It's the start of a new year, so who better to spend 60 seconds with than our very own Chief Executive, Richard Kauntze.
Richard has led the BCO since 1999 and has seen it grow from an organisation with 500 members to 1,500 as it is at present. The last few years have been tough for the industry as a whole, find out whether Richard believes the year ahead will be more promising.
What will the British Council for Offices (BCO) be looking forward to in 2013?
A great deal! We kick off, of course, with the Annual Dinner (22 January), traditionally the start of the property world’s New Year. Early Spring sees the now well established regional awards lunches and dinners, while between 15-17 May the BCO goes to Madrid for its Annual Conference. Madrid 2013 promises to be outstanding.
What was your highlight of 2012?
Winning tickets for the women’s beach volleyball at the 2012 Olympics! (hugely entertaining, if a little surreal in the middle of Horse Guards Parade). Slightly more seriously, also winning tickets for the athletics, and the opening day at that! Just reward for having completed an ‘O’ Level in Olympic ticket applications (which is what it felt like navigating the website).
What do you see as the main challenge for the industry over the next 12 months?
The uncertainty of the economic recovery (will we avoid a triple-dip recession?) will unquestionably remain the backdrop to everything else. My gut feeling is that we will start to see some modest growth this year and next, but the recovery will be slow and the road a long one. Occupiers understandably remain very cautious.
What do you see as the main challenge for the BCO over the next 12 months?
Delivering the best service possible to our members with the resources available to us is our constant challenge.
If you had the power to change one thing within the property industry, what would it be?
Tricky, but somehow to secure far broader recognition for the vast array of talented individuals and companies which make up the office sector. Our best buildings are among the best, sometimes the very best, in the world. The architect’s name may be cited. Few others get a look in, and yet they are all the products of a very broad spectrum of talent, reflected in the BCO’s membership.
Who, or what, has most inspired you in the Commercial Property Sector?
There have been very many, but if I had to mention one name it would be Ron Spinney. An outstanding talent, who commanded universal respect.
What’s your favourite office development in the UK? And why?
Another difficult (and potentially dangerous!) question for a man in my position. Pushed, I would opt for New Street Square in London’s midtown. I love the architecture, always feel uplifted and the development is an absolute credit to all of those involved.
What couldn’t you live without in your daily routine?
Coffee in the morning. Addiction might be an understatement. Very much quality over quantity, but a morning without decent coffee is a non-starter.