15 May 2019

What to remember if this is your first BCO Conference



The programme:
Review the programme to devise a plan specifically tailored to your preferences. It is first come, first served, so it's always a good idea to book your choices early on. On that note- it is going to be a jam-packed programme, and while there will be break-out moments between sessions, to make the most of networking opportunities, you might want to plan ahead. Delegates can view a complete delegates list beforehand.


Social media:
Connect with new prospects, or touch base with other conference delegates by searching the official conference hashtags (#BCOConference #Copenhagen2019) -a great way to keep track of acquaintances and people you would like to meet at the conference. Join the conversation and catch up with all of the conference highlights. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. View tweets from last year’s conference here.


Official conference app:
For ease of having everything in one place, an all-new conference app will be available to download. Use it to take notes, view the full programme as well as choose and view your very own profile and personal itinerary. View a floorplan of the venue and see where it’s all happening. Here you can also use a map for directions to the various hotels, drinks reception, and party venue. Enter the photography competition by submitting your photos to the gallery within the app.

With the app, you will be able to view the delegates list and chat. If you meet someone you want to connect with later on, being able to send them a message can help you make the most of every networking opportunity. Take advantage of the ‘digital conference bag’ and fill it with PDF downloads and presentations from the conference sessions.

Download/find out more on the BCO website. The app is available on Android and Ios. Search ‘British Council for Offices’ in the App Store / Google Play store.

Only available to registered conference delegates. To login:

Username: Your email address
Password: Your last name (with a capital letter at the beginning)


Photography competition:
Stand a chance to win by entering up to three photos via the conference app. There are two exciting themes you could potentially capture this year! Capture the spirit of Arbejdsglæde OR try your hand at different angles for an artsy shot of Copenhagen’s stunning architecture. It’s open to all levels so don’t hesitate to participate whether you are an amateur or pro.

Remember- the best camera is the one you have with you, so don’t miss out on snapping a few shots on your phone while you are out on tours or exploring Copenhagen. You will still have up to two weeks after the conference to enter. Read T’s & C’s and more on the BCO website.


Portable charger/power bank:
Since you’ll be out enjoying the jam-packed programme, you’ll want to keep your phone powered up so as not to miss any updates or photo opportunities (which you may wish to enter into the photography competition).


Conference theme:
Most importantly, we are there to learn from the Danes. Their love of cycling, clean harbours, sustainability and laid-back yet sophisticated culture have made this one of the world's happiest and most liveable countries. Since it’s all about Work-life balance, enjoy and have fun! “Arbejdsglæde” is a unique Danish concept which involves people finding balance and joy at work. Learn more here.


The full programme is available on the BCO website and bookings are still open with a few limited spaces left. 

24 Apr 2019

Revolutions in the workplace heighten the role of the property manager


The disruptive forces reshaping the way we work call for an equally disruptive response in the way we serve customers in the office industry. The management of offices is undergoing a revolution and those that do not adapt will be left behind.

As an ever greater importance is placed on customer service, the way a building is managed is being recognised as increasingly critical and we need to ensure our property managers are equipped with the correct skillset to implement change and ensure the bar for standards continues rising. 

This was a key finding in a recent Savills, Landsec and JLL-sponsored report conducted by the British Council for Offices (BCO) – The Customer Experience Revolution: closing the skills gap. The paper argued the term ‘property management’ is outdated, harking back to an era focused more on bricks and mortar than people. Whatever you choose to call it, the demand for excellent customer experience in the workplace is here to stay, just as a certain level of service has come to be expected in the hospitality sector, and the management of offices can learn from this. 

As efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, sustainability and wellbeing continue to be of top concern to occupiers, there’s a realisation that now, more than ever before, we need strategic direction from property managers in order to deliver on change. 

At Savills we launched the RISE initiative last year, which defines and delivers a customer-centric programme across prime offices and mixed-use assets throughout the UK.

RISE sets out to transform the delivery of services to the office sector, creating an independently audited framework for improvement, to enable benchmarking of portfolios and to measure and understand value to the customer.

The initiative engages, builds community, and ensures the highest level of customer experience through the continuously evolving management of buildings. RISE embraces and encourages innovation, while maintaining the best environmental, health and wellbeing standards.

RISE is supported by Savills recently launched PLACE team, which focuses on identifying and developing the DNA of a place, and understanding how we can shape this by improving the physical and social elements it interacts with.

Projects undertaken range from hyper local to national; working with local artists to enliven reception lobbies, events to engage visitors and workers, such as interactive see-saws and fashion shows held in common areas; and working with our occupiers across the managed portfolio to showcase products. Sustainability and wellness is fundamental to this and initiatives should be measured by the positive benefit on those they interact with.

Until recently, the role of the property manager has been undervalued. By placing a greater value on property management, it’s possible to get more out of a building to the benefit of both landlord and occupier. 

