Annual Conference - BCO - British Council for Offices Annual Conference - BCO - British Council for Offices


This year’s packed agenda included plenary sessions from leading voices, seminars to facilitate a closer discussion, office tours and networking opportunities.

Our programme will provided a platform for a diverse and stimulating few days, packed with discussion and thought provoking debates, with a wide range of subjects including the power of partnership in development and regeneration projects, the impact of social value on lending for developers, and what today’s life science occupier looks like.

Information about the 2024 BCO Annual Conference Birmingham can be seen below

BCO Birmingham logo-Colour-rgb-300ppi



Welcome to Birmingham and the BCO Annual Conference: Creating Vibrancy.

It’s been more than ten years since the BCO was last in Birmingham and I’m sure, like me, you’ve been struck by the remarkable change since then. 

Over the past decade, this city, famously known as the ‘workshop of the world’ has lived up to its name, quietly delivering a number of sizeable new developments, including 103 Colmore Row, Enterprise Wharf, the Paradise regeneration project, and Snow Hill; no doubt catalysed by the substantial redevelopment of New Street Station in 2015 and I’m pleased to say the conference programme will offer opportunities to tour a number of these schemes.

We’ve worked hard to ensure that our programme will provide a platform for a diverse and stimulating few days, packed with discussion and thought provoking debates. During the conference seminars and panels, we’ll be hearing from a panel of expert regional and national experts to discuss a wide range of subjects including the power of partnership in development and regeneration projects, the impact of social value on lending for developers, and what today’s life science occupier looks like.

We have also expanded access to support our NextGen activity, to offer inclusive and forward thinking experiences for all, and I’m pleased to say the BCO Cycle Challenge and Golf Cup will also be happening too. Finally, the conference will also provide plenty of networking opportunities including the BCO Drinks Reception at the striking Library of Birmingham, and the Conference Party at the Luna Springs. 

This is an important moment for the office, where the future of the workplace continues to be a topic of debate. I encourage you to engage in the discussion, think openly and forge new connections, all against the vibrant backdrop of Birmingham. 

See you in May!

Peter Crowther
BCO Senior Vice President and Conference Chair

The International Convention Centre

8 Centenary Square

Birmingham B1 2EA

Built in 1987, the ICC is one of Britain’s premier and most accessible convention centres.  Located in the city centre, the ICC is a short walk from any of Birmingham’s three train stations.  The Utilita Arena Birmingham offers car parking for those wishing to drive.  For those wishing to fly, Birmingham Airport is the only UK airport with a train station connected to the terminal, which means it takes just ten minutes to get to Birmingham New Street station.


The ICC is linked to the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.  Rooms at preferential rates are available to reserve when booking your conference place.


Hyatt Regency Birmingham

2 Bridge Street

Birmingham B1 2JZ


Peter Crowther, Bruntwood

Richard Kauntze, British Council for Offices


James Hall, Associated Architects


James Hall, Associated Architects


Rosie Cotterill, Turley

Oliver Hall, Make Architects


Penny Vinten, Overbury


Carl Giles, Turner & Townsend alinea

Club Peloton

Design & Marketing:

Mary Economidou, British Council for Offices

Chané Scallan, British Council for Offices

OB Consulting

Public Relations:

ING Media


Victoria Armstrong, SAS Event Management

Event Organisation:

SAS Event Management

The Brain Tumour Charity is the world’s leading brain tumour charity and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally.

Committed to saving and improving lives, they’re moving further, faster to help every single person affected by a brain tumour. They’re set on finding new treatments, offering the highest level of support and driving urgent change. And they’re doing it right now. Because they understand that when you, or someone you love, is diagnosed with a brain tumour – a cure really can’t wait.

Their vision is for people diagnosed with a brain tumour to live longer and better lives. They’ll achieve this by accelerating cures for all brain tumours, driving the best lifelong care and raising our global voices.

The goal is to double survival by 2030.  

