17 Feb 2017

Flexible working and the future office

The Future of Corporate Headquarters: Is London's Dominance Waning? BCO And Burges Salmon Report

This is the first of four articles from independent UK law firm Burges Salmon LLP considering issues that will shape the future of the headquartered office and which are identified in our research paper: 'The Future of Corporate Headquarters: Is London's Dominance Waning?'. You can follow the discussion on the future of the headquarter office by using #futurehq on Twitter.

People are demanding to work differently – the ‘9-5, job for life’ model is fast becoming outmoded and no more so than in London, where agile working, flexibility and portfolio careers are the buzz words ‘du jour’. So for employers keen to win in the war for talent, an enthusiasm for looking imaginatively at how and where their employees work is key.

With housing costs making central London living out of reach for most, many employees are looking to work for employers who are willing to embrace regular home-working and have in place the technology to allow this.  Cutting out the commute can be a win:win for all; offering opportunities for the employer to reduce/reallocate office space and, for the worker, the benefit of valuable time-savings.

However, beware the bear trap that is ‘out of sight out of mind’. Employers’ responsibilities towards their employees don’t stop at the revolving doors in the HQ atrium and the contract of employment may need to be updated accordingly. For example, care needs to be taken to ensure that the home environment offers a safe place of work for the employee and Working Time obligations and data protection requirements must continue to be met.  Equally the employer will want to ensure that acceptable confidentiality standards can be maintained and that expectations as to required levels of productivity are clearly understood by the worker.

However, with employees increasingly welcoming the opportunity to work from home on a regular basis, employers who are able to offer this should reap the rewards from this competitive advantage. 

8 Feb 2017

BCO Annual Conference Speaker Spotlight: Lord Norman Foster, Foster + Partners

The BCO are delighted to announce Lord Norman Foster will be speaking at the BCO Annual Conference.

Lord Foster is founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, a global studio for architecture, design and engineering.

Over the past five decades the practice has pioneered a sustainable approach to architecture and ecology through a wide range of work, from urban masterplans to offices, cultural buildings, airports and industrial design.

He has been awarded architecture’s highest accolades, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture in Japan, the RIBA Royal Gold medal and the AIA Gold medal. In 1999 he was honoured with a Life Peerage, becoming Lord Foster of Thames Bank.

View some of Lord Foster's impressive architectural work below:

Book your place at the BCO Annual Conference for the opportunity to attend Lord Foster's keynote address and for more details on the BCO Annual Conference programme visit bco.org.uk/conference.

Stay in the loop and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (don't forget to use our hashtag #BCOconference)

28 Nov 2016

BCO NextGen Awards 2016 celebrates future leaders in property

BCO NextGen Awards Dinner 2016

On November 22 2016, over 200 office sector professionals gathered for the first ever BCO NextGen Awards. An event which saw awards being given to rising stars within commercial property and to the people and places that inspired them. 

Held at U+I's offices in London, young professionals from across the UK gathered to recognise and celebrate mentors, innovative workplaces and inspirational future leaders of the office sector.

After several months of nominations, shortlisting and judging by panels of NextGen committee leaders, sponsors, members and BCO President, John Forrester, the night finally arrived to reveal the winners.

The BCO NextGen Awards had the privilege of being presented by architect, sustainability champion and TV presenter, Oliver Heath who announced the winners of nine categories: mentor of the year, five regional rising stars, Innovative FitOut, Innovative Workplace and Trailblazer. Read on for details of the winners and pictures of the evening.

Oliver Heath at BCO NextGen Awards 2016
BCO NextGen Awards 2016 were presented by Oliver Heath

The BCO and BCO NextGen would like to say a special thank you to our sponsors U+I, Wates, Aecom, Gardiner & Theobald, Aberdeen Asset, Alinea and Faithful & Gould.

