Search Results for: construction

Lifecycle management most important aspect of BIM say FMs

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 →

Hours and pay are not key factors for work-life balance finds survey

Hours or pay not crucial to work-life balance

The key to a better work-life balance is not simply to work shorter hours or earn more money and working shorter hours does not necessarily make people happier. According to a new survey by recruiter Randstad those in the South East and Yorkshire & The Humber are most happy with their work-life balance, with 64 per cent saying they are content, despite those in the South East having one of the longest average working weeks in the UK. The survey also found that those working in property and construction (88%) were amongst the happiest with their work-life balance, coming third after the utilities and insurance sectors. Those least happy with their work-life balance were the East of England (51 per cent) and South West (55 per cent) – yet those in the South West have a shorter average working week than most of the UK. More →

Designs unveiled for new Google London headquarters in King’s Cross

Detailed plans have been submitted for the design of the new Google London headquarters building in King’s Cross. The 1 million sq. ft scheme designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris does not exceed 11 storeys at any point and will be home to up to 4,500 employees, double the company’s current London workforce and potentially making it the largest Google operation outside of New York.  The scheme is part of a wider development of Kings Cross and will incorporate 750,000 sq. ft. of office space with 50,000 sq. ft. of shops and cafes.  Current employees will relocate from three existing buildings in the capital.  Subject to approval for the detailed design from Camden Council, who have already granted planning permission,  work will begin on the site next year with completion set for 2016-2017.

Google is evidently keen to emphasise its investment in the UK, following weeks of criticism of its tax affairs from the media and politicians. Dan Cobley, Google UK’s managing director, in announcing the details of the development said: ‘Building our new headquarters in King’s Cross is good for Google and good for London.’ Certainly the deal is one of the biggest in recent years in the UK property industry, worth around £650 million and is expected by the developers to create 1,500 construction jobs and 35,000 new employment opportunities over all.

Some of the more interesting aspects of the proposed design are:

  • The primary way for workers to move between floors will be stairs rather than lifts as the firm looks to challenge the sedentary workstyles of staff. No news yet on any wretched slides.
  • The building is designed as a ‘groundscraper’ eschewing London’s recent trend for tall buildings, but is larger than the Shard at 1,083 ft long compared with the Shard’s 1,016 ft height.
  • Over two thirds (71 percent) of the office space are designated for workstations with the remainder set aside for meeting and breakout spaces, cafes and lobbies. Nearly half of the roof of the building will be landscaped.
  • The intention is to achieve a BREEAM outstanding accreditation.
  • The architects claims the design is inspired by the Victorian industrial heritage of the area and will act as a theatre in which the drama of Google’s business will unfold, but with stage settings that can change quickly and easily.

Commenting on the development, Simon Allford, of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said: ‘This building is underpinned by cutting edge design intelligence and technologies to provide a sophisticated twenty first century working environment for Google’s staff. The architectural approach, which has taken inspiration from King’s Cross and St Pancras International railway stations, complements the local area’s strong industrial heritage and will be a building London can be proud of.’

US corporate occupiers changing the size and type of office space they demand

America’s corporate occupiers are not only reducing the amount of office space they use, they are changing their requirements too according to the latest Office Occupier View report from CBRE. Not only did overall demand for commercial space fall during the first quarter of 2013 compared to the last of 2012, the average amount of space allocated to each worker is falling below 225 sq.ft. (21 sq.m.) , and occupiers are demanding more open, ‘creative’ working environments in Class A buildings with large floor plates. Occupiers are also looking for space that is ideally located  in central business districts (CBDs) with easy access to transport links and amenities and offers them flexible terms.

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Approval for first commercial building to achieve top eco-build standards

 Approval granted to first commercial building to achieve top eco-build standards

A major new £8m low carbon building, which is the first commercial building to be designed to achieve both Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding certifications has been granted planning permission. The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia (UEA), designed by UK-GBC members Architype and BDP, as well as Churchman Landscape Architects, also aims to set radical new sustainability standards in terms of embodied energy and use of materials from renewable sources. Ben Humphries, Associate Director from Architype and lead designer for the project, described the building as an “exciting and innovative piece of architecture.” More →

Land Securities £260m development confirms City office confidence

Land Securities announcement today of a £260 million development of 1 & 2 New Ludgate, EC4, a speculative mixed-use development in the City of London confirms a growing confidence in the City office market. The 379,000 sq ft scheme occupies an island site near St Paul’s Cathedral and comprises two distinct buildings united by a new public piazza, which together aim to offer 346,000 sq ft of office accommodation set around open and green spaces. Colette O’Shea, Head of Development, London said: “Our decision to commence the speculative development of 1 & 2 New Ludgate reflects our confidence both in the City office market, where we believe supply of new space will be constrained in 2015, and in the quality of the attractive and highly efficient office space we are creating.” More →

The three Rs of the RIBA Awards winners – risk, reticence, recession

Risk, reticence and recession are the 3 Rs  that leap out from the education dominated RIBA awards winners. The premise being that only a really bold architect would design something daring at a time of economic constraint. However, given what vanity has been displayed in recent years one would have supposed that boldness would not have been in short supply. It is the reality that falls some way short. A largely egg- and shoe-box inspired collection with windows best described as minimalist, the common theme is seemingly one of modesty. Even the big public projects seem derivative and cautious. Images of the visitor centre for the Giants Causeway (above) in Ireland suggest an attractive scheme but bring to mind Stonehenge, another early attempt at brutalist monolithic human construction with a spiritual dimension. Unless I’m missing something.

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New European Awards recognise leadership in sustainable building

The first awards to recognise outstanding leadership in sustainable building in Europe have been launched by the World Green Building Council’s European Regional Network. The “WorldGBC Leadership Awards – Europe Region” will honour best practice and excellence in cities’ green building policy, as well as in construction projects and corporate initiatives across the continent. The awards feature three categories – Excellence in City Policy for Green Building, Leadership in Building Design and Performance, and Business Leadership in Sustainability – and are open to city councils and policy makers, projects and businesses. More →

Applications for UK commercial property developments continue to fall

Commercial property constructionAccording to law firm EMW LLP, the number of planning applications submitted for commercial property developments in the UK has fallen for a second successive year. The firm claims that the around 4 percent fall is down to declining demand from tenants. However there are stark contrasts between London and the rest of the UK measured both in terms of market activity and the number of tower cranes on the skyline, with London now having more than the rest of the UK combined for the third consecutive year according to the Health and Safety Executive. The report echoes the findings of the latest Markit/CIPS report on construction activity which saw a fall in construction activity, although total activity increased on the back of an increase in housebuilding.

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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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Whitehall savings boosted by property and procurement efficiencies

The joint Cabinet Office and Treasury initiative the Efficiency and Reform Group has exceeded the Government’s savings target by 25 per cent to make an overall saving of £10 billion, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced today. The savings made include; £1.1 billion made by boosting online services and selling empty buildings and exiting expensive rentals in sought-after locations; £1.7 billion by reviewing large scale projects including construction, and stripping out inefficiencies; and a further £3.8 billion was saved in procurement, by linking together departments to buy goods and services.

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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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