In line with this, the charity partner selected for the 2024 BCO Conference, held in Birmingham, is the Brain Tumour Charity.

For people with fast-growing tumours, the aim is to halve the average years of life lost to a brain tumour from 27.3 years (2015) to 13.6 years by 2030. They’ll use one-year survival rates as an early indicator of our progress. For people with slow growing tumours, they aim to determine a benchmark and baseline it, then double survival by 2030.

Ultimately, as a research-led charity, they aim to find cures for all brain tumours so that no one’s life expectancy is dictated by their tumour. The goal is to halve the harm that brain tumours have on quality of life by 2030.

For people with both fast and slow-growing tumours, their families and carers, they aim to select and baseline a quality of life measure with user groups and clinicians in 2023.

We are proud to be working with Climate Impact Partners to make this event CarbonNeutral®.

This means that the emissions produced from heating, lighting, waste, supplier and organiser travel, have been balanced out by supporting carbon finance projects which reduce the equivalent amount of CO2.

Carbon Neutral Event Certificate: BCO Annual Conference 2024

CarbonNeutral® certification was created and is managed by Climate Impact Partners. It was the first clear set of guidelines for businesses to achieve carbon neutrality back in 2002, and every year since then Climate Impact Partners has continued its commitment to providing a robust framework for clear, transparent and high-quality carbon neutral action.

The CarbonNeutral Protocol is a publicly available document that sets out the requirements for companies to achieve CarbonNeutral® certification. It is updated annually with input from an Advisory Council of external experts to ensure it reflects the latest industry and scientific best practice.

Find out more at


Conference enquiries

Tel: +44 (0)1722 339811


Terms and Conditions:

To qualify for the Member rate, you must have paid your BCO Membership fees before booking the event. All invoices must be paid within 30 days of the date of the invoice and no later than Wednesday 1st May 2024, whichever is soonest. Please note the Cancellation Policy details below.

Cancellation Deadline: Cancellations received in writing on or before Wednesday 17th April 2024 will be charged a 20% administration fee which must be paid, any amounts already paid will be refunded less the administration fee. Cancellations thereafter will not be refunded, and the original invoice will remain payable. The BCO Cycle Challenge, BCO Golf Cup and hotel bookings are non-refundable. Substitute delegates will be accepted for the BCO Conference, hotel bookings, BCO Cycling Challenge and BCO Golf Cup at any time.

Invoice: The cycling and golf fees must be paid within the 30-day payment terms, places are limited.

Editing Deadline: 10am Wednesday 1st May 2024 for editing your details and providing us with any dietary requirements.

Everything you need to know before the conference will be available on this site using the navigation menus to your left.

A Pocket Guide, detailing all the information required at the conference will be handed out to all delegates at registration at the conference.

If you are unable to find the information that you require in this section of the website then contact or call SAS Event Management on 01722 339811.

The full list of current delegates can only be viewed by those booked to attend the conference. To access the list, click the link below and enter the password that was included within your booking confirmation email, sent from SAS Event Management.

BCO Annual Conference Birmingham - Delegate List

Delegates should make their own arrangements for hotel accommodation. A limited number of rooms at preferential rates have been reserved for delegates at the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is connected to The ICC. We recommend that you make your reservations at the earliest opportunity.

All prices are per night including VAT and breakfast in the restaurant.

Hyatt Regency
2 Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JZ
Tel: 0845 888 1234


Single King: £185
Double King: £206

To book: Please telephone 0121 643 1234 and quote the booking reference G- BCO5.

The Hyatt Regency Hotel is a modern, 4 star hotel which enjoys a prime central location and is directly linked to The ICC. It is situated opposite the brand new Library of Birmingham and five minutes' walk from the Mailbox and Brindleyplace.


Grand Hotel Birmingham
1 Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2FE
Tel: 0121 827 9600

Single = £229
Double = £243

To book: Please telephone 0121 827 9600 and quote the booking reference SASE200624.

