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The BCO unveils revamped research programme

25 Jan 2024

Today, the British Council for offices unveils its new research agenda, which will aim to guide and inspire the office sector amid disruption.

Key recommendations include the development of the BCO’s ‘2030 vision for the office’. Four priority focus areas are identified in the Research Programme Working Document, which sets the agenda for upcoming research over the near and medium term. These are economy, business, technology and ESG (environmental, social and governance).

The agenda is a direct response to the current and ongoing dynamics in the office sector. It seeks to focus the BCO’s research on the areas where in-depth understanding is most needed of fast-moving trends and emerging opportunities. The publication aims to lay the groundwork for a new vision of the office as an economically productive, occupier-first, technologically enabled and sustainable part of our built environment.

The papers are introduced by a forward from Bill Hughes, Global Head of Real Assets at Legal and General Investment Management, and have been authored by leading industry specialists, who explore economy, business, technology and ESG, respectively:

  • Nick Axford, Global Head of Research at Avison Young,
  • Chris Kane, Co-Founder at EverythingOmni,
  • Nigel Miller, Managing Director at Cordless Consultants
  • and Hannah Davis, Director at Faithful+Gould,.

Each paper identifies a series of key changes facing the office sector and how the BCO will lead investigation and discussion around them, resulting in new innovation and exemplar solutions.

This includes:

  • re-evaluating the notion of offices as capital assets in light of the broader role of offices as a source of community and place-making in the UK’s new and shifting economic geography;
  • responding to the rise of consumer power and rapidly changing business priorities by establishing an improved dialogue between the property industry and its occupiers;
  • developing strategic industry guidance around technology and its adoption in build and fit-out process;
  • working towards a common definition of ESG principles and providing technical guidance on full life cycle sustainability for office designers, planners, operators and asset managers.

An integral part of the brief for each research pillar was the need to consider change, not only in terms of the detailed issues being faced today but, critically, to take a longer-term perspective in order to anticipate challenges and turn them into opportunities.

Each pillar topic also considers the social relevance of the office as a fully integrated part of the broader infrastructure of UK cities and towns.

Intended to spark discussion, the BCO’s Research Committee will use this publication as a basis for its ongoing research around these subjects.

Members can download the BCO Programme Working Document here.

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