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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Resistance to workplace change marks the passing of the old order

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ChangeWhen Vodafone announced in March that the UK’s businesses could save up to £34 billion with the more widespread application of flexible working models, the research to support the claim had two very familiar components. The first was a crystal clear business case, the second an admission that the message was still not quite getting through to those at the top. In fact, Vodafone claimed, around two-thirds of business leaders continue to insist their business can’t afford to reduce the number of workstations they use despite all evidence to the contrary. A third haven’t even considered the idea of reducing the number of workstations they use as a way of cutting costs.

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New survey reveals risks of cutting costs in corporate real estate

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JLL ReportA new report from Jones Lang LaSalle claims to highlight how those firms who see their property as a driver of added value rather than a cost reap rewards in the form of higher revenue, employee performance and shareholder returns. In contrast, those firms who view their facilities as a cost and seek to reduce those costs for short term gain are, in fact, storing up long term problems and risks. JLL’s report – Global Corporate Real Estate Trends – claims to reveal the top five corporate real estate risks, including negative impacts on competitive advantage and profitability from cost cutting, procurement processes, lack of collaboration between functions and failure to drive productivity.

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Dubai developers switch unwanted commercial property projects to other uses

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Cups gameThe UK isn’t the only country looking to convert its unwanted office space into other uses. According to a new report from CBRE, the oversupply of new commercial property in Dubai is leading developers to switch the use of projects in the Emirate before they have even finished building them. With occupancy levels already at less than 50 percent in some areas and swathes of new developments coming online thanks to Dubai’s ongoing commitment to a policy of ‘build it and they will come’, developers are taking the decision to convert construction projects to homes or hotels.

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