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 ⬇️
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:
Establishing Net Zero Carbon scope
Reducing the construction impacts
Reducing the operational energy use
Increase renewable energy supply
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:
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.
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.
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.
Brand & Reputation: This is one of the most valuable asset for all organisations, benefiting the investors, contractors, operator and the developers.
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..
Innovation: Looking for new methods of production or delivery to improve efficiency can help identify new opportunities, such as use of new technology.
Productivity: There is often a strong link between innovation and productivity. For instance adoption of a new technology can help increase the workforce productivity.
Access to Capital: Net Zero assumptions can result in new sources of capital or capital at preferential interest rates.
Quality: It can improve building quality during the design, construction, and management phases.
Value of Assets: The benefits of Net Zero building and all of its other advantages can help to increase demand for the assets.
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.
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.