Search Results for: commercial

Virtually Uninspiring, Cautiously Aspirational – award winning offices for the VUCA world.

award winning officesWorld-of-work watchers will be more than aware that we are increasingly being informed that we are living in the VUCA age, which under normal circumstances is an acronym for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous but in the context of these RIBA Award Winners for 2014 might be taken in a number of other ways. Commentators and self-styled thought leaders are warning businesses to prepare for seismic changes to the way work gets done, where, how and by whom (or by what, if proponents of automation and robotics have anything to do with it). How lovely then, that RIBA have made awards to seven offices that hark back to more comforting, more halcyon, times. The text of the accompanying feature in Architects Journal is at pains to point out that offices are hard to design and that RIBA awards are hard won. I wouldn’t disagree on the former point but, from the evidence on show, it’s a bit more of a challenge to agree with the later. So I won’t.

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Public sector procurement skills at heart of updated UK Civil Service plan

Public sector procurementThe UK Civil Service has outlined the latest developments in the way it procures goods and services as part of its updated Civil Service Plan for 2014/15. These include a fresh take on the way the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) function operates with private sector firms. This is seen as an essential part of the new form of public sector procurement within the context of a Civil Service which ‘understands the private sector and can work confidently with them, whether purchasing goods and services through complex procurement or learning from them to enhance customer service’. The new approach to public sector procurement will be built on a range of new management skills and schemes to recruit new types of managers which will allow Government departments to share ideas and best practice and collaborate more effectively with suppliers and consultants.  The document also emphasises the expansion of digital capabilities of the public sector services as a way of working with private forms and individuals.

England’s technology firms now employ more people than California’s, claims new report

technology firmsAs we reported last week, London and the South East of England remain the UK’s hotspots for new business start-ups and now new research claims that the region now has more people working in the vital technology and information sector than the capital of world tech, California. The report from South Mountain Economics and Bloomberg Philanthropies shows that there are nearly three quarters of a million people working for technology firms in London, the South East and East Anglia compared to 692,000 in California and that there are more firms working in financial technology in London than either Silicon Valley or New York. The report backs up new research from Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Mayor of London to coincide with London Technology Week, which claims that over the next decade, London’s digital tech sector is expected to grow at a rate of 5.1 per cent per annum, creating an additional £12 billion of economic activity and 46,000 new jobs, which in turn is driving change in the commercial property market. More →

Workplace features heavily in latest round of Government cuts and cost reductions

WhitehallThe workplace features heavily in the latest round of cost savings announced by the UK Government. Of the £14.3 billion of cost reductions, £5.4 billion has been cut in the procurement of goods and services, with the Cabinet Office drawing particular attention to the use of consultants (which is probably the bulk of it), and the use of printer cartridges and paper (which isn’t). In addition, around £600 million was saved with the divestment of unused buildings and an increase in the number of departments sharing offices. The savings are driven by the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) which was set up by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office in the wake of the 2010 general election, and works with departments to make savings and address what it considers wasteful spending. This year’s savings follow £10 billion saved for 2012 to 2013, £5.5 billion in 2011 to 2012 and £3.75 billion in 2010 to 2011.

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Property sector calls for introduction of mandatory energy standards

Property sector urges government to introduce mandatory energy standardsAhead of the Queen’s Speech today, business leaders from some of the UK’s biggest property owners, developers and occupiers are urging the Government to end the “prevarication” around the introduction of mandatory energy standards for privately rented commercial buildings, amid concerns there is “significant opposition” to them within the Coalition. The UK Green Building Council has released the text of a letter sent to Prime Minister David Cameron by the heads of major companies including Legal and General, Whitbread, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer on the Government’s proposed minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). It argues that commercial buildings are responsible for around one fifth of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions. More →

Green light (at last) for nine acre Birmingham City Centre mixed use development

commercial propertyThe developer of a major new mixed use project on a 9 acre site in the centre of Birmingham has announced that work will begin soon, after nearly ten years of delays. The £500 million Arena Central scheme was initially announced in 2004, then significantly extended and revised in 2011 to double the amount of commercial property available as part of the development. The first impressions of the finalised plans were published earlier this year and featured open public spaces, an urban meadow, cascading water features, ramps and a pedestrian spine that connects the elements of the site and connects to the main shopping areas in Broad Street and city centre residential areas to the South.  All in all, landscape architect Gillespies has designed four acres of soft landscaping within the development, nearly half of its total footprint. The first office building for the site will be designed by Make Architects. The building, named Arena 1 will be a 144,000 sq. ft. set to complete in 2016.

