Search Results for: innovation

Work begins on ‘living laboratory’ to test eco-build products

Work begins on 'living laboratory' to test eco-build productsAccording to Constructing Excellence, buildings collectively account for around half the UK national output of carbon dioxide. To help address this, work has begun on the construction of a new £1.4 million ‘living laboratory’ at the Eden Project in Cornwall, where new eco-build products can be installed, tested and monitored. The Green Build Hub (GBH), is designed as a training centre that encourages inward investment by specialist green suppliers by enabling them to showcase and test innovative products. The project, by the Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust (CSBT), made possible by an investment of £1.1 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme, aims to deliver a BREAAM ‘Outstanding’ building that acts as a resource of specialist green building knowledge. The GBH design team includes Gilbert & Goode Ltd, Ward Williams Associates, PBWC Architects, Hoare Lea, CDEC Ltd and TClarke Ltd; with an expected completion date of June 2015. More →

BCO announces winners of national awards for Britain’s best workplaces

Britain's best workplaces - One RiversideThe BCO has announced the winners of its prestigious annual National Awards to honour what it considers Britain’s best workplaces. The overall winner was Number One Riverside in Rochdale (above). The office, home to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, was also recognised as the Best Corporate Workplace in the UK, and topped a list of six other award winners recognised for excellence in office space.  Number One Riverside was singled out by the judges for its consolidation of the Council’s estate from 33 buildings into one. The project is also the centrepiece for the first phase of a major regeneration in the borough of Rochdale, ‘providing a new civic office that promotes new ways of working and creates a sense of community, engagement and social transparency.’ The building was commended by the judges for its incorporation of a range of public space alongside the workplace, including a library and cafe and customer service facilities.

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New property programme supports co-working between tech businesses

co-workingOver 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. Now the rapid rise of the UK property tech market is to get a boost with the announcement of a programme which provides tech companies with access to investment, mentoring and co-working business space. In a strategic partnership with Cushman & Wakefield and Spire Ventures; Pi Labs, Europe’s first property-focused technology accelerator company, will invite start-ups to apply to join the Pi Labs accelerator programme. This will be located within ‘Second Home’, a new iconic 20,000 sq. ft. co-working space in Shoreditch, designed to set new global standards in the provision of stimulating private and social workplace environments supporting collaboration and co-working amongst creative and technology businesses.
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Julian Assange escapes incarceration to take part in conference as a hologram

Julian Assange escapes incarceration to take part in conference as a hologram

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We have grown accustomed to the way technology distorts time and space. This, after all, is the underlying tension that defines each of the major debates about the workplace, including flexible working, office design, facilities management and the acquisition of commercial property. But, as they say, we ain’t seen nothing yet as the next generation of technologies starts to scale the upslope of the diffusion of innovation curve. People have been talking about telepresence for a little while, but it is about to achieve mainstream awareness thanks to events such as the appearance of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange at a conference in the USA last week. Assange is famously holed up in London in the Ecuadorian Embassy, challenging his extradition to Sweden to face trial and can’t leave the building without being arrested. So the way he appeared at the conference in Nantucket was as a hologram.

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HOK releases new workplace benchmarking report for financial services sector

HOK Benchmarking reportArchitectural practice HOK has released a new benchmarking report that examines design and work-style trends at leading financial services firms over the past three years, including the finding that space is underutilised across the sector by nearly a half, meaning that growth can easily be accommodated within the existing facilities of many firms. The HOK Benchmarking Report claims to provide information on recent trends affecting the industry, an analysis of how organisations are using office space and metrics for space standards based on recently completed workplace projects for financial services firms in New York, Toronto and London. The authors claim that because ‘companies are eager to understand the link between their work environments and organisational performance, the space standards and findings in this report can provide a baseline to help corporate real estate and facilities professionals identify and respond to opportunities for improvement.’

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Much anticipated BCO Specification Guide update for 2014 launched

BCO specification guideThe British Council for Offices (BCO) has launched the much awaited new edition of its Specification Guide. Last updated in 2009, the 2014 issue aims to cement the publication’s position as the ‘definitive guide to office development in the UK’. As well as its traditional subjects of occupier density and building infrastructure and services, the latest edition covers topics such as building information modelling (BIM) rights to light, updates to BREEAM and amended planning law and building regulations as well as topical issues such as the inexorable rise of the ‘coffee shop workplace’ and the provision of cycle parks.  Richard Kauntze, chief executive, claims the revised BCO Specification Guide represents a greater focus on the needs of end users.

