14 Nov 2018

'Bristol is a Perfect Home For Bold and Forward Thinking Commercial Developments'





Wates Construction recently welcomed the BCO to view construction progress at 3 Glass Wharf in Bristol, soon to be home to HMRC. Here, Alec Jackman discusses the important role commercial developments are playing in today’s uncertain economic climate... 

“At a time of uncertainty for the UK, as our impending exit from the European Union looms, there is understandable concern of what the future may hold for Britain’s economy. However, as negotiations with Brussels continue, the construction industry is weathering the storm with output rising every month since April*. The overall rate of expansion in UK construction in October proved to be the second largest in 16 months and this was thanks in no small part to growth in commercial construction activity. 

“Within my region, Bristol is a perfect example of how bold and forward thinking commercial developments are able to provide a city with a real economic boost. Indeed, as the city increasingly competes with larger cities such as Manchester and Birmingham for investment, demand is starting to outstrip supply, with property agents now warning of a shortage of Cat A and Cat B fit outs for expanding professional services firms. 

“This fantastic city is already home to some major global players and the calibre of their office spaces should and does reflect this. This can also be seen in our continuing presence at Salmon Harvester Properties’ Glass Wharf development at the city’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. 

“We handed over 2 Glass Wharf in 2016 and it is now home to PwC, Grant Thornton, Foot Anstey LLP and Arcadis Group. Fast forward to 2018 and construction is nearing completion at 3 Glass Wharf which is seeing us build 15,000 sq m. of Cat A office space to be occupied by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as part of its regional centres programme. This HMRC modernisation plan alone is yielding significant economic boosts for the regions in which new centres like this are based, providing high quality, skilled jobs in modern, cost-effective buildings. 

“Programme certainty and quality are always critical within office developments and particularly here where HMRC has a strict timetable in which to achieve its comprehensive UK wide estates transformation. So our work is continuing apace and we recently hosted a visit from the BCO to share best practice about our experiences and achievements at this prime Bristol office development. 

“These include our efforts to be a force for good and investing a targeted £24,000 into social enterprises as part of our project supply chain. We have also appointed subcontractors from within a 30-mile radius of the site. 

“Most recently, our presence in the area has resulted in the renovation and fit out of a 19th century classroom at Hannah Moore Primary School nearby. Thanks to a £10,000 Wates Giving grant, this has been transformed into a ‘Nurture Room’ to provide emotional, social and behavioural support to the school’s pupils. 

“While the impact of Brexit remains unknown, construction firms like us at Wates need to continue working closely with the BCO as well as developers and investors in order to continue creating dynamic office buildings that will entice major players from the public and the private sector to new sites throughout the country. This is proving to be the key to economic stability in an uncertain time.” 

Alec Jackman is Business Unit Director for Wates Construction in the Southern Home Counties.

*IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index

Follow @WatesGroup on Twitter.
Stay up to date with upcoming #BCOevents and news on @BCO_UK.

1 Oct 2018

BCO NextGen Awards - It's almost time!




Every year the country’s top designers, developers, architects and occupiers under the age of 35 celebrate the achievements and successes of young professionals in the commercial property sector and their mentors at the BCO NextGen Awards.

The Awards are part of the BCO’s NextGen programme, which sets out to mentor and encourage the next generation of professionals to become future leaders in the industry, whilst providing a platform for new talent to share ideas. NextGen members also vote for the office environments and buildings that have most inspired them. The BCO NextGen awards are judged by BCO NextGen committee members and winners from across the country will be announced at the awards evening on 1 November 2018.

Last year saw a hugely successful awards night held at U+I in London to celebrate a brilliant 2017 in commercial real estate. After an equally exciting 2018, with so many brilliant achievements racked up by rising stars across the country, competition will be fierce for the awards on offer as we recognise the accomplishments of bright young talent nationally.

This year we hope to make it the biggest one yet and this will be at an even bigger venue (‘etc venues 155 Bishopsgate’) with Multiplex as the headline sponsors. The event will be hosted by Lucy Porter.

BCO President, Katrina Kostic Samen said:

“As part of my legacy it is very important to me to focus on the NextGens. They are our future and hopefully as an industry we will encourage attendance at key networking events throughout the year. It is encouraging to see such support from sponsors, the membership, mentors and senior people in the industry who give up their time in their busy schedules”.

Chairman of the BCO NextGen London Committee, Carl Giles said:

“NextGen membership provides an opportunity for younger people to develop knowledge and assist with building a network. It has gone from strength to strength and doubled over the last two years. We want to continue that growth and invite more young, ambitious, future leaders in the industry who want to learn about challenges outside of their day job. NextGen members want to do more than just their day job. They want to create change and challenge the status quo.”



