the planet and for your employees than traditional construction! Look at how much recycled content is in the system you are considering, whether it can be recycled at the end of its long life, and whether it is free of PVCs POCs and off-gassing.
10. Price | What is the return on investment you are looking for?
Perhaps the most important consideration is whether the solution fits your budget. Keep in mind that although movable wall systems are sometimes a little more expensive up front than traditional construction, over the long term they pay off in a much higher ROI. Each time you reconfigure, you are saving time, labor, material, and disposal.
There are wall systems to meet any budget – it is a matter of deciding which features are most important to you and evaluating the trade-offs. For example, a unified single-glazed panel system is the most economical and easiest to reconfigure, but if protecting sensitive information is very important to you, then you may want a system that provides a higher STC rating. Alternatively, you could add solid panels to the design, or evaluate a modular system.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The best way to address your needs and match them to the right demountable wall solution is to consult a knowledgeable professional. Our Architectural Systems experts have a wealth of experience, and can create a tailored ROI to demonstrate how much you can save with different types of office wall systems. Contact us today for a discussion, product tour or ROI quote.