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Our Office Experience
Jul 14, 2022

Building Offices For The Future: The BCO Highlights

After a two-year hiatus, G&T attended the British Council for Offices (BCO) Conference where sector experts gathered to discuss what’s next for the office.

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Written by GT
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Hosted at the Manchester Central convention complex the two-day conference offered the opportunity for industry professionals to share insights and experiences on a variety of hot topics. Sustainability, new drivers for growth, placemaking, flexible working and joined up thinking were key themes across the event.

Gardiner & Theobald - Bruntwood Bloc Tour

Here are our highlights:

Having helped shape the conference this year G&T's delegates were excited to attend and connect with office professionals from across the world. Executive surveyor Alice Speirs supported the conference's first ever NextGen programme and partner Stephen Frood, Chairman of the Northern Region of the BCO, was involved in the wider programming. Our office experts are also helping support G&T's contribution to the updating of the BCO Guides.

Manchester's Levelling Up

In the opening keynote Joanne Roney, chief executive of the city council, shared a bright future for Manchester’s office market with engineering, science and digital jobs expected to be major drivers of growth as one of the government’s three UK innovation acceleration hubs.

G&T partner Stephen Frood helped lead a number of tours showcasing the cities world class office space, including the carefully created NOMA neighbourhood. NOMA brings together a 20-acre masterplan of new homes, offices, hotels, shops, restaurants and bars around vibrant urban spaces and public realm. We provided cost management, principal designer & CDM consultancy and project management services on no 1 Angel Square and are currently providing cost management and employers agent services on 4 Angel Square.

The True Value Of Sustainability

This year the conference focused on sustainability discussing where the real value from smart and healthy buildings comes from. A common theme was the application of existing measurement tools and policy and how these could be reimagined to create ‘healthier buildings and people.’

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“The drive for innovation alongside true sustainability was apparent across the conference, with a focus on how the sector can work together to create places and offices which care for people.”

Siân Roberts

G&T Director

With increased demand for more sustainable and high performance buildings and occupants and investors paying far closer attention to these issues at the pre-purchase and occupation stage, panellists debated whether it was time to establish more sophisticated measurements.

The Office Ecosystem

Low office utilisation rates and the idea of the ‘ecosystem of the office’ dominated day two with Andy McBain, head of future of workspace and design at NatWest Group and Paul Casey, global real estate EMEA director at IBM among others, debating what’s next for the ‘flexible office space.’

“Work no longer happens in a single location, it happens across an ecosystem that involves the office, the home, third places, the city and public realm. The conference highlighted the demand we’re seeing which is similar to that of a hotel or an event or experience. It’s an exciting time for the sector”

Stephen Frood

G&T Partner & Chairman of the Northern Region of the BCO

New drivers for change were explored with specification, inclusivity, being surrounded by other likeminded businesses, flexibility and amenity, being noted as taking over location in the race for space.

NextGen Disruptor Programme

For the first time since its inception the conference had its own NextGen programme, supported by G&T’s executive surveyor Alice Speirs who along with a committee of other nextgen professionals helped organise a number of events.

Sessions such as the ‘Nextgen Dawn of The Evolving Office’ panel discussion, coffee roulette, mentoring event, wellness sessions and the highly anticipated Freight Island after party, provided invaluable opportunities for those looking to progress to connect with peers and senior leaders.

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“It was a privilege to be involved in organising the BCO’s NextGen programme. The office sector and built environment more generally has experienced much change, but there is also a sense of excitement to see what innovation will come out of this new challenges.”

Alice Speirs

G&T Executive Surveyor

The conference provided an invaluable opportunity to showcase Manchester as the leading city in the government's levelling up agenda, share our market expertise and connect with office professionals from across the world.

If you would like to find out how we can help with your next office development contact our experts.

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