Build­ing for the fu­ture of work

BCO Nextgen award win­ner says move to­wards healthy of­fice space is set to con­tinue, writes Colin Card­well

The Herald - - COMMERCIAL -

GEN­ER­A­TIONS Y and Z have new de­mands about em­ploy­ment. They’re less ob­sessed with fi­nan­cial gain, more con­cerned with ful­fil­ment and more eco-con­scious.

They’re also look­ing for sig­nif­i­cantly more from their of­fice space than a desk, com­puter and a cof­fee ma­chine in the cor­ner and – in­creas­ingly – they are get­ting it.

Emma Ma­cleod, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor at Hur­ley Palmer Flatt be­lieves we live in a world that re­quires a more holis­tic ap­proach to the de­sign of of­fice build­ings with work­ing lives shift­ing to more flex­i­ble ar­range­ments that mir­ror an in­creas­ing as­pi­ra­tion for a bet­ter work-life bal­ance.

Ma­cleod was named Ris­ing Star of Scot­land at the third an­nual Bri­tish Coun­cil for

Of­fices (BCO) Nextgen Awards last No­vem­ber, part of the BCO’S Nextgen pro­gramme, which sets out to men­tor and en­cour­age the next gen­er­a­tion of pro­fes­sion­als to be­come fu­ture lead­ers in the in­dus­try while pro­vid­ing a plat­form for new tal­ent to share ideas.

With a de­gree in me­chan­i­cal engi­neer­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of Strath­clyde she be­gan sum­mer place­ments with ATCO Con­sult­ing which was ac­quired by Hur­ley Palmer Flatt and was men­tored by the firm’s Scot­tish re­gional di­rec­tor Mark Arthur, whose con­tin­u­ing in­put she still de­scribes as “in­spi­ra­tional”.

Re­cently work­ing on projects rang­ing from The Event Com­plex Aberdeen (TECA), Spa and Leisure at Por­tavadie on Loch Fyne and a new of­fice de­vel­op­ment in Ed­in­burgh, she at­tended the BCO con­fer­ence in Ber­lin last year with two col­leagues to de­liver a pre­sen­ta­tion on Smart Build­ings which, she says, aligns with a new divi­sion within the com­pany to sup­port R&D in that area.

“User-cen­tric de­sign is fun­da­men­tal to the built en­vi­ron­ment,” she says. “His­tor­i­cally peo­ple were only con­cerned with the func­tion­al­ity of the build­ing; now there is much more fo­cus on the user.”

The in­ter­est in achiev­ing de­signs that pro­mote well­be­ing as well as ag­ile work­ing fits well with the Smart tech­nol­ogy that al­lows the mon­i­tor­ing of the con­di­tions of build­ings and much more in­formed de­ci­sions to be made.

This, she says, closes the per­for­mance gap that of­ten ex­ists be­tween what was de­signed and what is ul­ti­mately handed over. Peo­ple of­ten ac­cept the build­ings they are given, she says, with­out ap­pre­ci­at­ing that they might not be per­form­ing to their po­ten­tial. “With the tech­nol­ogy now avail­able to us this is im­prov­ing.”

She de­scribes of­fice build­ings not merely as work­places, but com­mu­ni­ties.

“We are for­tu­nate to live in a so­ci­ety that recog­nises equal rights and op­por­tu­ni­ties but prob­a­bly still has some way to go to reach its fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. In­cor­po­rat­ing this into our build­ings is just one of the many steps to­wards this.”

Our work­ing lives, she ar­gues, are shift­ing to­wards much more flex­i­ble ar­range­ments, with peo­ple in­creas­ingly push­ing the bound­aries of the nine to five “norm”.

“This change needs to be re­flected in our build­ings to fa­cil­i­tate al­ter­na­tive work­ing ar­range­ments and pro­mote equal­ity and diver­sity in our work­place.”

A laud­able ethos – but are de­vel­op­ers buy­ing into it? “Some are ob­vi­ously ask­ing what the ben­e­fits are to them and why they should be adopt­ing this type of tech­nol­ogy,” she says.

“At the mo­ment there is no leg­is­la­tion push­ing you to­wards this ap­proach; it de­pends on you see­ing the ad­van­tages.

“For de­vel­op­ers it will mean that a bet­ter qual­ity build­ing is handed over to the end user and an in­volve­ment through­out the project with dig­i­tal engi­neer­ing and 3D mod­el­ling mean­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach.”

The 3D mod­el­ling live model, she adds, means the struc­tural en­gi­neer, ar­chi­tect and ser­vices en­gi­neer can all feed into the de­sign ad­dress­ing is­sues early and sav­ing time on site.

There are, she says, var­i­ous vir­tual re­al­ity soft­ware and mod­el­ling pro­grammes, such as VU City, which al­low the team to view the de­sign as they work. And, im­por­tantly, to es­tab­lish how com­pet­i­tive a build­ing it is within the client’s sec­tor.

“If you are mar­ket­ing a Smart en­abled build­ing it gives you a def­i­nite edge over oth­ers – with heat­ing and light­ing in­te­grated and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each other in or­der to be more en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient and im­prov­ing the oc­cu­pant’s com­fort lev­els.”

For de­vel­op­ers it will mean that a bet­ter qual­ity build­ing is handed over to the user

HEALTHY BUILD­INGS: The Spa and Leisure com­plex at Por­tavadie on Loch Fyne is among Ma­cleod’s de­sign projects.

FLEX­I­BIL­ITY: Emma Ma­cleod sees a shift to­wards user-cen­tric de­sign.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.