Following a £50 million restoration and refurbishment, Birmingham’s original grande-dame hotel has re-opened. The hotel is a 15 minute walk from the ICC.


Hilton Garden Inn
1 Brunswick Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HW
Tel: 0121 643 1003

Single occupancy: £179

To book: Please book online here.
Situated in Brindleyplace the 4 star Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham is a 2 minute walk from the ICC.


Leonardo Royal (formerly Jury’s Inn)
245 Broad Street, B1 2HQ Birmingham
Tel: 01865 489 900

Single = £155
Double = £170

To book: Please book via this link or via the website, search for the Birmingham hotel and enter the code JISASE210524.


Ibis Birmingham Centre New Street Station

21 Ladywell Walk, Birmingham, B5 4ST

Tel: 121 619 9000

Single occupancy: £115

To book: Please email and quote the booking reference 1459B00112.

This budget hotel is located within the lively Arcadian Centre in Birmingham's Chinese Quarter and is a 15 minute walk from the ICC.


Radisson Blu Birmingham
12 Holloway Circus, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1BT
Tel: 0121 654 6000

Single = £155

To book: Please email or call 0121 654 6000 (and press the reservation number) to make a booking. Please quote booking reference is MB0000424021.

This high rise hotel is convenient for the business district, several shopping complexes and is a 15 minute walk to the ICC.



For details on your chosen tour departure times, please check the brochure below.



07:30 – 16.45        BCO Golf Cup - Forest of Arden Golf Club           

10:30 - 12:30         Networking brunch for NextGen early arrivals - The Medicine Bakery at the Mailbox

13:00 - 14:30         NextGen Walking Building Talk & Tour

16:30                     Cyclists arrive in Centenary Square

18:30 - 20:00         Welcome Drinks Reception – Birmingham Library

19:30 - 21:30         NextGen Networking Drinks & Food – The Distillery

21:30 – 24:00        Post Dinner Drinks hosted by the NextGen  – The Distillery



09:00 - 09:45         Session 1 | Welcome to Birmingham – ICC

09:45 - 10:45         Plenary 1: Regeneration through Partnership Working – ICC

10:45 - 11:30         Refreshments – ICC                                                                                                    

10:45 - 11:30         NextGen Coffee Break – ICC

11:30 - 12:45         Session 2 | Plenary 2: Same Old, Same Old or New Dawn Breaking? – ICC

12:45 - 14:00         Lunch – ICC                                                                                                                          

12:45 - 14:00         NextGen Mentoring – ICC                                           

14:00 - 15:45         Session 3a | Choice of seminar followed by a tour, or tour followed by a seminar

16:00 - 17:45         Session 3b | Choice of seminar followed by a tour, or tour followed by a seminar

18:30 - 19:30         NextGen Pre-Party Drinks – Cosy Club

20:00                     Party – Luna Springs   



09:30 – 11:00        Session 4 | Plenary 3: The Impact of Tech and the Creative Sector on Future Workspace Roulette 

11:00 - 11:45         Refreshments – ICC                                                                                                     

11:00 - 11:45         NextGen Coffee Break – ICC

11:45 - 13:15         Session 5 | Plenary 4: Impact on Property and Construction

13:15 – 14:30         Lunch – ICC                                                                                                         


Please note that the conference programme is subject to change

22 - 24 May 2024

Welcome to Birmingham

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority

Thursday 23 May | 09:15 - 09:45 Andy Street Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands in May 2017. Andy was re-elected to serve a second term as Mayor in May 2021. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become Managing Director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history.

He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

Outside of work, Andy is passionate about the arts, particularly in the West Midlands, having previously served as Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls. In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region. He holds three honorary degrees, from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.

