September 2, 2013
A new standard is being published by BSI offering expert guidance on estimating the long term costs of owning and occupying a building. BS 8544 Guide for life-cycle costing of maintenance during the in-use phases of buildings extends the guidance already provided by the existing standard PD 156865:2008, for buildings which are already operational, allowing users of the existing guidance to develop the life-cycle plans into the operational phase. To launch the standard, BSI is running a free half-day event on Wednesday 18 September to explain what the standard’s all about and its benefits. You’ll be able to hear case studies from leading professionals who are already using the principles of the standard, as well as a panel discussion with industry experts. Click here for more information.
September 1, 2013
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a new report calling on the Government to adopt a more streamlined and integrated approach to energy efficiency policies, including those relevant for the UK’s commercial buildings. The report also addresses a range of related benefits and obligations for companies to help them cut costs, manage risk and open up commercial opportunities. The report argues that energy efficiency has been neglected for too long, despite the fact that Government figures show a domestic industry that is growing at 4 percent a year, is worth £17.6bn in sales and supports 136,000 jobs.
August 30, 2013
The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has announced the organisations it will put forward for the European Regional Network Awards, part of the World Green Building Council Leadership Awards 2013, which honour best practice and excellence in green building policy. From the entries it has received, the UK-GBC is nominating; Brighton & Hove City Council for the “Excellence in City Policy for Green Building” award; British Land for the “Business Leadership in Sustainability” award; Cundall for the “Leadership in Building Design and Performance” and “Business Leadership in Sustainability” awards; Sika for the “Business Leadership in Sustainability” award and Tishman Speyer for the “Business Leadership in Sustainability” award. Winners will be announced by the WorldGBW as part of World Green Building week in September.
August 30, 2013
One of the regular refrains from those involved in health and safety management is that while they aren’t killjoys, protecting people from harm is no laughing matter. Well actually yes, sometimes it is. And if the health and safety profession wants to shake off the po-faced image it claims is unjust, it needs to realise that some of the people it is trying to protect are just bloody idiots. And however much you try to make things idiot-proof, you’re unlikely to make them bloody-idiot-proof. Some people will always come up with something you haven’t thought of and a new way to put themselves in harm’s way.
August 29, 2013
When Ireland became the first country in the world to impose an outright smoking ban in public places, it wasn’t long before a hitherto uncharted problem emerged – the smell of body odour in crowded pubs, which it was rumoured at the time – was solved by piping in the smell of smoke to recreate that ‘pub atmosphere,’ but without the carcinogenic effects. Aside from washrooms, how an office smells isn’t a factor which merits as much attention as how it looks or the level of noise, yet olfactory perception can have a powerful effect on our mood, how we regard our surroundings and of course our response to those with which we have to share our space. more…
August 28, 2013
Creating a dynamic and creative workplace is dependent on a number of factors; the office layout and design, the style of management and the wider company culture. Get these elements right and, says workplace consultants Morgan Lovell you hit the “Buzz Barometer” – a combination of a good atmosphere, energy and teamwork which encourages productivity and high levels of employee engagement. However, according to their recent research, three quarters (78 per cent) of employees say they would be significantly more productive if their workplace had more buzz. And worryingly for larger organisations, corporates are failing to match small company buzz, with four-fifths (81 per cent) saying SMEs offer a better working atmosphere than large companies.
August 28, 2013
So-called “low energy buildings” are increasingly being found to use more energy than their designers thought they would, with the performance of low energy designs often little better, and sometimes worse, than that of an older building they have replaced, or supplemented. This difference between expected and realised energy performance has come to be known as the “performance gap”. To help address this problem, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has just issued new guidance on how to address operational energy use at the design stage. ‘TM54: Evaluating operational energy performance of buildings at the design stage’ is now available from the online CIBSE Knowledge Portal. more…
August 28, 2013
The British Institute of Facilities Management has announced that it is to withdraw with immediate effect from the merger discussions it had entered into in May with its fellow trade associations, Asset Skills, CSSA and FMA. The decision to pull out was taken at a BIFM board meeting last week. According to a BIFM statement, the plans were not felt to be in the best interests of BIFM members. The decision comes as something of a surprise given that the week before the decision, BIFM was saying that it was delighted with progress, although some commentators including our own Simon Heath had already expressed their reservations about the whole thing.
August 27, 2013
The relocation by law firm Davenport Lyons from London’s Mayfair to its new offices at 6 Agar Street in the West End next month, means it is one of the last remaining West End-based law firms – most have moved out of the area due to the increasingly exorbitant costs. Davenport Lyons, which has been based in its current Old Burlington Street location for 23 years, says it remains in the area to form a “legal hub bridging the gap between the financial institutions and wealth in Mayfair, and the commercial banking sector in the city and Canary Wharf.” The new office space is also designed to deliver a semi cellular space solution, reflecting the next phase in the law firm’s evolution. more…
August 27, 2013
Explanations for a marked fall in employee turnover have largely attributed it to the recession, which, it’s been suggested, has led cautious employees to prefer to stay put in a secure position, rather than risk losing their place in an uncertain job market. However new data published today from the CIPD’s Megatrends research project suggests a more positive picture. The proportion of workers leaving their employer at any given time fell by over two fifths between 1998 and 2012, long before the downturn took hold. And the good news for those concerned with improving the quality of the workplace environment is that increased job satisfaction and improved levels of employee engagement could play a significant role.. more…
August 23, 2013
The treadmill desk is designed to help workers fight the flab, now those attending business meetings and conferences at one hotel can keep fit while also helping to combat global warming. A “Pedal Power” trial at Qhotels’ Forest Pines Hotel and Golf Resort near Lincolnshire will require users to continuously pedal with a bicycle generator to convert 100 watts of energy, which powers enough electricity to charge a laptop – the equivalent to a gentle race up a hill. The initiative comes following a recent survey of QHotels’ delegates which found that 55 per cent deem environmental credentials important. The pedal power generator was deemed a simple and fun way to power a conference presentation – though whether those forced to do the cycling will agree is debatable. more…
August 22, 2013
The UK’s largest living wall, designed to reduce urban flooding, has been unveiled in London’s Victoria district. Standing at 350 square metres with over 10,000 ferns, herbaceous plants and 16 tons of soil, the wall, at the Rubens at the Palace Hotel near Buckingham Palace reaches over 21 metres high. The wall’s unique design enables it to capture rainwater from the roof of the building in dedicated storage tanks. Flooding is a key environmental challenge in Victoria during periods of heavy rain, due to the low absorbency of urban surfaces. According to the Environment Agency, there are now around 534,000 properties in London on the Thames floodplain, and one in four in London are at risk of flooding. more…
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