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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How ingrained assumptions about the workplace are eroding

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Ad agency RKCR  © Jefferson Smith

Ad agency RKCR © Jefferson Smith

The first day at a new job used to mean getting the answer to that all important question: “so which is my office?”  In today’s mostly open plan environments, the same psychological attachment has been transferred to the desk – ‘my’ desk. However the current trend for flexible approaches to where people work means that even the concept of having one’s own desk is now under attack. So how much does having your own desk matter to the UK office workforce these days? We have been asking employees how they feel about having their own desk. The results seem to be that more than half, on average 56% (of a total of 2,653 employees surveyed at 5 recent client projects), think that it is ‘very important’ and a further 25% think it is ‘quite important’.

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Green responsibilities of the built environment highlighted by CIBSE

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EnvironmentWe’ve already focused today on the role individuals can play in supporting the green agenda of their employers, but for those working within the built environment they may have particular responsibility when it comes to helping to reduce energy consumption and provide for the adaptation of buildings that respond to the challenges of climate change. This is the message from incoming CIBSE President, George Adams Engineering Director for Spie Matthew Hall, in his Presidential address, “Whole Life Thinking” where he stresses the need for a new energy engineering conscience and calls for an increased pace of action to improve the industry and reduce its environmental impact.

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Office rental sector benefits from office to home exemption

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Office rental sector benefits from office to home exemption says RICS

The office rental sector has benefited from the prospect of reduced supply, stemming from the recent announcement by the government to relax the need for permission to change use from commercial to residential, according to RICS’ property and construction experts. Although the first quarter results of the 2013 RICS UK Commercial Market Survey reveals how the retail side of the commercial market continues to suffer, other areas of the commercial property market – such as office and industrial space have seen demand for premises strengthen slightly with no major increases in empty floor space and rising levels of tenant demand for office premises. More →

The biggest challenge is building flexibility into an office design

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Flexible pencilThe design of offices and the furniture that fills them matters because of what they tell us about how we work, how organisations function and even what is happening in the economy. If you want to know what’s going on, take a look at the places we work and the things with which we surround ourselves and how they change over time. Because the way we work changes so quickly, buildings need to have flexibility built into them so that they meet our needs today but anticipate what we will need tomorrow.In his book How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand outlines the process whereby buildings evolve over time to meet the changing needs of their occupants.

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Seven thoughts on the UK facilities management association merger

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New broomWith breathless excitement a press release announces the proposed merger of all of the UK’s major facilities management and support services trade associations, or rather notes that they: “have agreed to the concept of forming one single and united body to represent facilities management and support services.” With a sense of crushing inevitability the first step has been to form a steering group to address how these and other organisations could come together into this single body to meet the needs of the industry and the professionals that work within it. With this in mind, I proffer a few pieces of advice in the form of seven thoughts for those involved in these discussions.

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BIM provides opportunities for the built environment finds report

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BIM provides built environment with opportunities for growth

Building Information Modelling (BIM) will raise productivity, provide better buildings, faster and cheaper and represents opportunities for the built environment to become a powerful international player. This is according to a major new report, Growth through BIM produced by Richard Saxon, the UK Government’s BIM Ambassador for Growth who concludes: “No wonder it has been mandated as government policy“. The Built Environment sector, for the purposes of his report, is defined as Property, Construction and Facilities Management, which accounts for about 15 per cent of GDP, and which he describes as: “an enabling sector, facilitating the performance of most other sectors”. More →

What workers really want from their offices? The basics.

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The basicsSo what do people really want from their offices? It’s a question that has tasked the minds of researchers for many years. According to a recent survey from Overbury, the ideal office design seemed to be a Starbucks, but a new report from the British Council for Offices suggests that what people want isn’t actually that much. Top of the list of priorities for the 1,200 or so people surveyed were fast Wi-Fi, comfortable surroundings, a convenient location and a decent, if unspectacular, fit-out, although responses varied to a certain degree across age groups and sectors. Is that really too much to ask? And are the pool table and the slide absolutely necessary?

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UK facilities management trade associations announce plans to merge

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gordian_knotWe’ll react to this later but here is the press release announcing the proposed merger of all of the UK’s major facilities management and support services trade associations: “The British Institute of Facilities Management, Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association have agreed to the concept of forming one single and united body to represent facilities management and support services. As the facilities management and support services profession and industry have matured and evolved, so too must the bodies representing and leading them. This proposed merger recognises the growing demand for a stronger, unified and collective voice that represents and promotes what is a fundamental component of our economy and day to day businesses.

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UK Green Building Council sets out its plans for the built environment

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UK Green Building Council sets out future plans for sustainable future

The built environment is an engine for green growth and UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) intends to demonstrate how, says the sustainable buildings campaigner today as it outlines specific areas of focus to promote green building over the next 12 months. This follows the publication of its Impact Report earlier this week which reflected on some of its key initiatives over the past year, including the launch of Pinpoint, a new search engine for information on green building, the publication of a plan for growth strategy and its work to influence  government policy regarding the built environment.

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Global coalition to create universal standard of property measurement

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Global coalition to create universal standard of property measurement

The world’s leading property institutions meet today to create a universal method of measuring property assets. At present, the way property assets – such as an office development is measured, varies widely from country to country. With so many different methods of measurement available, it makes it difficult for those looking to invest in these developments to compare like with like. This confusion can affect property values, lead to errors in financial reporting and, consequentially, undermine market confidence. Headed by RICS, this initial meeting of the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC) is the first step to delivering this consistency.

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