Plenary 1: Regeneration through Partnership Working

Thursday 23 May | 09:45 - 10:30 P1 24 v 3
  • Chair: Dav Bansal, Howells Architects
  • Maggie Grogan, Managing Director, Muse Midlands
  • Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Aston University
  • Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Birmingham
Birmingham and the West Midlands have a proud history of delivering regeneration and economic growth through partnership working. Current examples of this include the transformational Digbeth Loc. Studios development, the site of the new BBC studios- being delivered in collaboration between Stanhope and Homes England, and the substantial Arden Cross development, a partnership between MUSE and landowners including Birmingham City Council. Developments at Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, and Birmingham Innovation Quarter also highlight the role of the triple helix in delivering long term success and collaborative birth for all. This plenary session seeks to explore public private partnerships past, present and future and apply this to see how collaboration will deliver the innovative, sustainable and connected smart cities of the future, with expert insight: Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, Deborah Cadman will outline Birmingham’s ‘Our Future City’ strategy and how it intends to support regeneration through partnership. The City Council have worked in partnership to deliver a number of key projects in the City including Paradise with MEPC and Smithfield with Lend Lease. Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor of University of Birmingham will outline the University’s approach to outreach including their partner with Bruntwood SciTech at Birmingham Health Innovation Campus. Aston University, led by Vice Chancellor Aleks Subic have been key in the formation of Birmingham Innovation Quarter. As a business Muse has always partnered to deliver, Maggie Grogan Managing Director of the Midlands will outline the Muse approach to partnership.

Plenary 2: Same Old, Sam Old, or New Dawn Breaking?

Thursday 23 May | 11:30 - 12:45
  • Chair: Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive, British Council for Offices
  • Stephen Bush, Columnist and Associate Editor, The Financial Times
  • Caroline Wheeler, Political Editor, The Sunday Times
P2 - 24 2024 will be a pivotal year for Britain, with an almost certain General Election (the government could run until January 2025) and the distinct likelihood of a majority Labour government for the first time since 2010. What will that mean, domestically, and internationally? Will a new government’s economic hands be so tightly tied that they can offer little but more of the same, or will we witness some sort of Tony Blair-style new dawn? The backdrop, of course, has seldom been more complex, and at times chaotic, if not shambolic. Alongside the political chaos, the news agenda has been dominated for all too long by a seemingly relentless stream of gloom: international conflict, a cost-of-living crises for many, and the apparent failure of so many public services, despite ever larger injections of cash.  How do we get out of this mess,and how can Britain get its mojo back? To debate this, and much more, Stephen Bush, Associate Editor of the Financial Times, and Caroline Wheeler, Political Editor of The Sunday Times.

Plenary 3: The Impact of Tech and the Creative Sector on Future Workspace

Friday 24 May | 09:30 - 11:00
  • Chair: Kris Krokosz, Director, squaredot
  • Alexandra King, Lecturer, Birmingham City University
  • Leah Jones, Interim Deputy Director Workplace Experience, Government Property Agency
  • Andrew Martin, Director, Workplace Design & Delivery EMEA & India, Google
  • Tim Oldman, Founder and CEO, Leesman
  • James Watts, Birmingham Office Leader, Arup
P3 24 v4 Much has been written about the future of workspace and the impact of hybrid working, on both the workplace and our cities. This panel will debate the need for collaboration and co creation in tech and creative industries and how that necessitates the need for colocation to succeed. Equally, does that requirement exist in all business sectors as everyone strives to innovate to prevail? The panel will unravel the intricate threads of workplace culture in an age of dispersed colleagues and hybrid working. While every business proudly proclaims its unique culture, the question looms large—can such a culture endure in the face of a fragmented colleague base and how does this affect our cities and industries as a result?  The benefits of the traditional office environment, fostering collaboration, peer-to-peer support, and the organic transfer of knowledge from senior to junior staff, are undeniably vital components in the tapestry of culture and innovation. The creation of attractive workplace is fundamental in talent attraction and retention, and is reliant on a team assessing many factors such as smart technology, ESG, AI and amenity; along with locational factors. Hear from our panel of experts as they discuss the impact of hybrid working, the importance of colocation and what our cities need from us in order to truly thrive.