The BCO report highlights the new challenges the industry faces, but more than that, it recognises the increased value of the management role and nods to an opportunity to promote the role of the property manager in a new light that could attract a far more diverse workforce.


Originally posted on 12 April 2019 by John Redfern, Head Office, London Director of Savills'.

Download The BCO report here. Special thanks to the report sponsors Savills, Landsec and JLL.


29 Mar 2019

BCO Annual Conference Photography Competition judging panel (2019)


2019 BCO Annual Conference Photography Competition





Calling all 2019 BCO Conference attendees: BCO and Waterman Group invite you to enter and stand a chance to win the photography competition for the winning photo from Copenhagen. Entry is open to all levels and all BCO Conference attendees are invited and urged to participate! Learn more.



Meet the esteemed panel behind the competition: 



-Catherine Thomas,  MD, Art Acumen (Judging Chair)
Catherine is the Managing Director of Art Acumen, specialising in curating and commissioning art collections, devising bespoke creative projects and place-making through public art programmes. For the past 16 years, Catherine has delivered visionary art strategies and inspirational art commissions for many corporate, public and private clients, building a formidable portfolio and excellent reputation.


-Miriam Spatafora, Structural Engineer, Waterman Group
Miriam grew up with a strong love of Literature and Arts, surprising everyone when she chose to pursue a career in engineering. With a strong eye for detail, she has notably worked as an engineer on the Royal Academy of Dance development.  She has a huge appreciation and respect for the visual arts.  Miriam loves photography and enjoys capturing a range of shots with her both analogic and digital camera, exploring the contrast between film and modern techniques.



-Ryan Dempster, Architect, Buckley Gray Yeoman
An architect with an eye for aesthetics, Ryan is a BCO NextGen Rising Star for London and the South East. An avid photographer himself, with an impeccable eye for design, Ryan founded @storeyshots – a growing Instagram based community curated as a show and tell of architecture and inspiring advice from firms in the industry.



-Alex Upton, Architectural Photographer
Alex’s approach to architectural photography is informed and complemented by his background in studying both Fine Art (BA Fine Art First-class Honours, University of the Arts London) and Design. This not only assures his consistent attention to detail and quality but also enhances his understanding of form, space, composition and materials in relation to architecture.



-Simon Kennedy, Architectural Photographer
More than fifteen years of experimentation have informed Simon’s current photographic techniques. Simon’s photographic vision developed in a unique way – years of working as a qualified architect combined with teaching post-graduate architectural studies at The Bartlett School Of Architecture. This experience has given him a unique understanding of architecture, and a highly insightful photographic vision which continues to develop and be informed by his teaching practice at the Bartlett and by collaborations with various architects.


18 Mar 2019

Copenhagen's Bicycle Culture




With bicycles exceeding the number of cars on the roads, it is no secret that Copenhagen is considered by many to be the cycling capital of the world. The city has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 as well as 'the world's best bicycle city'. 

An extensive network of bicycle lanes and bicycle highways make it easy. Copenhagen has undertaken and recently completed, several expanded bicycle lanes, many now roughly the same size as traditional car lanes. With cycle superhighways, bike-only stop lights and handy lean-rails for cyclists waiting at lights, it’s no wonder they are confident enough to start at a young age, cycling to school with their parents and continuing into their working lives. In fact, half of all Danes commute to work by bicycle. 

Even though it might be overwhelming for first-time visitors, there are plenty of reasons to try it out. Apart from the obvious being cheaper, healthier and greener, rental bicycles are not hard to find around Copenhagen, and most hotels will have them available for rent. Most of the city is relatively flat, and you may stumble across hidden gems normally harder to reach by foot or public transport. 



But why is it the first choice of transportation? It is down to mindset. It is down to the mentality that comes from city initiatives with a focus on wellness, making cycling cool, ultramodern, and a symbol of personal energy.

If you happen to find the time amidst the busy BCO Annual Conference programme this year (or perhaps you are staying on longer) try the famous Danish ‘cargo bikes’  which allow you to cycle with your luggage, shopping or even a fellow conference delegate. If that's not on the cards, perhaps you will get to enjoy the 2-hour T8/25 Copenhagen Harbour Cycling Tour providing a deeper look at Copenhagen’s Harbour and its stunning transformation over the past 25 years.

Gothenburg to Copenhagen
For the 2019 Conference, the BCO’s SOLD OUT Annual Cycle Challenge will focus entirely on Scandinavia, with a route from Gothenburg to Copenhagen. The ride will cover approximately 300 miles over 3 days. All riders are encouraged to raise £500 sponsorship for the conference charity MindShow your support and donate via the Justgiving page.

If you were lucky enough to secure a spot on the BCO Cycle Challenge, we would love to hear about your experience. Tweet or mention us on Instagram @bco_uk and tell us about your cycling experience using #bcoconference #copenhagen2019.

For more info or to book places at the 2019 BCO Annual Conference in Copenhagen visit http://www.bco.org.uk/Conference/Conference.aspx


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.