Barangaroo South Tower 2 in Sydney is now Oz’s greenest large office building

Barangaroo SouthOne of Sydney’s landmark new office towers has just been awarded a 6Star Green Star –Office Design V3 rating, the Green Building Council of Australia’s highest environmental accreditation. South Tower 2 in Barangaroo South is part of a $6 billion carbon-neutral development alongside Sydney Harbour. The 42 storey skyscraper is part of a three commercial building cluster in Barangaroo South called International Towers Sydney. Each of the buildings incorporates arrange of sustainable features including cooling systems using water from the harbour and solar shading. The buildings also make use of the development’s shared environmental features including an on-site backwater treatment plant which will recycle up to one million litres of water a day for use by the local community. The intention is to create a world class sustainable community in the city.

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Goodbye 9-5: flexible working practices help retain and attract staff

flexible working connectors

Tech savvy connectors @ Oliver Preston

New ways of working are being fuelled by employees desire to take greater control of their lives. Over three-quarters (77%) of respondents in a survey by YouGov for Virgin Media Business said that remote working helps them address their work-life balance and almost four in five employees (78%) believe companies today need to offer it to attract and retain staff. As part of the research, psychologist Professor Cary Cooper reveals remote workers fall into four groups which range from ‘beginners’ to tech savvy ‘connectors.’ He stresses the need for employers to not only kit out their employees with the technology they need to work remotely, but also to educate them on flexible working best practice tips and guidelines because: “Ultimately this will help them ensure there is consistency across employees’ standard of work regardless of location, and will also ensure they remain as productive as possible.” More →

Workplace design and management of TMT sector aped by other firms

Male midlifeThe publication of a report last week by the British Council for Offices highlights the wider impact of workplace design trends and commercial property arrangements  in the increasingly important Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector. Not least it suggests that they are having a transformational influence on the way firms in other sectors approach leases, workplace design and the changing nature of work. It is no coincidence that the TMT sector is the one most commonly associated with the employment of the much-talked-about Gen Y demographic, nor that the business practices most commonly associated with this overly-stereotyped group are those that are having the greatest influence in the way we design and manage offices.

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Supply of new office space in London continues to fall short of demand

Glass half emptyOne of the downsides to London’s attractiveness as a business destination, as we reported yesterday, is its inability to provide enough office space to satisfy the rapacious demands of the companies who want to work there. Survey after survey reveals the same thing. Even though London has a healthy pipeline of new offices under construction, it cannot keep pace with demand. The latest survey to make the same point comes from Deloitte Real Estate whose London Crane Survey claims that the 9.2 million sq. ft. of office space currently being built will fall short of what is needed. The report claims that London office space is likely to remain in short supply for two years as the new occupancy levels of offices continues to outstrip supply. The report claims that 2014will see 7 million sq. ft. of Grade A office space delivered, the largest volume for over a decade but nearly half has already been let even before construction is complete.

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HR and Facilities Management bodies to collaborate on future of workplace

Facilities managementOne of the main themes at the ThinkFM conference yesterday was the acknowledgement that facilities management and HR need to break down the silos that often exist between the two disciplines. This was the message of Chris Kane, CEO of BBC Commercial Properties, who explained that the British Institute of Facilities Management will be collaborating with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development on a number of projects to investigate how both communities of professionals are evolving and adapting to the changing workplace. It marked the end of a conference which began the day with a talk by Peter Cheese, the CEO of the CIPD, who remarked that both professions were in the business of getting the most of people in the working environment and why it is vital that those tasked with managing these key resources within organisations need to work together to maximise the value of its workforce. More →

The business of workplace design and management; new issue of Insight is now available

Flexible workingIn the latest Insight newsletter, available to view online; Mark Eltringham lists just seven of the ways in which flexible working may have actually made our lives more rigid; expectations for rising rents as demand for commercial property reaches the highest level since before the financial crisis; ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper signs up two new tenants; and the BCO names London and the South East’s best recently refurbished examples of workplace design. The idea that staff find greater job satisfaction when they work in environmentally friendly surroundings is challenged by a new study; while another report claims that wearable technology could be a boast to productivity; and the CIPD warns that rigid organisational hierarchies hamper the development of management and leadership skills within the workplace. To automatically receive our weekly newsletter, simply add your email address to the box on the home page.