July 12, 2013
The Knights of the Round Table may be the stuff of legend but it seems King Arthur was on to something, for a new study reveals that people sitting in a circular formation at round meeting tables are more likely to want to ‘belong’ to a group and are less prone to be antagonistic. By contrast, the research from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business found that people seated in an angular arrangement – i.e. “The Boardroom” in Sir Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice – are more likely to look out for number one. “The geometric shape of a seating arrangement can act as a subtle environmental cue for people, by priming their fundamental need for inclusiveness or individuality,” says Sauder Assistant Professor Juliet Zhu, who co-authored the forthcoming study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
July 11, 2013
Allowing staff to make design decisions in a workspace enhanced with office plants can increase wellbeing and wellness by as much as 47 per cent, increase creativity by 45 per cent and increase productivity by 38 per cent, new research has revealed. Visitors at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show were challenged to take part in the study which measured their creativity, happiness and productivity as they experienced a range of different workspace designs. The findings, which would be expected to translate to a significant increase in business profitability, confront the popular belief that plants and art are an unnecessary or even wasteful element of the business environment. Results from this and related scientific investigations indicate that across all measures of psychological comfort and business performance, the managerially popular flexible, controlled, lean office, is consistently inferior to a space enriched by the design decisions of people who work there.
July 9, 2013
Deloitte has been commissioned by the Green Construction Board and the Green Property Alliance to carry out a study into the effectiveness of the UK Government’s policies for carbon reduction as the it seeks to meet its commitment to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Inevitably buildings, which reportedly are the largest source of CO2 including some 17 percent from non-domestic property, have been targeted to make significant contributions. With the much vaunted Green Deal in the news for all the wrong reasons – either because of its low take-up as well as new fears that it could lead to homes overheating – the survey will gauge how policies aimed specifically at commercial property such as Energy Performance Certificates and the Carbon Reduction Commitment have fared in spite of their own difficult gestations.
July 9, 2013
Rather like someone who collects friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter with the obsessiveness of the avid lepidopterist completist, news reaches us from the British Institute of Facilities Management concerning yet another partnership. Not content with the recently announced merger with Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association, this time it’s the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) that is the object of BIFM’s affections. Not that BIFM are considering moving in to Caxton House and a run for Parliament in 2015 (at least not that we are aware of). But while BIFM are, understandably, trumpeting the signing of this joint agreement, the DWP are not. In fact, if one searches on www.gov.uk using the search terms “BIFM” or “British Institute of Facilities Management” no results are returned.
July 8, 2013
The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) is building on its recent track record of building new alliances with the announcement that it has signed a partnership agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The partners claim the new agreement will see the BIFM and DWP working in unison to support future growth in the facilities and workplace management sector. The agreement was signed at the end of last week by Mark Hoban MP, Minister of State for Employment, Gareth Tancred, CEO of BIFM and Martin Brown, Work Services Director for Wales and Employers, Department for Work and Pensions. The joint statement from the BIFM and DWP claims that the partnership agreement will drive ‘a shared agenda on increasing routes into and raising skills and professionalism of all those working in the facilities and workplace management industry’.
July 3, 2013
The relationship between Building Information Modelling (BIM) and lifecycle management is the most important factor for facilities managers, who, along with owners and occupiers believe BIM will becoming increasingly important in day-to-day working practices within the next two to three years. The findings are from a poll of individual members of the BIM4FM group which represents institutes, trade associations and professional bodies within the built environment. “The results clearly show that there is recognition that BIM offers the opportunity to improve the lifecycle management of buildings. Interestingly there is both a desire, and an expectation for BIM to be able to support better working practices and improve operation and maintenance of buildings in practice:” said Geoff Prudence Chairman of the BIM4FM group more…
July 2, 2013
An industrial strategy for construction – ‘Construction 2025’ is being launched by the Coalition Government today which aims to tap into the considerable growth opportunities predicted for the global construction market. The strategy has been developed in partnership with the new Construction Leadership Council, jointly chaired by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail, formed to help oversee the delivery of the action plan and its strategic priorities. The strategy’s vision to 2025 includes ambitions for a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment, and an equal reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials. more…
July 2, 2013
What is claimed to be the world’s most sustainable office building has just achieved a platinum LEED certification. The NuOffice building in Munich was supported by the EU funded Direction project which promotes energy efficient and sustainable building design along with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP). The focus of the building’s design is on energy efficiency and applies radiant heating and cooling technology, switchable glazing and innovative insulating material to reduce the environmental footprint and running costs of the building. The developers claim that local energy costs have increased by 50 percent over the last decade so the new building which is expected to reduce energy consumption by 90 percent can offer a substantial cost saving over conventional designs.
July 1, 2013
What were your thoughts on the recent announcement of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM), Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association agreeing to the concept of forming one single and united body to represent facilities management and support services? I suppose the devil is in the detail and clarification of “agreeing to the concept” is required. Is this going to be a quick process, something that drags on for a lengthy period and what consultation will there be? And that is the crux for me – consultation is where this could all break down. But let’s take a step back and ask how many people work in the sector and how many facilities managers do the organisations involved represent?
June 27, 2013
The influence the design and layout of the workplace can have on productivity is widely acknowledged. Now, according to a new scientific study expansive physical settings like having a big desk to stretch out at work can cause individuals to feel more powerful, and in turn these feelings of power can elicit more dishonest behaviour such as stealing, cheating, and traffic violations. This might sound far-fetched but The Ergonomics of Dishonesty was written by a group of researchers at leading business schools, including Harvard, Columbia and Berkeley and is soon to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. Co-author Andy Yap, explained: “Our research shows that office managers should pay attention to the ergonomics of their workspaces. The results suggest that these physical spaces have tangible and real-world impact on our behaviours.” more…
June 27, 2013
Architecture firm Gensler has released the results of its 2013 US Workplace Survey. The report claims that under a quarter (24 percent) of US workers work in an optimised working environment with the remainder suffering from unnecessary lost productivity and a lack of innovation and engagement. The survey of more than 2,000 knowledge workers from across the US examined specific design factors across four work modes defined by Gensler: focus, collaboration, learning and socialising. The report concludes that the modern workplace has a number of new and increasingly important drivers including new technology, globalisation, generation Y and so on which define where, when and how workers perform their jobs and concludes that the ability to balance focus and collaboration with strategic workplace design is essential.
June 26, 2013
The Government should conduct a comprehensive assessment of non-residential low-carbon policies to ensure they work effectively said the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its latest annual progress report to Parliament today. Progress in implementing some of the measures required to meet carbon budgets was limited in 2012, it warned, while the simplification of the CRC energy efficiency scheme beyond the CCC’s original recommendations has further eroded the incentives to improve energy efficiency it set out to provide. John Alker, Director of Policy and Communications at the UK Green Building Council, said: “Just one day before the release of official statistics on the Green Deal, the CCC’s report is a timely reminder that the Coalition’s flagship energy efficiency policy needs to be further incentivised to encourage take-up.”