Search Results for: office design

New study to investigate effectiveness of UK carbon reduction policies

carbon-dioxide-molecule-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.

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Government public sector construction reforms net £447 million in savings

Government public sector construction reforms net £447 million in savings

Reforms to strip out inefficiencies in public sector construction – including the use of building information modelling (BIM) and the creation of a sustainable supply chain have generated £447 million in savings and will deliver up to 20 per cent savings in project costs by 2015, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has announced. By making links across departments the Government has also been able to act as a single customer to the construction industry and provide clear benchmarks for budgets by setting out the average price it expects to pay for projects. The Government has now published a new set of benchmarks that are designed to drive down project costs even further and encourage the industry to offer more competitive and innovative solutions. More →

The world’s enduring love hate relationship with its tall buildings

Jean Nouvel Duo Towers in Paris

Jean Nouvel Duo Towers in Paris

One day, news will emerge from Dubai of a new development that doesn’t break some record or other, or at least one that isn’t solely about the size of a building. The latest example of the Emirati obsession with scale is the plan by developers DMCC, the people who brought you the Jumeirah Lake Towers, to create the world’s largest commercial office building as part of a 107,000 sq m development of their business park. Although still in the development stage, the developers have their eyes on usurping the current holder of the tallest office crown, Taipei 101, the 509m-high building which was the world’s tallest tower of any sort until the Burj Khalifa came along in 2010. In their press announcement the developers claim the new tower will act as a magnet for multinationals, although not everybody is quite so enamoured of the idea that tall is best. More →

Ergonomics of dishonesty. How desk size influences behaviour

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 →

Under a quarter of US staff enjoy optimal working environment, claims report

American flag cakeArchitecture 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.

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Latest edition of Insight newsletter now available to view online

The latest issue of the Insight newsletter is available to view online. This week, what Jeremy Clarkson can’t teach us about workplace productivity; the string of surveys, ideas and terminology that can lead commentators to make grand and daft pronouncements about flexible working and why the latest wellness figures show a disturbing lack of fitness amongst the UK workforce. Our regular contributor Simon Heath ponders the somewhat derivative and cautious designs amongst the RIBA awards winners, while our latest contributor Andrew Brown questions the futility of designing a state-of-the-art office in the first place if it’s the management that make the workplace stink. To view this week’s newsletter – which includes an update on the changing structure of the market for corporate offices in the U.S. – click here.

Neocon 2013 announces comprehensive list of awards winners

It might sound like a Republican convention but in fact Neocon is the annual workplace exhibition at the giant Merchandise Mart in the centre of Chicago. And when we say ‘workplace’, we mean largely ‘office furniture’.  It attracts around 700 exhibitors and 40,000  of visitors from all over the world and so can help to disseminate ideas that spring up in the US to influence design on a global scale.  Many of the themes apparent at this year’s show will be familiar around the world. As well as the fact that everybody is talking about the environmental credentials of the products, the themes are direct reflections of the concerns and priorities of office occupiers and specifiers. By custom, the first day of the show is when they dish out the awards.

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First non-UK BREEAM outstanding award redraws the green building battle lines

The jostling for position in the field of environmental accreditations for buildings has taken a new turn with the announcement that a project in the Czech republic is the first commercial building outside the UK to achieve a BREEAM outstanding rating.  The Tower at the Spielberk development in Brno designed by architects Studio Acht is, according to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), a true demonstration of good design, reducing CO2 emissions by over 50 percent compared to a typical building, built to Czech regulations.  BRE Director Martin Townsend awarded the BREEAM outstanding certificate to Stefan de Goeij, Head of Property Management at CTP, for the office building which is located in the centre of the Czech Republic’s emerging high-tech city of Brno.

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UK public sector leading the way in procurement and sustainable building

Nottingham City Council's Loxley Building

Nottingham City Council’s Loxley Building

Over the last few years, the UK Government has grown increasingly interested in finding ways of making its £30 billion property portfolio more efficient. Both the last Labour government and the current Coalition administration have been driven by the opportunities offered them with the advent of new technology, new ways of working and new procurement models. They’ve pursued these issues to cut costs by reducing and changing the way property is designed and managed but have also found how that can also help to establish best practice in sustainable building. What is increasingly apparent, especially given recent news from the Major Projects Authority about cost savings in procurement is that the public sector is now leading the way as models of good practice.

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Are these the world’s most spectacular corporate buildings?

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

Building data provider Emporis has issued a list of 16 of what it calls the World’s Most Spectacular Corporate Buildings. The list is intended to show how firms use architecture to convey their identity and to impress anybody viewing their supposedly imposing  corporate edifices. The Germany based firm claims the list was compiled by a jury of buildings experts from around the world who considered a range of factors and included buildings from all kinds of industries. Even so, the list is far from subtle with not even an attempt at lip service paid to the esoteric or surprising. It is dominated instead by glamorous blue chip businesses and buildings that are tall, designed by renowned architects or literal reflections of each company’s business. More →

Flexible working boosts employee satisfaction and lowers business costs

Working while commuting is on the increase survey finds

May 2013 played host to Work Wise Week, an initiative from Work Wise UK that aimed to promote and encourage smarter working practices to the benefit of businesses and employees. Cultural, economic and social changes are affecting attitudes to how we balance work and personal lives, and increasingly, mobility and technology is shifting away the need for the traditional 9-5 work patterns, replacing it with more flexible working practices. There are many benefits of flexible working and, as such, we are seeing more businesses starting to understand that forcing employees to work in an office does not guarantee productivity. More →

CBRE WorkShop concept is interesting, but is it workable?


I’d like to deal in this article with the arrival yesterday of the long-awaited white paper from CBRE’s thought leadership exercise, The CBRE Workshop. However, I should declare an interest for the sake of transparency. Until June 2012 I was employed by CBRE and reported directly to a couple of the people who are heavily involved in The Workshop idea. I would reassure readers that I am not a disgruntled former employee. I have a huge amount of respect and warm regard towards my erstwhile colleagues and nobody will be happier than me to see them do well.

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