U.S. Courts: Space Utilization Model

Project Information

Project Name:
U.S. Courts: Space Utilization Model

Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC)


The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) launched a new program called the Integrated Workspace Initiative (IWI). The purpose of IWI is to examine space-saving concepts for the Federal Judiciary. These concepts include alternative space layouts for different court components and implementing workspace sharing. The AOUSC contracted with Fentress Incorporated to develop a tool that provides information on the space and cost savings associated with workspace sharing.

Project Summary

Fentress was contracted to develop the Space Utilization Model (SUM). SUM generates space and cost calculations based on assumptions regarding workspace sharing. Some of the inputs into the model include personnel data, space and rent data, and the number of employees per workstation. The assumptions are used to generate a detailed housing plan, showing line item space needs for selected court components. Once the space is calculated, a benchmark cost estimate is generated. There are three types of costs, including design and construction, one time tenant property costs, and reoccurring costs associated with security and rent. The space and cost calculators populate a dashboard that graphically presents workspace sharing versus non-–sharing data. Implementing workspace sharing requires renovating existing offices to downsize the footprint or moving to a new, smaller location. Downsizing or relocating an office requires project funding. However, having fewer workstations than employees results in a smaller space footprint and a cost savings in rent. The SUM presents the savings versus expense calculations as a breakeven point – the expense to downsize or renovate space is offset by the savings in rent. This analysis can be performed on individual facilities, as well as across the national portfolio of court space.


The Federal Judiciary is under a directive to freeze space growth. The acquisition of new space must be offset by consolidating or disposing of existing space. In addition, the Federal Judiciary plans to decrease its space over the next several years. SUM is an integral tool that enables the Judiciary to run “what – if” scenarios on downsizing the space inventory by allowing employees to telecommute on a regular basis and share workstations. SUM helps decision-makers understand the associated costs through a graphically appealing dashboard that can be used to communicate and analyze the funding that can be saved through workspace sharing.

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