Plenary 4: AI - Impact on Property and Construction

Friday 24 May | 11:44 - 13:15
  • Chair: Dale Sinclair, Director, Head of Digital Innovation, WSP
  • Zachary Denning, Head of Product Sustainability, JLL Hank
  • Hannah Critchlow, Neuroscientist, University of Cambridge
P4 - 24 Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines or software, as opposed to the intelligence of humans or animals. AI technology is widely used throughout industry, government and science. Some high-profile applications are: advanced web search engines such as Google Search, recommendation systems like YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix, understanding human speech such as Siri and Alexa, self-driving cars such as Teslas, generative or creative tools like ChatGPT, and competing at the highest level in strategy games such as chess. The panel will review and debate current AI trends and their impact on culture, community and our built environment. Join us for this exciting event that will converge the realms of neuroscience, artificial intelligence (AI), and the property industry. Renowned neuroscientist and published author, known for appearances across a plethora of BBC radio and television shows, Dr. Hannah Critchlow, will take centre stage, leveraging her expertise in the human brain to illuminate the intricate connections between cognition and the rapidly evolving landscape of AI. As advancements in AI continue to reshape industries, the property sector stands on the brink of transformative change. Zach Denning of JLL Hank, along with Dale Sinclair of WSP will join Hannah to delve into the potential impact of AI on the property industry, exploring how cognitive technologies could revolutionize operations, decision-making processes, and overall efficiency within the real estate domain. Expect to gain valuable insights, forge meaningful connections, and leave with a deeper understanding of the profound impact that AI is poised to have on the property industry.

TOUR 1 | Paradise

T1 Paradise eve Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 The Paradise masterplan is bringing about a £1.2 billion redevelopment of the civic heart of Birmingham. As well as new squares and public realm, there’s up to ten new commercial buildings creating 10,000 new jobs, 370 new homes, a hotel and 120,000 sq ft of retail space. Paradise developer MEPC and masterplanner Howells will set out the story of Paradise. From masterplan principles to highlighting the considerable site constraints including building over the main arterial road route running through the city, they will reveal how the complex challenges have been overcome to deliver over 635,000 sq ft of space across three buildings. Work has started on the next 189,000 sq ft building due for completion in 2025, and the plans for the third and final phase are well underway. With a roster of award-winning architects and designers on board, the development is already a success for the city, attracting major international employers like PwC, DLA Piper, AtkinsRéalis, Arup, JLL and Goldman Sachs. A short seminar will finish with a walking tour of the estate and visits to the first three buildings.

TOUR 2 | One Centenary Way and Arup

T2 24 V2 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45
A pivotal building within the Paradise redevelopment, One Centenary Way employs an expressive yet rigorously efficient structural solution to solve tricky below-ground constraints, including the A38 Queensway Tunnel. Denied the possibility of a load-bearing core, the new building’s façade steps in to provide structural stability in the form of a Vierendeel exoskeleton. Developed by MEPC, designed by Howells, this 13 storey, 280,000 sq ft building, is home to environmental consultancy Arup, global banking group Goldman Sachs and real estate advisors JLL. This tour will focus on Arup’s fourth largest global office and their journey in pushing the boundaries of the future office, intelligent building design and sustainable fit-out. The office achieves WELL™ Building Platinum Certification; further enhancing Arup’s commitment to its 1000 employees as well as providing additional workspaces to support neurodiversity, wellbeing, and inclusivity. With input from the occupier, workplace designer and developer this tour offers a well-rounded overview of a progressive occupiers journey to delivering a future ready office. A short update on the BCO’s Guide to Fit Out is also included.