The winners of the 2016 BCO NextGen Awards:
  • Mentor of the Year: Nick Searl, Partner, Argent
  • NextGen Choice Award – Innovative Fitout: North – Berghaus HQ, Sunderland
  • NextGen Choice Award – Innovative Workplace: Midlands and East Anglia – 22 Station Road, Cambridge
  • Trailblazer: Michelle Rothwell, MD, Watch This Space
  • Rising star Scotland: Jordan McCaffery, Partner, HK Surveying & Design
  • Rising star North: Michelle Rothwell, MD, Watch This Space
  • Rising star Midlands: Sunil Johal, Project Director, Argent LLP
  • Rising star South West: Drew Nesbitt, Senior Associate, Burgess Salmon
  • Rising star London and South East: Simon Wyatt, Associate Director, Cundall

16 Nov 2016

3 top tips from the BCO Awards Judging Chairs

We have asked some of the Judging Chairs, what advice they would give someone planning to submit an entry for the 2017 Awards. Here are their answers:

Nigel Clark (National Judging Chair): "When you answer the 'Judges Questions', make sure you emphasise every noteworthy credential in your submission. Also: focus on people, not buildings and bear in mind that shortlisting may have to be done on the strength of your submission, so make sure it stands out."
Stephen Lewis (Scottish Judging Chair): "The occupier as end user of offices is key, so the submission should highlight how the project meets their needs, whether it's speculative (commercial) or let (corporate)."
Matt Viall (Midlands & Central England Judging Chair): "It's always great when you see a submission that clearly demonstrates the passion for the project. We look for entries that show that the project team set the bar high from the outset and challenged the 'norms'.  And: always include the numbers and check the maths... we do!"
To enter your project for the awards  simply register on our entry website www.bcoawards.co.uk and create an entry. Entries are submitted online in three easy stages:
1. Enter project details
2. Answer the 'Judges Questions' as outlined in the entry guide
3. Upload 10 images and submit

10 Nov 2016

Video: BCO's Junior VP, Katrina Kostic Samen, on why BCO is taking wearables seriously

BCO's Junior Vice President, Katrina Kostic Samen, shares why wearable technology is such an area of interest for the BCO and its members.

The managing partner of KKS Strategy, speaks from the launch of our Wearables in the Workplace report on some of the key issues wearables raise around big data and privacy.

For more highlights from the launch, view our round up of live tweets from the Wearables in the Workplace launch on Storify and we invite you to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #wearableswork.

Download the full Wearables in the Workplace report on the BCO website

9 Nov 2016

Video: BCO launches Wearables in the Workplace report

Technology moves fast with wearable technology now having an increasing influence on daily life, but what exactly does that mean for the future of offices? How will the increased awareness of health brought by wearables impact employees and employers? And what are the legal and ethical implications?

BCO's Wearables in the Workplace report, produced by Arup and Professor Derek Clements Croomes of Reading University, tackles these questions whilst summarising the benefits of wearable technology and its influence on the future of work.

Watch highlights from the report launch hosted by Wedlake Bell with key insights from Helen Garthwaite of Wedlake Bell, Katrina Kostic Samen of KKS Strategy, Richard Isham of Wedlake Bell and report authors Professor Derek Clements-Croomes of Reading University and Mallory Taub of Arup.

For more highlights from the launch view our round up of live tweets from the Wearables in the Workplace launch on Storify and we invite you to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #wearableswork.

Download  your copy of the full Wearables in the Workplace report from the BCO website.

28 Sep 2016

BCO AWARDS 2017 - We have made it easier to enter!

One of the BCO’s primary objectives is to define excellence in office space. As part of this objective our annual Awards Programme provides public recognition for top quality design and functionality and a benchmark for excellence in workplaces.

For our 2017 Awards we have brought in a few changes to the entry process to ensure the BCO Awards programme stays fresh and relevant to the market.

Peter Crowther, Property Director, Bruntwood
and Chair of the BCO National Awards 2015

The review process was headed by Peter Crowther of Bruntwood and BCO National Awards Chair in 2015 and we have quizzed him about the rationale behind the changes:

The BCO has introduced some changes to its Annual Awards, can you tell us briefly what they are?
They are fairly straightforward. The key change is that we have made it a far more straightforward entry process, with an entry form which is less reliant on technical data. 

We have also introduced two new regional awards – The Regional Committee Chair Award and The Innovation Award - and the 2,000m2 or less category will be reduced to 1,500m2 or less. There are also some regional constituency changes, which will see London as a stand alone category, with the South East counties distributed accordingly between the South West, Thames Valley and South Wales and the Midlands and East of England judging regions.

