All posts by Marina Ranger

Quartz proudly sponsored the LFA (London Festival of Architecture) 2022 launch party, in partnership with DP9 Limited and Blue Orchid Hotels.

The opening party marked the start of the month long festival in June and guests enjoyed a tour of the building from some of the Quartz team, including getting to see views of the skyline from the rooftop!

          

We’re delighted to have been shortlisted in two categories for the RICS Awards 2022.

Technique, which we have submitted for the Commercial Development and the Refurbishment/Revitalisation Project categories is the sustainable redevelopment of two historic buildings, spanning 75,000 sq ft, in Clerkenwell, London. The fully refurbished development offers modern workspace and retail, over six storeys.

Likewise, The Gramophone Works, which we have submitted for the Commercial Development award is a new landmark canal-side commercial hub comprising a mix of refurbished and extended office spaces. We extended this six storey building imaginatively and sustainably to contribute to the areas thriving community and creative spirit.

The highly experienced team that worked on these two schemes were all a part of the success story of the future of these buildings. Fingers crossed and congratulations to all the businesses who have been shortlisted too!

Click on the link below to find out more about each of the shortlisted schemes and companies ⬇️

The 2022 RICS Awards Shortlist

We’re delighted to announce our Charity of the Year partnership with SOHK (School of Hard Knocks) for 2022, which will help to fund life-changing programmes for both children and adults across the UK. SOHK uses sport to help those who are affected by issues such as unemployment, mental health, and crime, among others. We’re really excited to be working with such a fantastic cause and will be organising and participating in a variety of fundraising events throughout the year with the goal of raising as much money as possible for them (fingers crossed!).

 

The story and history behind the School of Hard Knocks is pretty fascinating and expressive which is yet another reason why we are very pleased to be partnering with them. In 2007, Ken Cowen, the CEO of School of Hard Knocks, was working for a training provider in Liverpool when Knowsley council approached him for innovative ideas to help young men who had been unemployed for a long time due to the proceeds of petty crime. This journey then created School of Hard Knocks, an eight-week course designed to help these men contribute positively to society by giving them a sense of self-worth and efficacy. The charity now helps over 750 adults and children each year with many incredible success stories. If you would like to learn more about SOHK’s mission or would like to contact them for more information, visit their website here.

 

We’re absolutely thrilled that Quartz have chosen SOHK to be their ‘Charity of the Year’  – or in this case, two years! Quartz have been along to our End of Dry January lunches for a while now and know us well, but this really elevates the relationship and we look forward to doing some fun stuff together this year and crucially raise some funds to help sustain the work of the charity.

Ken Cowen, CEO of SOHK

 

We recognise the critical role charities play and are thrilled with our new partnership with SOHK, which will allow us to reach and help many adults and children in the UK. We believe that by working together, we can make a lasting impact while also providing our colleagues with a great cause for fundraising across the many exciting events we have planned throughout 2022. We can’t wait to start our partnership and raise much needed funds for SOHK.

Bill Arnold, Director of Quartz

 

Last of all, keep an eye on our social media pages for updates on how we are trying to help.

In the UK and around the world, the built environment has become increasingly committed to achieving Net Zero, and we must agree on what this means in pragmatic terms to make real progress.

According to the Institute for Government, ‘Net Zero’ refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. This means that any building that is not either operating at Net Zero Carbon performance, or it is not designed to be capable of doing so, is becoming a costly liability for future generations. The most important thing is to focus on the desired outcome, while also meeting the sustainability compliances & requirements.

So, how should the processes of design, procurement, construction and so on change to fulfil this vision? First and foremost, clients play a critical role in this, as they are the ones who have the power to encourage or prevent this achievement with the other stakeholders with whom they engage. The client will typically have their constraints in mind which naturally are budget and time, however it is evident that the law and statutory requirements regarding sustainability (many of which are in the pipeline) have resulted in sustainability, being an important facet to consider for any project at the offset. Clients are also receiving pressure from funders and investors to ensure that the projects they are aligned with take sustainability seriously and that it’s credentials are recorded and championed, otherwise funding can now be put at risk or not offered. Compliance is the main concern at the outset, however reviewing sustainability and the options regarding it, can, and typically will, result in greater value for clients in the long term. For example, re-using materials and structures, increasing energy efficiency when running assets and safe-guarding the value of an asset for re-sale.

