14 Jun 2018

Fast and Slow Buildings: Intelligent Buildings

By Thomas Watling, Senior Consultant at Deloitte, Contributing Author, Fast and Slow Buildings

Intelligent Buildings and the Internet of Things (IoT) in real estate are much talked-about, and for good reason. 

Analyst predictions suggest that there will be over 10 billion connected devices deployed in real estate by 2020.

 Watching this trend, the British Council for Offices (BCO) has just published a new report on intelligent buildings: “Fast and Slow Buildings: Responsiveness through technology and design”. It was authored by the building service engineering firm Max Fordham, for which Deloitte was a contributing author. BCO members can read the full report here.

 In this blog, I’ll explain what’s meant by building ‘intelligence’, and share four things we’ve learnt from our work in the intelligent buildings space.

Intelligent buildings contain connected networks of sensors and actuators, which integrate with traditional building systems (such as lighting and air conditioning) to continually improve and automate the operations of the building in question.

 The network of sensors might include occupancy tracking which measures the ‘busyness’ of the cafeteria and suggests when to visit.

 There could be a set of sensors that monitors the indoor environment and the efficiency of air conditioning.

 A corresponding set of actuators would automatically optimise energy consumption and make the working environment more comfortable for each individual employee.

 Automated systems of sensors and actuators drive operational efficiency, reduce cost and environmental impact, and improve the employee experience, which in turn generates value by improving productivity.

 We’ve learnt a lot from our discussions with clients and vendors. Here’s four things you should know:
 #1 Older buildings can be intelligent too
Often the term ‘Intelligent Building’ is applied to eye-catching new-build headquarters, but not to pre-existing buildings. It’s estimated that 85% of building stock that will exist in 2050, is already in existence today (Existing Homes Alliance). Thus, there’s a significant opportunity to leverage building intelligence by retrofitting existing spaces with intelligent systems, in addition to the opportunities presented by intelligent new builds.

 #2 There’s more to intelligence than connecting building subsystems
Historically, traditional building subsystems could be centrally controlled and were connected with one another. But a building being connected doesn’t equate to it being intelligent. Data from these subsystems needs to be shared and augmented by other sensor data, so that insight provided by this data can help solve wider business problems. Knowing where to find a free desk is useful. But what if your building directed you to sit next to a previously unknown colleague with shared interests to try and create an opportunity for serendipity – that’s intelligent.

 #3 Don’t use technology for the sake of it – focus on business problems instead Deloitte Digital’s Chief Disruptor, Ed Greig, regularly reminds innovation novices and veterans alike to “fall in love with the problem, not the solution”. It’s easy to get excited about sensors and touch screens, but this should always be underpinned by a clear understanding of the cost and benefit drivers that influence real estate space, as well as a deep understanding of the building users’ needs.

#4 Treat changes as experiments
How do you measure the value of a new real estate technology? And how will you act when you’ve measured this value? When talking about the Internet of Things, we refer to the ‘information value loop’. A sensor creates data, which is communicated, aggregated and analysed. Then, someone or something has to act on the outcome of the analysis. The process starts over, measuring the impact of the new change. Realising the value of an intelligent building requires an iterative approach, where data communicates the value of the work and informs future decisions.

For information about how we’re helping clients understand Intelligent Buildings as part of the Global Consulting “Future of Work” agenda, contact Rob Scopes. For information about the Internet of Things, contact Ben Steward.

The British Council for Offices (BCO) has released “Fast and Slow Buildings: Responsiveness through technology and design”, for which Deloitte was a contributing author. BCO members can download the full report here.

13 Jun 2018

Berlin:Be Bold. BCO Photo Berlin Competition Results

The results are in for the BCO Photo Berlin Instagram based photography competition for all BCO delegates, devised and run by Art Acumen. Conference delegates were invited to take photographs of Berlin over the course of the event capturing the themes:
Art Acumen are proud to present the winners of BCO Photo Berlin, the inaugural Instagram photography competition for BCO’s annual conference.

“I would like to congratulate the winners and highlight the overall high standard and diversity of entries. We wanted to create a project without barriers, that was easy to participate in and that communicated thoughts and observations beyond the BCO Conference. As well as providing us with a visual thought-map of the weeks’ activities, we hope that the photography competition added a layer of contemplation, art and poetry to people’s experience as they explored the city.”
–Catherine Thomas, MD, Art Acumen

CONGRATULATIONS to the following winners!






1) James Hindle, Tate Hindle 
Overall winner. Diversity - winner.
Judges’ comments:
A well observed shot and very balanced.
Powerful story telling, the photographer alludes to the people behind the fa├žade.

2) Stuart Pledge, Mason Navarro Pledge
Overall runner-up. Inclusion - winner. 
Judges’ comments:
Great juxtaposition between the old and the new.
Good composition.
Technically one of the best pieces.

3) Mark Simpson, BDP
Innovation - winner.
Judges comments:
The composition is very good.
The photographer has been very innovative showing the layering of history.