TOUR 3 | 103 Colmore

T4 Edmund Sumner Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Just as the 1970s NatWest tower changed the skyline of the City of London, so too has 103 Colmore Row. Replacing John Madin’s 1975 Birmingham NatWest Tower, the 26-storey speculative vertical building is a workspace community, designed like stacked towers. The use of the predominately glazed façade allows the building to reflect the streetscape around it. Located within the historic Colmore Row Conservation area, a structure this tall could have dominated its neighbours, but instead, cleverly using a considered pallet of materials, stepped volumes and a four-storey loggia has allowed it to sit respectfully within its context. There is a dramatic four-storey entrance colonnade, art gallery, members club with roof terrace and street-level café. The double-height 24th-floor restaurant, Orelle, for tenants and city residents alike, offers unparalleled views over Birmingham. It is the city’s first central business district commercial office development to benefit from Birmingham City Council’s Direct  3AGEnergy Scheme, with electricity generated from renewable sources. The 223,632 sq ft, grade-A building is rated BREEAM Excellent, EPC A and has WiredScore Platinum digital connectivity. The tour will be introduced by the buildings developer Stirling Property Ventures and also take in visits to the fitted out tenant floors of Facepunch, Shoosmiths and X&Y.

TOUR 4 | 55 Colmore Row

T5 55 Colmore Row Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Occupying a prime site at Birmingham’s premier business address, 55 Colmore Row comprises 14,600 sq.m. of fully let Grade A office space. The Victorian Grade II listed building has been extensively refurbished twice since it was first built. The most recent refurbishment, completed in 2018, added a further 16% net internal area and converted the 8m high old banking hall into an entrance hall, an architectural feature that lends a distinctive character to the already prestigious building. The property has a BREEAM Excellent rating and received a BCO Refurbished / Recycled Workplace Award from the British Council for Offices in 2018 and was described by the judging panel as a stunning building for modern occupiers. The tour includes visits to the RICS and Savills tenant space, as well as insights from those involved in the refurbishment works.

TOUR 5 | 10 Brindleyplace

T6 24 V2 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Brindleyplace is a 17-hectare canalside mixed use scheme that transformed the Westside area of Birmingham city centre when it was developed in the 1990s and 2000s by Argent. In 2019, building 10 Brindleyplace was slated for comprehensive redevelopment when the previous occupier vacated and the retrofit was the largest construction project at the complex since its construction. Redeveloped by CBRE Investment Management and designed by Associated Architects, the ‘back to frame’ programme combined 10 Brindleyplace with the adjoining 8 Brindleyplace, creating over 19,500sq.m of Cat A offices, with one of the largest available floorplates in the city at 2,500sq.m. The redevelopment places a strong emphasis on occupier wellness and places building users at the heart, with customer experience and wellbeing central to the design approach. It is Birmingham’s first office building to receive Fitwel 2 Star accreditation, a standard that measures occupant health and wellbeing. Occupier amenities feature an on-site café, fitness facilities including a fitness studio and bouldering wall, cycle storage, electric vehicle charging, and two communal roof terraces. Smart building technologies provide real-time energy monitoring, enhance user experience, and enable the building to achieve WiredScore Platinum certification. The tour will also take in the 10X by Spacemade fit out which provides 430 desks across 24 private offices and collaboration areas.

TOUR 6 | HSBC + The Exchange

T7 Exchange Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Fronting Birmingham’s Centenary Square, Arena Central by Kier Property is one of Birmingham’s most prominent new developments. Designed by Make Architects, the masterplan will accommodate five new buildings, two landscaped squares and significant public realm when complete. Make and Kier will provide an overview of the masterplan and delivery. Followed by a tour of the RIBA Award winning University of Birmingham Exchange building, a Grade II former Municipal Bank which has been sensitively adapted into a civic laboratory supporting a public programme of events alongside cafés and galleries, collaborative workspaces, and places for research. The innovative  design celebrates the building’s heritage and continuing public use. Delegates will also visit the neighbouring bespoke new build headquarters of HSBC UK’s retail banking arm, 1 Centenary Square. Designed to support a collaborative working culture and employee wellbeing, the building accommodates various work and amenity spaces, including a meeting suite, auditorium, staff restaurant, café, terraces, employee fitness centre and the first physical HSBC University.

