RIBA and CIBSE call for collaboration in CarbonBuzz initiative

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RIBA and CIBSE call for pan-industry collaboration in CarbonBuzz initiative

The CarbonBuzz energy benchmarking initiative, backed jointly by the RIBA and CIBSE gets a new online platform next week. The CarbonBuzz project allows users to record, share and compare the real energy use of building projects and to shed light on the differences between predicted and operational performance. Now RIBA and CIBSE are calling on architects and building services engineers to upload their projects to CarbonBuzz and re-energise the industry’s benchmarking database, which was first launched in 2008. Both institutes have spearheaded the publication of energy data in their annual awards schemes and point out that CarbonBuzz is the best way to demonstrate energy credentials. More →

BIFM workplace debate focuses on links between FM and design

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Clerkenwell_Design_WeekClerkenwell Design Week was the appropriate setting for the inaugural event staged by the newly formed Workplace Special Interest Group (SIG) of the British Institute of Facilities Management. The event was staged at the showroom of office furniture giant Haworth on the 22 May, during Europe’s largest exhibition of workplace products and services. It saw a panel of industry experts debate in lively fashion the deliberately provocative proposition : Form or Function? Do you need office designers to create a great workplace environment? 

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Shared rather than serviced offices could save businesses thousands

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Office genie on savings in sharing office space

London desk renters could save almost £200 a month by choosing a shared office over a serviced office, according to new research. The Office Genie Price Index has revealed that the average desk in a shared office in London costs £335, while a desk in a serviced office was found to cost on average £513 per month; £178 more. This saving of 35 per cent on the price of a serviced desk makes shared offices an affordable alternative in the world’s most expensive city for office rental, where a single square foot of office space in London can cost up to £170.

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UK public sector leading the way in procurement and sustainable building

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Nottingham City Council's Loxley Building

Nottingham City Council’s Loxley Building

Over the last few years, the UK Government has grown increasingly interested in finding ways of making its £30 billion property portfolio more efficient. Both the last Labour government and the current Coalition administration have been driven by the opportunities offered them with the advent of new technology, new ways of working and new procurement models. They’ve pursued these issues to cut costs by reducing and changing the way property is designed and managed but have also found how that can also help to establish best practice in sustainable building. What is increasingly apparent, especially given recent news from the Major Projects Authority about cost savings in procurement is that the public sector is now leading the way as models of good practice.

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Why facilities managers deserve a seat at the design table

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Co-op

For a long time there has been a distant relationship between facilities management (FM) and design, with FM treated as a post occupancy issue rather than a valuable consideration during the design process. The truth is that effective collaboration between facilities managers and designers can yield innovation and even better product design, be that in relation to a new head office building, or the systems and furniture that are housed within it. The compartmentalised view that design occurs and then facilities managers come along to operate and maintain is inaccurate and outdated.

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Guidance on designing in accessibility for disabled workers

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Diversity in the workplace

The government launches a campaign today using TV celebrities and disabled groups to help promote positive role models for disabled people. It’s aimed at building on the latest stats that show 81 per cent of people thought the Paralympics had a positive impact on the way disabled people are perceived. Currently they’re not well represented in the workplace, as according to DTI figures half of all disabled people are unable to find work. This is why the Equality Act 2010 plays such a vital role in promoting diversity in the workplace. Put into practice, understanding and adhering to the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to take positive action to remove certain disadvantages to disabled people posed by working practices and the physical features of premises. More →

New Centres of Excellence for sustainable building design launched

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New Centres of Excellence for sustainable building design launched

Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design are to be set up at four UK universities in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering. The new centres at Heriot-Watt University, Loughborough University, the University of Sheffield and University College London will form a national network to demonstrate and exchange best practice in teaching and research for a more sustainable built environment. The universities will work closely with the construction industry to develop their engineering and architectural design courses to be as relevant as possible to the work students can expect to do when they graduate. Visiting Professors from industry are a key part of this approach and will be heavily involved in developing the new centres of excellence. More →

Office hierarchy determines ergonomic quality of workplace

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Office hierarchy determines quality of workplace ergonomics on offer

When you consider health and safety dangers at work, there is really no contest between the risks blue collar workers face – falls from height, heavy lifting and breathing in asbestos dust – compared to the relatively minor mishaps of the average office worker. But it seems there is no such thing as an ‘average’ office worker either and where you fit in the pecking order could have a direct impact on the level and quality of the ergonomic tools you’re offered. According to a worldwide survey published by Jabra and YouGov there is a great demographic divide when it comes to the ergonomic equipment provided within the office – and your level of education and department play a significant role in how well you are seated and whether you are offered a headset or handset. More →

Working on daily commute is on the increase survey finds

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Working while commuting is on the increase survey finds

As argued on this site today, many people prefer to work while commuting and research published today supports this view. A survey of over 2,000 British workers by recruiter Randstad reveals the number of employees who work while they commute rose from 4.8 per cent in 2008 to 7.5 per cent in 2013. There’s also been a big rise in the number of “extreme commuters” – those travelling more than 90 minutes each way – which has increased by 50 per cent, from just over one in twenty (6 per cent), to almost one in ten (9 per cent). However, while 18 per cent of British workers feel that the development of smartphones and tablets has made it easier for them to work while they travel, – one in ten (9.2 per cent) say that new technology has increased the pressure on them to get work done on their journey to and from work. More →

RICS developing BIM accreditation standard to advance uptake

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RICS accreditation standard being developed to advance BIM

Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment Professional Groups (RICS) is calling for a cultural shift to ensure that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is more widely adopted. This follows the results of a survey taken at the RICS National BIM conference which revealed that despite its overwhelming recognition within the built environment nearly half of respondents were still not using the process, with 46 per cent identifying minimal client demand as a major factor preventing their implementation of BIM. Comments Muse: “Quite simply, some clients are not yet recognising the efficiencies that BIM can bring”, which is the reason why RICs is now developing a BIM accreditation standard.

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English Heritage clarifies requirements for post-war office buildings

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English Heritage clarifies requirements for post-war office buildings

© English Heritage, James O Davies

The results of a pilot project to review list descriptions for post-war commercial offices has been announced by English Heritage. The revisions to 28 commercial offices by the conservation body have better identified the special interest in these buildings, which in many cases are the exterior and internally are usually limited to spaces such as lobbies and board rooms. When other parts of the building, such as basements and working floors are not of interest, this is said explicitly, thereby giving owners greater flexibility and clarity in the consents process and the management of change.

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Will the Great Trade Association Merger have any impact on office design?

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Ceci n'est pas un bureauAnybody who has been working in and around the facilities management sector for any length of time will know that the FM profession/discipline (delete as appropriate) regularly undergoes protracted periods of existential angst about its role. It strikes me however that this is actually quite an easy question to deal with because the answer is the same as it is for similarly amorphous professions such as marketing. It all seems to depend on who you are and what you are trying to do. That’s the twist. The average facilities manager, like the Urban Spaceman, doesn’t exist. I might think that but it won’t stop the associations and institutes currently working together to establish a new super-body for FM in the UK having to continue the debate.

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