4) David Blair, TP Bennet
Connection winner

Judges’ comments:
Great sense of vibrancy and movement, connecting people to one Berlin’s most iconic structures.
Technically very good.
Link back to people, which is what architecture is all about.

5) John Wright, Stride Treglown
Highly commended
Judges’ comments:
Very powerful image.
Great composition.

Criteria for judging:
Adherence and appropriateness to theme
•Innovative way of delivering message
•Overall artistic impression
•Evokes an emotional response
•Judges personal response

"As most photographs were taken with a smartphone, more emphasis was placed on storytelling and originality than photographic technical skills."

Thank you 

14 May 2018

'BCO Photo Berlin' – Instagram Photography Competition Judges revealed

#BCOphotoBerlin is an Instagram based photography competition for all BCO delegates, devised and run by Art Acumen, the leading art consultancy. They invite you to take photographs of Berlin (inside and out) over the course of the conference capturing the themes:

The judges are:

Katrina Kostic Samen, KKS Founding Partner, BCO Senior Vice President 
Katrina has built a practice which is a recognised leader in workplace strategy and interior architecture, reflected in many achievements and awards over the last 15 years. Katrina’s belief in pushing boundaries, striving for excellence, and expanding the professional body for commercial offices is represented in her fundamental principle: Be Creative, Add Value, Have Fun!

Michael Pritchard, CEO of Royal Photographic Society 
Michael is Chief Executive of the Royal Photographic Society, an educational charity with Royal Charter founded in 1853. Prior to this he was a Director at Christie’s, where he was the international business director and member of the senior management team.

Grant Smith, Leading photographer 
Grant Smith has an extensive knowledge of London's architecture and is commissioned by all sectors of the industry including design companies, magazines, architects, contractors and engineers. His body of work includes some of the world's iconic structures: the Pont de Normandie, second Severn Crossing, the Sydney Harbour tunnel, the Millennium Bridge, the Millennium Dome and the Gherkin in London. He is currently photographing London's newest skyscraper, The Scalpel.

Stuart Redler – Award winning photographer 
Working exclusively and black in white, Stuart Redler photographs buildings from all over the world. He has received many awards, including six from the Association of Photographers, who awarded him a Gold Medal in 2000 for his portfolio of Architectural Images. He has also received Graphis, PDN New York and Communication Arts Awards, amongst others. As well as appearing in various private collections, his work is included in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in London and has been exhibited at the V&A Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Catherine Thomas - Art Acumen Founder
Catherine is the creator of #BCOPhotoBerlin and Managing Director of Art Acumen, a consultancy providing art services to corporate, public and private clients. They specialise 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.

Elissaveta Marinova - Editor at OnOffice
Editor at OnOffice. Born in Bulgaria, raised in Morocco, “matured" in the UK, Elissaveta is Editor for OnOffice. Her career started in the field of architecture and design where she developed a talent for creative thinking and an eye for aesthetics. In 2014, she found her calling in design journalism.

To enter - Upload your photo via Instagram using the hashtag #BCOphotoberlin or email to BCOphotoberlin@artacumen.co.uk. This is an Instagram competition and judging will take place from INSTAGRAM and emailed entries only. Entrants are encouraged to share their entries elsewhere online but only Instagram and emailed entries are officially accepted and judged. There is no limit on how many images you can enter. The final deadline for submission is 31.05.18. 5-Star Hotel Vouchers and cash prizes are up for grabs! Also up for grabs is a highly sought after Stuart Redlar print PLUS all winners and highly commended will be invited on an architectural photographic tour of London by Grant Smith.

26 Apr 2018

CoStar Column by Bill Page: Investing in a changing office market

I have just completed a very enjoyable three years chairing the research committee of the British Council for Offices (BCO). In this time, two themes stood out above all others, writes Bill Page, Business Space Research Manager, LGIM Real Assets.

These two things are: occupiers are customers and investors have to treat them as such; and office space is a performance lever for companies, not just a shell that gets handed over.

“Occupiers are customers” may sound a bit trite. It has been part of the dialogue ever since the industry realised the Landlord and Tenant Act sounded a bit feudal and can indeed be adversarial in practice. It means landlords must go beyond their contractual liabilities and understand what end-users actually value. And end-user means the employee - not the corporation who signs the lease. Corporate requirements of appropriate lease length, catchment demographics and portfolio flexibility, for instance, do not always match “What Workers Want” which can be as simple as comfort, cleanliness, reliable Wi-Fi and, most importantly, pride in their place of work.

Ensuring occupiers are happy should be obvious. Everyone wants good service, but real estate lags behind other industries. Only 1 in 5 office occupiers within traditional space say their landlords are responsive, according to Real Service Ltd. But this rises to 4 in 5 occupiers within co-working space. Arm’s length interaction through disinterested intermediaries is no longer an option (nor should it ever have been). We have no doubt that content occupiers will stay in their offices for longer and therefore drive more income, less re-letting risk and less costly refurbishment than occupiers who vacate at their first opportunity.

A fundamental requirement of any building is to protect its occupant from harm. This sounds straight forward but the evidence of sick building syndrome, legionnaire’s disease and asbestosis tells us real estate can get this wrong. However, offices are now being designed to promote good health - not just the absence of harm. The physical building needs to address air quality, light levels and views of nature, for instance, while under certain certification occupants will need to promote the use of internal stairs and even the size of the plates used in the canteen.

Healthy offices enable productive work. Employee costs are between 7 and 15 times office costs and real estate can improve the productivity of these employees by around 3%. Productivity improvements are therefore the single most important contribution property professionals can make. The costs to productivity from ineffective measures to cut costs, or by imbedding poorly thought through intensification, for instance, can be astronomic.

Knowing how healthy employees are and how they are utilising space is important in managing the workplace. Smarter buildings require skills to operate and can create a huge amount of data to interpret. Furthermore, some of the most useful data comes from technology that is wearable. Wearables can measure location, air quality, calorie intake, anxiety or even posture. But as soon as employers try and utilise such data – even if demonstrably for the greater good – there are understandable privacy concerns. We expect data from wearables to be used as evidence in legal cases where workers claim their workplace has caused them physical harm. Employers will get sued and may counter-sue their landlords.

This all requires the better use of technology – across all points of a building’s lifecycle. For instance, buildings can be designed, constructed, marketed and managed using 3D representations of complex engineering systems. Visualisations can be fully immersive or collaborative. There are opportunities for full engagement between all interested parties before the first spade goes into the ground. This covers how office buildings are perceived externally – how they dominate a streetscape or interact with the public realm, or internally - the all-important first impression can be visualised and optimised. Once the reception looks good the hospitality skills of those who run it cannot be forgotten. This is another area where we are seeing a virtuous “race to the top”.

There are meaningful implications to real estate investors. Human engagement between landlords and occupiers will become more important, not less. This can be enabled by technology making mundane tasks efficient leaving time for valuable human interactions. Buildings will become smarter, more complicated and with an increased requirement for non-income generating space such as big receptions and touch down areas. Ultimately, however, the delivery and management of offices will be about curating the productivity of its occupants. Landlords who engage will see financial rewards, landlords who stand still will be overtaken.

Bill Page, Business Space Research Manager, LGIM Real Assets
As seen in CoStar

12 Jan 2018

2018 preview: Expert forecasts including Richard Kauntze and Ken Shuttleworth in Property Week

Read the full 2018 preview: Expert forecasts including Richard Kauntze and Ken Shuttleworth in Property Week.

Richard Kauntze
Chief executive, British Council for O­ffices

"I hope to see the industry continuing to drive the debate around the positive role the workplace can play in the prosperity of UK business. In times of economic and political uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we understand and demonstrate how the right workplace can add value to a business, rather than being viewed simply as a cost. An exemplary o­ffice can strengthen a ‑ firm’s brand and reputation, and help drive more e­fficient and productive working.

I expect to see the conversation around health and wellness in the workplace increase and become more sophisticated. The line between our work and personal lives has long been blurred, but there is now broader recognition that addressing this, and improving employee health and wellness, will be a key factor in helping to solve the UK’s productivity puzzle. Consequently, there will be a need to develop more effective ways of measuring employee health and wellness. This should allow us, as an industry, to become better equipped at designing healthy workplaces that encourage wellness and facilitate productive working.

Resolution - To focus on the issue of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We want to play a greater role in this debate and, as such, have chosen the issue as the theme of our annual conference, which for 2018 will be in Berlin. We’ll be interrogating how o­ffice environments can help progress the diversity agendas of their occupants, and how we can ensure the workplaces we are creating embrace and engage all employees."

Ken Shuttleworth
Founder, Make Architects (and BCO President)

"I’ve been very inspired by some of the buildings delivered in London this year; my hope is that these don’t dry up as the country braces itself for Brexit. The temptation is to batten down the hatches, but, to my mind, it is now more important than ever to show the world we intend to stay a global hub for business and will continue to create market leading commercial stock to accommodate firms that want to be part of that.

I think we’ll see much more around the issues of wellness and their natural spin-offs into coworking and co-living as we look to create inspirational, comfortable and adaptable places in which to work and live. It is fascinating how technology is playing such a role in shaping our built environment, and collaboration to design buildings and spaces will become ever more important to facilitate this. I’m really looking forward to the BCO Berlin conference and its focus on diversity. Never more important than now.

Resolution - We’re strategising at Make for the next 12 to 18 months and it’s so interesting to see what different people view as being a real focus and passion for them. All different, all important, all showing where their talents and strengths lie. My resolution is to try and help facilitate this wherever possible and, for Make, to grow our international profile and portfolio."

As seen in Property Week.