With around 350 industry professionals expected to attend this hugely popular event, those wanting further information or to book their tables/places should book online. There are a few spaces left. Alternatively contact events@bco.org.uk for any queries.

Learn more about the industry wide programme highlighting the achievements of young professionals in the commercial property sector.

View this year’s nominees.

View the list of sponsors.


30 Sep 2018

26 Sep 2018

Insight from Cristiano Testi on What Makes a BCO Awards Entry Stand Out


1) What is your name and what do you do? 

Hello, I’m Cristiano and I’m a director in the interiors group at TP Bennett. I lead a team of talented colleagues focusing on all the strategic, creative and technical aspects of workplace projects, from the early feasibility stages to the last inspections on site, and everything in between. Together we work on a number of projects, for prestigious clients in various sectors including tech, legal, financial, and professional services, both in the UK and abroad. 

2) What experiences led you to the role of BCO Awards judge? (and/or chairman) 

I joined the BCO as a NextGen member, very soon after starting my career over a decade ago. I was fortunate to become involved in the NextGen Committee in London and the South East when it was a new initiative, and I helped the NextGen group grow to its current membership of over 600, including with my stint as Chair. The Awards organisers felt I could bring a NextGen angle, as well as an interiors viewpoint and experience of the booming tech sector. 

3) What do you most look forward to when judging?

The obvious answer is that as a BCO Awards judge you get to see the best buildings and fit-outs in the country. This is a privilege that few people in our industry have access to, and is also a great learning experience as it shows how everyone works differently. Some submissions can really surprise you with their innovative responses to the challenges of the location, the brief, and the budget and programme. 



4) What tends to excite you, initially, about submissions you really like? 

This might sound superficial but the very first thing that excites me is the quality of the submission document itself! Perhaps it’s because I’m a designer, but I really appreciate it when teams take the time to prepare a well-designed submission with eloquent and concise writing, powerful graphic design, and strong photography. Not only does it provoke a far more engaged response from the judges, but it also shows that the team really cares about their project. Obviously, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and this is why it’s essential to visit the sites and see the projects in person – but a good submission is the best possible start. 


5) What do you see as a key benefit of entering the awards? 

Prestige and recognition are obvious benefits, for the professional team but also the client. But there is a also a less obvious, ‘lateral’ benefit to the whole process. A BCO award judges excellence across all aspects of creating a workplace, and bearing the criteria of the awards in mind right through the project is an excellent compass to guide teams. In short, everyone should approach every project as a potential BCO award winner – it’s a great incentive. 


6) What have you learned from judging the BCO awards entries? 

Three things stand out. First, that we are very fortunate to work in an extremely talented industry where the competition is impressive, and there is no room for complacency, half-baked solutions, or just following the status quo. Second, that everyone works differently – some projects in particular amazed me with their innovative ideas, often very simple but incredibly effective. Third, it really opens your eyes to the judging process and shows that an award winning project needs to consider every possible angle. 




7) Have there been any trends? 

Seeing the various shortlisted projects really reinforced the trend that we’re seeing consistently across the industry – that workplaces are no longer just ‘a place to go and work’ but they are hubs for communities of people, they are talent-attractors and talent-retainers, they are flagships and sources of great pride for the businesses that work there, and they don’t have to be ‘boring offices’ – they can be great fun. 


8) What have you been most impressed with? 

As someone who lives and works in London it’s easy to get sucked into the buzz and hype that exists in and around our capital. But the incredibly high standard of quality in all the regional entries shows that our industry is a very level and competitive playing field across the country. I saw some of the most innovative, forward thinking and creative solutions in submissions outside of London – which is doubly impressive as very often these projects don’t have the budgets available within the M25. 


9) As a judge, what are your hopes for the judging process next year? In other words, as a judge what would you like to tell applicants and potential awards applicants about the rigor of the process? 

I would say that everyone should aim to make every project the best it can be – start by thinking ‘this project will win a BCO award when it’s complete’ and hold that thought throughout. It is only with this unwavering commitment to excellence that projects can qualify – the competition is fierce and the process is highly rigorous – but having seen the quality of this year’s submissions, I am immensely proud of our industry and I have no doubt that next year us judges will all be ‘wowed’ again!

  • The BCO National Awards Dinner is taking place on 2 October 2018.
  • Entries for the 2019 BCO Awards open on 3 October 2018. The questions don't tend to change year on year, so if you would like to start preparing your entry, download the entry guide.






20 Sep 2018

BCO National Awards 2018 | Projects up to 1500m2



Sponsored by: Sharkey.

Learn more about these five finalists in the Projects up to 1500m2 category here:

17 Sep 2018

11 Sep 2018

BCO National Awards 2018 | Fit Out Of Workplace






Sponsored by:





Learn more about these five finalists in the Fit out of Workplace category here: