Sustainability

TFT at BCO Conference 2019

BCO Conference 2019 will be held in Copenhagen

The British Council for Offices (BCO) kicks off its annual conference next week (June 5-7) in Copenhagen. We at TFT are proud to support the event and to join its focus on the theme of arbejdsglæde, the Danish word and principle of ‘joy at work’.

Employers are increasingly diversifying their workplaces to represent their culture and to help occupants feel more ‘at home’ while at work. But the built environment can do more to improve the joy and wellbeing of occupants of offices and other kinds of spaces, by improving how we create, manage and inhabit buildings.

Three TFT partners attending the BCO Conference share some of the issues they’ll be interested to discuss in Copenhagen, when it comes to creating and maintaining the office of the future:

Alistair Allison: customer experience becomes building performance

As a recent judging chair for the BCO’s Southern Awards, it’s fantastic to see a more confident marketplace emerging which puts all the familiar buzzwords we’re used to hearing about, at the heart of a client brief. The outcome is attributes like sustainability, wellbeing, flexible working and so on aren’t just for marketing messages, but built in to the office from the outset.

I expect to see this become more mainstream as customer experience becomes widely adopted as a defining criteria for building performance. What could that look like? To start with, a more consultative process where building owner and occupants define these performance metrics together, to make sure the ‘lived-in’ space is well tailored to those who use it.

In our ongoing work for 400 & 450 Longwater Avenue, this speculative development is deliberately designed for flexibility to serve a diverse set of occupier needs, including close working with the building management team to ensure that the building would perform as required for different kinds of occupiers through its life.

Mat Lown: linking better buildings with social value

What would a ‘better workplace’ contribute to the city’s wider agenda? BCO’s 2019 venue in Copenhagen recognises the relationship between buildings, the urban ecosystem and our cultural/social needs – in that spirit, I want to explore the social value buildings can bring not only to their occupants but their neighbours too.

Where to start? Taking a Danish cue, offices can do more to support sustainable transport infrastructure with the appropriate facilities in-house for changing, storage, equipment maintenance and so on, all of which make it easier for travellers to choose to cycle, for instance, rather than get the train or drive.

Otherwise, stimulating greater biodiversity inside and out, understanding that we feel more relaxed and happier with natural greenery around us. Offices in particular could also contribute directly to the city’s clean energy credentials fairly simply, with photo-voltaic panels on a roof supplementing the building’s energy use or even feeding power to the grid.

There are many more opportunities besides – realising them is less a question of building type or function than the priorities of its owner for long-term wellbeing of occupier and local community alike.

Dan Henn: realising sustainable value in legacy buildings

It’s tempting to think that the greatest opportunities for better buildings lie in new development, where we can start from scratch and implement best practice from the outset. But repurposing and refurbishing existing buildings is for many cities a more sustainable means of meeting the needs of modern businesses and the talent they rely on.

There are efficiencies and savings to be found and more scope for alteration than many might believe. Our work on the likes of Wellington House and Pinnacle House in London highlight the scope to grow an existing space and upgrade a building for a better occupier experience. The considerations to do so run the gamut from engineering challenges, conservation and keeping the surrounding area (including businesses and residential communities) running as normal.

Finding the right project management skillset is crucial to navigate these challenges, where collaborative and attentive specialists can make sure the office spaces of the future find a productive home in legacy buildings.

UKGBC, TFT and partners produce new Circular Economy guidance

Many people will be familiar with ‘the circular economy’, as the concept and terminology rises up the political and business agenda. But how can we turn thought into action in our own industry? UKGBC and TFT teamed up with stakeholders across the industry to publish new guidance to do just that.

Circular economy principles can have different implications across different industries, products or services – but The Ellen MacArthur Foundation identifies these three key traits of a successful circular model:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

It’s hard to name an industry which is doing all these things, but as we face more strain on resources of all kinds, it’s incumbent on everyone to improve models which generate waste and pollution for sustainability.

“…the quantity of reused materials in construction has actually decreased since 1998. At the same time, the rates of extraction of materials in our fast-developing world are already way beyond planetary capacity.”

Sunand Prasad, Founder Penoyre & Prasad and Trustee of UKGBC

We face a big challenge to employ circular principles across the built environment and the supply chain which feeds it, due to the systemic change which is needed. Closer coordination is one way to achieve this.

To that end, TFT partnered with UKGBC and a range of construction industry stakeholders to formalise the steps to meet an industry-wide circularity objective.

The first output of this work is a guidance document, focusing on RIBA stages 1 & 2 (Preparation & Brief and Concept Design, respectively). Looking closely at setting a project up for circular success, the guidance provide practical steps to realise the commercial value of circular construction, from ensuring supply chain effectiveness to informing project management and mitigating risks along the way.

If you’re interested in learning how the guidance can be applied to maximise the long term value of your building project or your wider portfolio, contact Helen Newman.

The full guidance can be downloaded from UKGBC, here.

Sustainability and wellbeing standards re-aligned: WELL Crosswalks

The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has released an update to the WELL crosswalk tool following the release of WELL version 2. The update aims to make this certification more accessible, impactful and better localised to its users around the world, by aligning WELL with sustainability assessments like BREEAM and LEED.

The latest release enables WELL version 2, as a standard for human health and wellbeing, to mesh with the most updated version BREEAM 2018, the leading sustainability assessment in the world – on which we advise many clients’ strategy and implementation across their schemes.

There are few synergies as connected and complementary as sustainability for both our planet and for people everywhere. Longevity is at the heart of the term “sustainability” – preserving and enhancing what we have now for generations to come.

From IWBI’s introduction to their latest WELL v2/ BREEAM crosswalk tool

But what impact does this have on our work, and for client projects?

Simply, the crosswalk tool insures that WELL version 2 and BREEAM New Construction 2018 cater to new developments across the UK, meaning that requirements for both are better aligned and can be met more efficiently.

Looking further ahead, this latest update shows the power of engagement with standards bodies. We have been proactive in communicating with IWBI for the WELL building standard to adapt and evolve for a better fit with other industry standards within the UK.

Our voice, along with those of other outspoken users in the wellbeing and sustainability community, has been well heeded by IWBI, which is clearly interested in developing its work to fit the needs of its users, and in providing a flexible standard for a globally developed WELL community.

It’s a great sign for continued advancement – both of the standard and therefore the quality of the buildings it contributes to.

My MIPIM: Lisa Gunn

Lisa Gunn, TFT’s Head of Business Development and Marketing, suggests a little sustainable self-reflection and wants to hear new ideas for future-proof buildings this year on the Croisette (or during the Cycle to MIPIM ride beforehand, if you can catch her!).

What do you hope to see more of at MIPIM this year?

Though sustainability has been a prominent theme in previous years, I am happy to say it will almost certainly be even more widespread this year as the global environmental condition becomes more of a mainstream concern. What I would like to add to those conversations is a little self-reflection on our own industry. When we’re advising our clients on measures to improve their sustainability and wellness credentials, are we consistently applying that thinking to our own industry operations?

Will proptech set the agenda at MIPIM 2019? Should it?

As the market matures, we may be approaching a period of consolidation in proptech. So perhaps a gathering like MIPIM is a good place to understand where the real innovation and long-term value is. It’s likely next year will present a very different landscape of tools or services, so we’ve got to look closely at what could grow and what might disappear.

What would be your advice to a MIPIM first timer?

Two things:

  1. Take time to get away from the madness! MIPIM can be an intense experience, so step away from the Palais and see the old town and Cannes Castle on the top of the hill. The views from the Castle at dusk views are stunning.
  2. Don’t lose sight that MIPIM is work, and that you’re most likely attending as an ambassador for your business, and always as a representative of the industry too. Drinks are everywhere, so know your limits or devise a strategy to limit your consumption without having to duck out of the action. I find early meetings are some of the most productive of the day, so make sure you’re able to get up and make them count!

Is there an industry topic you feel is not getting enough attention?

Though it’s often brought up, we don’t yet have an industry consensus on the skills shortage, or a shared course of action to remedy it. Brexit will only make this issue more acute for construction and affect the viability of buildings due to increased costs of labour. 

Who would you like to meet at MIPIM?

I’m fascinated by Innovations in flexible use of buildings – not just multi-use developments, but buildings which have multiple lives planned in to them from the outset.

One example I’ve enjoyed seeing is from the U.S., where AvalonBay Communities has created a parking garage which anticipates a time when ride-sharing services or self-driving cars reduce car reliance (and our need for parking places).

With some smart design, such as level rather than inclined floors, the building is designed for future lives as shops, a gym or a theatre, for instance. I’d be very interested to meet with ambitious funds or owners who are applying this kind of long-term view to their assets.

Oliver Morris becomes a UKGBC Future Leader

The Future Leaders program is run by the UKGBC and is focused on facilitating the development of unique leadership skills for a group of the industry’s rising stars. Participants are challenged to develop their problem solving and leadership skills, and to put these practices back into their own organisations to create truly sustainable businesses.

Ollie Morris, Senior Sustainability Consultant at TFT, is one of 24 successful applicants on this year’s programme which kicks off in January 2019. He’ll be provided a unique opportunity to work alongside peers over a 5 month period, to address critical issues facing the industry.

Together the group will be challenged to identify innovative and disruptive solutions for issues like the housing crisis, diversity in the built environment sector, building’s whole life carbon emissions and the circular vs linear economy.

Ollie’s motivation to join the programme stems from his belief that personal and emotive engagement is key to sparking real change and promoting innovation and buy-in from the industry as we move towards a holistic, sustainable future. The leadership skills gained through the course will empower Ollie to further embed sustainable practices across TFT and to engage with colleagues and our partners to interrogate design and construction practices and instigate positive behavioural change.

You can read more about the programme here.

New CPD event added to calendar

TFT is running another CPD event in London on 6th December, focusing on building viability. Topics covered will include Rights of Light, Sustainability, Dilapidations and Fire Safety. Some of the issues being addressed will be:

  • The factors to consider for maintaining the long-term potential of the building
  • Why fixtures and chattels can cost or save you money when negotiating dilapidations
  • Why calculating operational energy demands at the design stage is key to identifying opportunities for minimising energy consumption and costs
  • What might the Government ban on combustible cladding materials mean for existing stock?

To book your place, click here. Please note that this is a strictly RSVP event and space is limited. Attendance will be confirmed following registration. There will be two sessions to choose from, morning and afternoon, to suit diaries. One starts at 8am and the other at 4pm. Please state which session you would prefer.

Hattrick of shortlists for TFT in 2018

This year, we have been named finalist for the Property Awards, the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards and the EG Awards. They come about following our dedicated effort to deliver better buildings, and happier, healthy occupants, creating the BPF Aftercare Guide and providing leading energy and sustainability advice to some of the biggest commercial property investors, respectively. TFT has been acknowledged as a candidate for providing the UK’s leading sustainability advisor. We believe this is a result of us hiring the best people; working on the biggest projects for blue chip clients and delivering market leading thought leadership.

With the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards right around the corner and the EG Awards in September, we look forward to meeting up with our fellow nominees and hearing about success stories from all corners of the commercial property market.

The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards takes place Wednesday 27th June at The Brewery London. To find out more, click here. The EG Awards takes place 19 September at Grosvenor House Hotel. To find out more, click here.

The new MEES regulations are here. So is the right support.

On 1 April The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force, making it unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating is F or G.

There are exemptions. There are common misunderstandings. And there is a support on hand to review EPCs, at risk properties and landlord and tenant obligations. Like it or not, MEES comes into force on 1 April but with TFT’s help the introduction need not be onerous.

Email us if you would like to discuss your portfolio with one of TFT’s MEES experts.

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TFT’s Thomas Bouriot shortlisted as one of the industry’s Rising Stars

Thomas Bouriot, an Energy and Sustainability Consultant within TFT’s Sustainability Group has been shortlisted within the BPF Rising Star category as part of this Year’s BPF Tomorrow’s Leaders Awards.

The BPF Tomorrow’s Leaders Awards 2017 have been launched for their second year, in partnership with Estates Gazette, to find and celebrate the UK real estate industry’s rising stars.

Thom will find out if he has won the award at the BPF President’s Lunch on 23 May 2017. Good luck, Thom.

Energy and Sustainability team grows at TFT

TFT, independent property and construction consultancy, has made a further strategic appointment in its industry-leading energy and sustainability team.

Chang Zhang Chin, formerly of ChapmanBDSP, joins TFT as an Energy and Sustainability Consultant in the London office.

He is already assisting an institutional investor with a large office refurbishment in south west London where his role is to ensure sustainability targets are secured during the redesign and following developed and technical design phases.

Mat Lown, Partner and Head of Sustainability, TFT, said:

More and more of the most high-profile and well-respected names in UK commercial real estate are turning to TFT for advice and support about energy and sustainability. Chang’s arrival helps TFT to meet an increasing demand for passive energy advice, particularly for the thriving build to rent sector. His expertise in air quality is welcome, too, and adds to TFT’s wellbeing expertise.