April 5, 2017
Demand for coworking spaces is growing at an average of 10-15 percent per annum across all regions as firms look to cut their real estate costs by embracing the concept based on shared work spaces and collaboration. That is the key finding of a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. As the trend gains momentum, according to the study, developers are increasingly incorporating the aesthetic and function of such flexible working environments into mainstream building design. However the main driver of uptake continues to be concern about the cost of renting offices in prime locations and it is no surprise that coworking is focussed on major globalised cities.
April 3, 2017
IBM recently announced that it was going to consolidate its 2,600 marketing department in six locations around the US. Nothing wrong with that you may say, but as part of the consolidation it has to told people to relocate so they can attend the office every day and workers that had been part of IBM’s home working initiative for decades told to turn up at the office every day or find another job. The reason for this radical and trauma creating shift for IBM’s people causing increased commute times, social upheaval and increased carbon emissions is ‘innovation’. IBM needs to transform itself, move faster and come up with new ideas faster. All makes sense…..or does it?
April 3, 2017
One of the ideas we’re going to hear about a lot over the next few years is the Turing Test. It describes the point at which a machine’s behaviour becomes indistinguishable from a human’s, so that a typical person is unable to work out if he or she is interacting with a machine or an individual. This matters for lots of reasons; functional, philosophical and ethical. While it is the kicking off point for dramas such as Westworld (pictured) and Humans that explore our new relationship with machines, we’re most likely to encounter it at first with the automation of mundane things like customer service and information. Indeed, its creator Alan Turing first defined it as an issue of language and communication. Of course, somebody getting annoyed at an automated help desk won’t make drama as appealing as the idea of a robot theme park, but that’s life.
March 31, 2017
While talent continues to reign supreme on the list of top concerns for US companies a growing number of respondents to CBRE’s annual Americas Occupier Survey cited economic uncertainty as a top challenge, up from 36 percent in 2016 to 52 percent. As a result, 87 percent of corporate occupiers report that they are managing to this uncertainty by disposing of surplus space and/or implementing more efficient workplace designs to prepare their portfolios for the future. Only 26 percent of respondents expect to expand their portfolios over the next two years, down from 38 percent in the 2016 survey. Approximately one-half of the 2017 survey’s respondents indicated that the size of their portfolios would remain stable with 2016 levels. However, while uncertainty is driving many real estate decisions, creating a workplace experience focused on talent remains top of mind for the majority of occupiers surveyed.
March 29, 2017
A new report from the Design Commission in partnership with the BRE Trust is the latest to outline how the design of the built environment influences the way people think and behave. The report has been published following an inquiry chaired by Baroness Whitaker and Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett, University College London and is endorsed by Richard Rogers and Kevin McCloud. It calls on central and local government to escape their muddled thinking on the matter and instead create a policy framework that acknowledges the link between design and behaviour. It also suggests that more private sector organisations should wake up to the link and do more than merely comply with their legislative obligations.
March 28, 2017
The number of new leases taken up by the largest law firms in London fell by more than 50 percent last year, claims a new report from CBRE. The study of the 100 largest firms in the capital found that the firms are rethinking their real estate strategy in the light of new developments in flexible working, technology and the result of the Brexit referendum. According to the report, the total space taken through new leases in 2016 was just under 500,000 sq ft – 55 percent down on 2015 and 36 percent below the 10-year average. The report found that no law firms had signed deals for more than 90,000 sq ft last year. The largest deal of 2016 was CMS’ leasing of 84,199 sq ft at Cannon Place ahead of its merger with Nabarro and Olswang, with lawyers from the three firms set to consolidate into one building.
March 27, 2017
RICS in collaboration with IFMA has now published the full version of Part III in its ‘Raising the Bar’ research series. The report, written by Occupiers Journal, makes a case for how facilities management makes contributes to business success and organisational effectiveness and reviews the current state of the FM sector. An Executive Summary of Raising the Bar: From Operational Excellence to Strategic Impact in FM is also available. Both versions of the review identify the key issues facing the facilities management sector and suggest ways forward for how FM can build recognition and understanding within the boardroom, among other business leaders, and with related infrastructure groups.
March 24, 2017
A new guide for facilities management professionals working with clients on BIM construction projects has been issued by the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management). Employer’s Information Requirements is a practical 47-page document to support clients using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to advise clients on how to specify their exact requirements for the design and construction phase of a built asset through to its full life-time operation. The purpose of the EIR is to support both FM professionals and clients by providing a template which can be edited and amended by the client or facilities manager to meet individual requirements for the project. Its guidance follows the publication of BIFM’s Operational Readiness Guide For Facilities Managers published in April 2016. Since April 2016, construction projects commissioned by Central Government have been required to use BIM for their procurement and delivery.
March 21, 2017
The difference between office design and facilities management is like the difference between sex and parenthood
There is an ongoing feeling within the facilities management discipline that when it comes to office design, facilities managers are not consulted early enough or well enough or consistently enough to ensure that the end result is a workplace that is as functional and as effective as it could be. The reason this feeling persists is that in many cases it is true. Or at least is true to a greater or lesser extent depending on how you view these things. And if that sounds woolly, then you have to remember we are talking about facilities management here, finding a definition for which has always been like nailing jelly to a wall. In many cases the demarcation between workplace design and workplace management is based on the mistaken idea that the two have little correlation when in fact the relationship between them should be more akin to that between sex and parenthood. One is an act of creation and the other of care. Sex may be more interesting and we might spend more time thinking and talking about it, but we spend more time being parents.
March 16, 2017
The Construction Industry Council has published a new guide to creating an accessible and inclusive environment. The guide sets out six principles as suggested by the Office for Disability Issues to ‘guide, support and motivate’ industry professionals. The guide is an initiative that emerged from the Built Environment Professional Education Project – a government project that has been championed by CIC. The aim is to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by helping to generate a change in the way skills related to inclusive design are taught in the UK. The aim is that all built environment professionals will receive mandatory, quality teaching about inclusive design so that they can help create inclusive building, places and spaces for future generations.
March 15, 2017
At the end of the 18th Century it was becoming apparent that overpopulation was something the human race would need to address for perhaps the first time. Advances in technology and the urbanisation that followed the Industrial Revolution had created a new set of challenges. These were most famously laid out in a 1798 book called An Essay on the Principle of Population, written by an English cleric called Thomas Malthus. The book helped to influence the nascent discipline of economics and informed the thinking of Charles Darwin when he wrote On The Origin of Species some sixty years later. The term Malthusian remains in use to this day when describing the central paradox laid out in the book. This paradox suggests that because population increases geometrically (doubling every 25 years by multiplication), while food production only grows arithmetically (by addition), the end result can only be depressed wages and ultimately starvation.
March 15, 2017
Cluttons has proposed that a mobile coverage rating should be added to lettable workspace criteria, because despite mobile and internet connections being the fifth essential utility for the modern environment they are often overlooked when leasing space. With the rise of dependence on SIM-based equipment, the property firm argues that workplaces should be let with a coverage rating, measuring connectivity within a property. It argues that given the fast-paced evolving nature of the sector, landlords who invest in excellent telephony infrastructure are likely to secure tenants for longer periods and potentially achieve higher rental values. The approach is being borne out by the government recognising the importance of better mobile and internet infrastructure, by making it a focal point to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017. This comes as no surprise given that several emerging markets are leap-frogging the adoption of technology and are quickly outpacing the UK in the sophistication of infrastructure on offer to occupiers. London is ranked near to the bottom of the internet connectivity league table when looking at Europe.