Whilst the client will overall steer and decide how sustainability is weighted in their project credentials, the role of the Project Manager and the wider design team is critical. It is the Project Manager and the design team that can, and must highlight areas of opportunity to be holistically reviewed, in order to enable an intelligent client decision. At the very least, the Project Manager and design team need to highlight and identify any issues of compliance.

Some of the steps that can be taken starting from an initial concept to having a Net Zero Scheme built are:

  1. Establishing Net Zero Carbon scope
  2. Reducing the construction impacts
  3. Reducing the operational energy use
  4. Increase renewable energy supply
  5. Offsetting any remaining carbon

 

 

Buildings that are Net Zero carbon can add significant value over their lifetime, so it’s important to consider this added value in addition to the cost. This is because the value benefits are likely to outweigh the cost increase. A report published by UK GBC (Green Building Council) highlights 11 significant value drivers of Net Zero:

  1. Cost Saving: This includes costs associated with energy, water and materials. The cost of the resulting actions may be higher in the capital phase, but the operational phase will save far more money.
  2. Talent Attraction and Retention: Employee engagement, productivity and motivation are influenced by the primary business values, and these values are met with a sustainable strategy emphasising health, diversity and inclusivity.
  3. Meeting Tenant Demand: Driving sustainable business principles at all levels of the value chain can also help tenants/customers avoid or achieve their own sustainability goals.
  4. Brand & Reputation: This is one of the most valuable asset for all organisations, benefiting the investors, contractors, operator and the developers.
  5. Long-term Resilience: As we live in an uncertain and unpredictable world, the sustainability credentials include a risk assessment of social and environmental impacts, which improves resilience. This includes things such as the mitigation of insurance costs and liabilities resulting from extreme weather events etc..
  6. Innovation: Looking for new methods of production or delivery to improve efficiency can help identify new opportunities, such as use of new technology.
  7. Productivity: There is often a strong link between innovation and productivity. For instance adoption of a new technology can help increase the workforce productivity.
  8. Access to Capital: Net Zero assumptions can result in new sources of capital or capital at preferential interest rates.
  9. Quality: It can improve building quality during the design, construction, and management phases.
  10. Value of Assets: The benefits of Net Zero building and all of its other advantages can help to increase demand for the assets.
  11. Licence to Operate: Legal compliance is required in order to keep the licence to operate in the future and being Net Zero can help to that.

Every year we review data on the year just gone to gain an overview and insight into what might have changed and what this could mean for us as we plan for the future. Our 2021 stats have been published and this shows we have maintained a healthy and organic growth in continuing to provide expert advice to all our clients.

The below summary highlights the types of projects we work on, how our work is spread across the UK, and the different industries we work with. We look forward to another great year!

 

The Gramophone Works, located at 326 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BZ, will be a new landmark canal-side commercial hub comprising a mix of refurbished and extended office spaces. We were appointed as Project Managers and Cost Consultants to refurbish and extend the existing 35,414 ft2 (GIA) building to provide an office development of 88,016 ft2 (GIA), comprising 1,119 ft2 (NIA) of café and 62,253 ft2 (NIA) of B1 office space within the new 6-storey building.

 

The scheme promotes the use of new sustainable technologies with the latest in timber technology and the development is also committed to integrating the scheme into the surrounding neighbourhood through its historic and social features and aspects. The Gramophone Works was the Environmental Prize Winner at New London Awards 2021.

 

The extensive sustainability credentials of the scheme include:

 

•  Solar shaded curtain walling prevents overheating while allowing the maximum amount of natural light to be admitted through the building’s windows.

 

•  Generous terraces with planting and open doors provide natural cross-ventilation, which minimises energy consumption.

 

•  The use of an off-site manufactured structural timber frame to enable a more condensed construction program, reducing the number of heavy goods deliveries and the need for site storage.

 

•  The CLT and Glulam have over 1000 tonnes of embedded CO2 sourced from sustainable forests.

 

•  Structural elements that avoid waste, construction traffic and activity to reduce embodied carbon footprint.

 

•  High-quality end of journey facilities and cycle storage is provided in the basement to encourage sustainable modes of transport.

 

After its completion, the Gramophone Works will be the largest CLT and Glulam Office building in the Europe. We are delighted to be part of the team:

 

Client / Funder: Resolution Property

PM/EA & QS: Quartz Project Services

Architect: Studio RHE

Structural Engineer: Heyne Tillett Steel

MEP Engineer: Atelier Ten

Planning Consultant: GVA

Contractor: Graham Construction

 

 

Work began on Campus, Reading International in June 2021. The scheme will offer 1,500 sq ft to 180,000 sq ft of extensively refurbished collaborative and community-focused office space. The project comprises the creation of a new reception and entrance archway, new building restaurant and workspace area, new gym, changing and cycling facilities, a yoga studio, a multi-function event space, a town hall facility and more to provide a market leading amenity and wellness provision.

 

Our clients, Alchemy Asset Management and Tristan Capital Partners, intend the building to be an exemplar of contemporary refurbishment and repositioning in the business park market. This is particularly important in a post Covid environment where ESG credentials and Wellness have come to the forefront. Campus will deliver a truly unique scheme that sets a benchmark for the future of offices.

 

Specifically, the market is now encouraging intentional office design to foster a culture of health and well-being for occupiers. Therefore, we can say that wellness in the workplace is becoming a rapidly emerging topic and there is a wider change in the way the industry is thinking about sustainability.

 

Campus, Reading International will target a WELL rating of ‘Platinum’, WELL Health-Safety certification, a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and a WiredScore rating of ‘Platinum’, as well as a displacement ventilation system, which will deliver the cleanest air and maximum air volumes post Covid.

 

The Displacement ventilation system reduces the amount of airborne contaminants in the environment because, unlike a traditional mixed-mode system, the displacement system supplies 100% fresh air at a low level and then extracts polluted air at a high level. There is no recirculation of the polluted air unlike, say, a 4 pipe system that only delivers about 20% fresh air. The displacement system also moves away from traditional fossil fuel combustion and towards a mechanical plant that is fully operational on electric power via heat pump technology and a green energy supply.

 

Throughout the project, the design team focused on circular economy principles to reduce waste and increase the reuse of materials. To date 98% of the waste from the construction works has been diverted from landfills.

 

A project goal was also to promote sustainable forms of transport and futureproof the building. The building will now have120 electrical vehicle chargers for both tenants and visitors and extensive cycling provision including bike storage, electric bike charging, drying facilities and showers.

 

The on-site 4,000 sq ft gym will have state of the art equipment and live as well as recorded classes for its members.  There is also a multifunctional space that will allow building occupants to hold catered meetings for internal and external purposes. There are no other buildings in the immediate market which offer landlord managed gym and wellness amenities to the scale of Campus.

 

Here are some fantastic photos of Campus, Reading International. It is a real privilege to work on this stunning building.

 

The material shortages in the construction industry continue to worsen and according to the Office for National Statics (ONS), in July 2021 the cost of materials rose by 20%. This caused a decline in monthly construction output by 1.6% in July compared with June, falling to £13,660 million, and follows the 1.3% monthly decline in June 2021. The situation is likely to remain a problem for 6 to 9 more months, at least till the end of 2021, as the knock-on effects from Covid and Brexit remain evident.

 

Timber, roof tiles and cement heads are few of the list of materials in short supply while the demand is steeply increasing. From a wider perspective, the world’s consumption of raw materials is set to nearly double by 2060 as the global economy expands and living standards rise, which will cause twice the pressure on existing demand. According to an OECD report published in 2019, there will be 167 Gigatons of raw materials usage in the construction industry in 2060. To put that into context, one gigaton equates to 10,000 fully-loaded U.S. aircraft carriers!

 

The current market disruption could be an opportunity to help us drive  greener, cleaner, and more sustainable construction practices in the industry by forcing the use of recycled materials where possible. What further steps can be taken to mitigate the problems associated with the material shortage?

 

  1.  Planning well in advance
  2. Working closely with the supply chain and keeping in tight communication
  3. Discovering cheap and environmental substitute materials. Using services such as ENVIRONMATE (free leftover building materials marketplace)
  4. Allowing for longer lead times
  5. Sourcing locally
  6. Using reclaimed building materials, which can also be a solution to net zero government intentions. This would also avoid over reliance on Europe.
  7. Use recycled materials where possible
  8. Meeting British testing standards
  9. Refurbish buildings instead of demolition where possible

 

 

Daniel Gillespie, Director at Quartz Project Services shares his thoughts on how we can come up with sustainable ideas to help solve the material shortage problem.

“ We have and must start to think earlier and differently. At Quartz, we engage this process from inception, the ‘green agenda’ starts at the first meeting and stays a constant workflow through the duration of the development, occupation and life cycle costs. We are approaching schemes differently to be on point with the shift in the market conditions and demand. “

 

Marina Ranger has recently completed and passed her Level 5 HR Diploma, meaning she is now a member of the CIPD body at Associate level! We asked Marina few questions about what it took to gain the qualification and what motivated her during this time. Here is what she says…

 

           

 

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Marina Ranger and I am the Head of Operations at Quartz Project Services.

 

What does your role involve?

I am responsible for Quartz’s business operations which includes responsibilities within HR, Marketing, Innovation, Finance, Sustainability, IT etc. so I do a wide variety of tasks. I’m a ‘jack of all’!

 

Please tell us about your recent HR certificate.

Before I joined Quartz, I decided to study for a Level 5 HR Diploma, which would certify me as a member of CIPD at Associate level and help me in my future roles as the person responsible for HR in the business. The certification, which I have just received gives me an in-depth understanding of HR laws, policies and ways of working, which I knew would be transferrable in my working career.

 

Why did you decide to do the course?

I knew I would have extra time on my hands as we were in lockdown and HR was always a part of my role that I knew was fundamental to any business I was working for but also something I felt I had learning to do in. I love learning and improving my skill set so I thought the course would not only make me more qualified to give HR advice but would also make me more confident in my role and equally better at it!

 

What was required of you in terms of workload during the course?

There was on average 8 hours of reading each week and a 3,000 – 4,000 word essay every 4-6 weeks. A lot!

 

Was it difficult to balance work responsibilities and your course requirements?

Yes and no. It was certainly stressful at times but I am quite good at compartmentalising different things I have going on and prioritising all the different things going on in life. Generally, it took up my weekends and some late week night evenings, which was a sacrifice I had to make!

 

You’ve been at Quartz for a while now, what keeps you motivated?

Mainly the people I work with! Having a good bunch of colleagues to work with is a great incentive to work hard as you feel you are doing the work for a team. Knowing the work I do will also keep me learning and growing is also a motivator for myself.

 

What are your plans for the future now you’ve got your certificate?

Start trying to put my HR Management skills to practice and adding more value to Quartz!

 

Thank you Marina and look forward to your continued progress and success at Quartz!

UK lockdown has brought a great deal of change in every industry, including construction. Many construction companies and their workplaces have begun to consider new technological processes within digital and automated environments. This is not something new, however the widespread adaptation has become irreversible since the Covid-19 pandemic. As said by Hans Vestberg, “Disruption may be unprecedented, but things will never move so slowly again”.

 

 

For starters, a shift to remote working forced companies into using online software, particularly Cloud servers to maintain efficienct with effective communication channels given the forced lack of human interaction and hence face to face meetings. While we missed office life and believe nothing can truly replace interactions in person, it has brought a variety of opportunities and advantages for future working environments. We can frame it as shaping a new digital habit! Here is a small taste of the benefits seen:

 

  1. Increased efficiencies with real time, up-to-date information flows
  2. Enabled regular backups on web-based filling systems
  3. Increased data collection, supporting productivity and efficiency in the long run through analysis
  4. Greater focus on structural stability
  5. Adaptation of smart technologies
  6. Opportunity for a wider talent pool
  7. Improvised, new ideas

 

What lies ahead?

 

  1. The industry will become more data savvy, which is a big change for the construction industry that is typically traditional in it’s working approach.
  2. Construction professionals who understand new digital advancements and software’s will be in great demand.
  3. Technological advances could revolutionise almost all points of the construction cycle of a built asset, from conceptualisation to demolition.
  4. There will be an increase in the use of technology to lower a building’s carbon footprint and the use of resources and building models.
  5. By adopting new technologies, the construction industry will be dominated with mega-projects to build smart and sustainable cities.