Why has the BCO brought in these changes?
Our aim was to make it as straightforward as possible to enter the Awards by making them less time-intensive and more accessible.

The structural changes are in recognition of the evolving market in which we operate. The best BCO Award winning buildings over recent years have been those that put people first. So we have made sure the judging process delves further into the practicality of the building – what it is like to work there, how it helps staff in their day to day work and how it reflects the ethos and outlook of the occupier. We have simply followed the movement and the trends in the market to keep the Awards relevant and fresh.

If it is easier to enter the BCO Awards, will it become easier to win an Award?
BCO Award winners define excellence – so only the best offices will ever win one of our awards. The rigorous nature of the competition will continue; the judging will be as robust but the process of entering will be more accessible. 

Matching the criteria which is laid out in The BCO Guide to Specification is a key component of the entry, will this still be the case?

The BCO recognises that the use of the Guide to Specification is influenced by the boundaries of each project. The Guide will still be as relevant, but its application will be more specific to each project. It will no longer be used as a check list in which you have to tick each box. 

There are now five questions which allow entrants to describe how they used the Guide to aid their specific project and how they went about their decision making process. What we are interested in, is the practical application and what has been achieved. 

It is not about numbers and data but about how the building is used, and how the design has assisted working practices. The judges want to know why the project teams did what they did and whether it has worked.

What about the financial data?
There is now a straightforward costings form for all entrants to fill in. This is standard information that will be available to the judges for all projects and can be easily compared across the board.  

And sustainability?
The BCO judges will be considering sustainability in the real world: What it means for the wellbeing of the staff, the efficiency of the office, the bills and staff recruitment.

We will not require in-depth information and figures on the output of the HVAC system.  We still want to know about what accreditation has been achieved, but we will also be interested in why that route was chosen.

How will the changes affect the judging process?
Judging will now be more transparent.  The revised application will make it easier to draw comparisons of schemes from across the market, regardless of their use or location.  The judges will still apply the same stringency and utilise their expert understanding and knowledge, but they will operate with greater clarity and comparison.

Can you give us some more detail about the new awards and the boundary changes?

Boundary changes
Making London its own category recognises the unique nature of the Capital's market; the size and finances of many of these schemes make it difficult for efficient comparison with developments outside the Capital.

Award for developments of 1,500m2 or less
The size reduction of the categories will reduce overlap with other categories for smaller buildings. This also recognises the fact that, in most parts of the country, a 2,000m2 scheme is seen as a significant office development.

Regional Innovation Award
Whilst schemes cannot enter this category specifically, judges can now recognise innovative schemes regionally rather than just nominating them to be considered for a national Innovation Award.  This will introduce extra opportunity for projects to be celebrated in their region for something that is innovative and that the teams can be proud of.


Regional Committee Chair’s Award
This award recognises the importance of those individuals or companies that are making significant contributions to their regional markets.  It is the chance for the BCO to recognise their hard work and dedication. As with the National  President's Award, the Regional Committee Chair's Award is by nomination and not entry.

What happens once someone has won an Award?
Our aim is to utilise the information from the winning schemes and make it available for other members to learn from.

We would like to share the information in a progressive nature. We are not talking about releasing trade secrets but just looking at how we can help improve the environment as a whole. 

And finally, are there any more changes afoot?
We are continually evolving so the Awards will always be fluid, in order to meet market requirements.  We already have plans for the 2018 Awards -but you will just have to wait and see!

Many thanks for taking the time to speak to us, Peter!

Entries for the 2017 BCO Awards open on Wednesday 5 October 2016. The closing deadline is Friday 25 November 2016.

Projects for the 2017 Awards must have been completed after 1st January 2013 or due to be completed before 1st November 2016.

Our entry guide is available to download now and will take you through the new submission process step by step.  Please make sure you read the entry guide, to ensure that you give your project the best opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

The BCO Awards registration is separate from the BCO website and you will need to go to www.bcoawards.co.uk  and set up a new account with separate login details specifically for submitting a BCO Award. For more information on the awards go to the BCO website.