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Workplace design is increasingly interwoven with the dynamics of the city

workplace designThe Workplace Strategy Summit, held near my adopted home town of Reading in June attracted some of the world’s most renowned experts on workplace design and management. As is the case these days, much of the talk focussed on urbanisation, both in its own right and in terms of its influence on the design of work and workplaces. One speaker, Andrew Laing of Aecom argued convincingly that the city is just as much a part of the modern workplace as the traditional office. ‘As we explore the future of work and place, we are beginning to see a shift towards an urban scale in how we frame the workplace problem,’ he said. ‘Our starting point is perhaps no longer the office but the city at large. And what we mean by the city may not be the bricks and mortar urbanism of the twentieth century, but a bricks and mortar urbanism imbued with digital information and connectivity: a powerful combination of the physical and digital.’

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BIM’s impact on future of built environment mapped out by construction experts

New report by construction group on digital future for built environmentA new report by an influential group of young construction professionals has been published today which illustrates the need for organisations to consider new skills, new processes and develop strategies around emerging technologies that will ensure that the UK stays ahead in embracing the digital construction future. The report by the BIM2050 Group, comprises a compilation of essays authored by BIM2050 work stream leads, and focuses on three key areas; education and skill; technology and process; and the culture of integration. Built Environment 2050: A report on our digital future, highlights the risks and challenges and the opportunities and benefits that come with large scale innovation and game-changing new technologies. Commented Graham Watts OBE, CIC Chief Executive: “It is an important discussion document of ideas and concepts that will, I hope, spark debate in the wider construction community.” More →

Government extends public estate scheme as DCLG moves in with Home Office

public estateThe UK government has announced that it is to extend its groundbreaking One Public Estate scheme to a further twenty local authorities. The programme aims to divest and consolidate government-owned land and property to cut public sector spending and boost economic growth and regeneration. The government believes the initial phase will save £21m in running costs and £88m in capital receipts, generate around £40m for local economies and create an estimated 5,500 jobs and 7,500 homes over the next five years. The Cabinet Office is now looking to build on this with the extension of the schemes to councils including Liverpool and Birmingham city centres as well as six from Greater Manchester and Cornwall, Southampton and Plymouth. The Government Property Unit will provide funding and training to the participating authorities.

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BIFM survey reveals lukewarm approach to sustainable facilities management

Sustainable facilities managementA new report from the British Institute of Facilities Management reveals the lukewarm approach many UK organisations have to sustainable business practices generally and sustainable FM in particular. The study, based on online research carried out in the Spring with the University of Reading found that, while an overall majority (60 percent) of facilities managers think sustainability is effectively integrated in to their businesses, most operate on the ‘border of compliancy’. The report makes this conclusion based on the fact that its survey showed that over three quarters of respondents (78 percent) claimed that the main driver for the development of sustainability policies is corporate image and a similar proportion (77 percent). The report concludes that this ‘suggests a ‘box-ticking’ approach to sustainability instead of businesses embracing and investing in longer-term practices and the advantages of spending to save’.

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RIBA announce Stirling prize shortlist for best new building 2014

Stirling prize shortlist for best new building 2014 announced

LSE Saw Swee Hock Student Centre

The Shard in the City of London, the Library of Birmingham, the Manchester School of Art, the London School of Economics, the Everyman theatre in Liverpool and the London Aquatics Centre have been named in the shortlist for the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize for the best new building. The six shortlisted buildings will now go head-to-head for architecture’s highest accolade, to be awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on 16 October 2014. The six buildings will be judged by the same criteria: their design excellence and their significance in the evolution of architecture and the built environment. Stephen Hodder, RIBA President said: “The RIBA Stirling Prize is awarded to the building that has made the biggest contribution to the evolution of architecture in a given year. Every one of the six shortlisted buildings shows what great public architecture can do: it can transcend mere construction to something quite poetic.” More →

Book Review: Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval

Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Nikil Saval’s book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace pulls off that rare feat for a parochial business book of being intelligent and informed (which many are) as well as fascinating, entertaining and realistic, which is rather less commonplace. He pulls this off with plenty of references to pop culture including television series such as Will and Grace, films such as Office Space and The Apartment and, inevitably, the Dilbert cartoons. There is also a great deal of enjoyment to be had in the slightly jaded tone of his writing and brutal evisceration of the likes of Tom Peters who is singled out for special criticism. So too, his take on the very  idea of the ‘Office of the Future’ with its slides, basketball courts, pool tables and vivid colours.

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