New BCO specification guide addresses “exponential times”

The British Council for Offices (BCO) has published its new Guide to Specification, which provides guidance on industry standards for workplaces across the UK. The Specification Guide, last published in 2014, sets out to help office developers address the key issues for the UK workforce in the coming decades, namely wellbeing, technology and sustainability. The authors claim that the new edition addresses the “exponential times” in which we now live, with sections focusing on wellbeing, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and sustainability.

These themes are reflected in three new chapters, Health and Wellbeing, Intelligent Building Technology and Information Management, along with an expanded chapter on the environment and social value, Sustainability.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Employee wellbeing is closely linked to employee productivity and is boosted by spacious, naturally lit offices with good air quality and amenities[/perfectpullquote]

The chapter on Health and Wellbeing was heavily informed by the BCO’s 2018 research report, Wellness Matters, and takes a ‘people-first’ approach that runs through the Guide. Employee wellbeing, the report states, is closely linked to employee productivity and is boosted by spacious, naturally lit offices with good air quality and amenities.

The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is cited as a major challenge to developers, due to new workplace demands created by automation. However, technology’s opportunities are also explored in detail. Intelligent Building Technology considers connectivity, including new recommendations on cyber security, while Information Management looks at how workplace buildings collect and best use data.

The chapter on Sustainability, meanwhile, looks at how business can create social value and both mitigate and manage climate change. The chapter advises on smart energy use, including how buildings can generate their own solar and wind-powered energy, along with how they can prepare for increased heatwave and flooding risks.

The Guide is available in physical and digital form, with the digital version hosted on a new, easily navigated platform and free to members of the BCO.

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “As the Guide states, the UK faces unprecedented uncertainty. For now, that comes in the form of Brexit, but these buildings will far outlast our current political instability. The next generations of UK offices respond to much wider issues facing the UK’s workforce. Namely wellbeing, climate change and the fourth industrial revolution.  That said, there are still many opportunities. When I look at our membership, I see a resilient sector that is adapting for the 21st century. The UK’s workplaces are world-leading and are a consistent strength for our economy. Our ambition is that the Guide will equip our industry with the knowledge to maintain this strength in the months and years that lie ahead.”