TOUR 7 | Assay Studios

T9 24 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Built in 1877, Birmingham’s Assay Office was one of the four original Assay Offices in the UK providing assaying (testing) and hallmarking of precious metal items. Like molecules, atoms and elements that combine and react in dynamic ways, the reimagined Assay Studios is a vibrant collection of creative spaces, driven by energy and collaboration. A place that brings ambitious people together, nurtures connectivity and develops creativity. This bold repositioning project, completed in 2017 by TCN, transformed one of Birmingham’s Jewellery Industry landmarks into a successful modern 33,000 sq.ft. working environment for a range of Creative and Professional companies, without losing the building’s 240-year history and industrial past. The original building’s formal rooms, safes and vaults are protected under its Grade II listing. Now restored, the spaces create a series of dramatic meeting and collaboration rooms. Workspaces for large and small businesses comprise the office’s former labs, workshops and administration spaces.

TOUR 8 | Cornerblock

T8 24 v2 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Cornerblock is part of Bruntwood SciTech’s portfolio, and offers 110,000 sq ft of Grade A workspace with superb facilities in the commercial heart of the city. Purchased as a site with an outline consent for a much larger new build office, this project demonstrates how a successful heavy retrofit development approach can provide successful Cat A office space that is competitive in the City’s Colmore Business District. Cornerblock offers a variety of office space options, and has an impressive range of amenities from floor to ceiling glazing, through to bike racks, showers, car parking and an on-site gym. It’s also the home of a large, private roof terrace which has Wi-Fi connectivity, seating and great views across the city. A range of breakout areas, private offices, standing desks, meetings rooms and open plan areas all help to foster collaboration and creativity, making office space at Cornerblock both one of productivity and success. After a £14 million redevelopment, in partnership with Howells, Cornerblock was the first building in Birmingham to achieve an ‘A rated’ Energy Performance Certificate. It has also been chosen for a Renaissance Award by the Birmingham Civic Society which celebrates the most successful conservation and refurbishment projects across the city.

TOUR 9 | Enterprise Wharf

T10 24 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Enterprise Wharf is a new development by Bruntwood SciTech, designed in collaboration with Associated Architects. It reached practical completion in September 2023 and raises the bar in every aspect. Smart-enabled, sustainable and set in landscaped canalside, this landmark building is catalysing the redevelopment of the Eastside of Birmingham, in the form of B-IQ, an exciting new innovation district development being led by Bruntwood SciTech alongside Aston University and Birmingham City Council. The £35m development is in a gateway position into the city, and offers almost 120,000 sq ft of EPC A rated, grade A space set across 10 floors, with double height reception, private roof terrace, landscaped grounds and direct access to Digbeth Branch Canal, part of Birmingham’s historic canal network. Embedded smart systems offer an innately tech enabled environment for the workforce of tomorrow, elevating standards of offering across the city, with seamless technology integration and sustainability measures throughout.

TOUR 10 | City Centre Walks: Markets, Manufacturing & Listed Buildings

24 city tour Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Regarded as a prodigy of the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham’s roots run deep. Starting at St Martin’s in the Bull Ring, this walk takes in the origins of Birmingham in the midst of the ‘Dark Ages’ and its emergence into the glare of history with its beginnings as a market town in 1166. Located on the slopes above the floodplain of the River Rea, the town soon drew in metalworkers making all manner of cutting tools. The walk will follow that march of the ‘City of a 1000 Trades’, past the modern Selfridge’s into New Street, new in the thirteenth century, to reach Victoria Square at the heart of the city’s civic and municipal district. Flanked by the Town Hall, designed in the style of the temple of Jupiter Stator in Ancient Rome by Hansom, it’s overlooked by the Venetian Palace-style Council House. This and other listed buildings emphasise Birmingham’s late nineteenth-century reputation as ‘the best governed city in the world’. Emeritus Professor Carl Chinn MBE Ph.D. is a social historian with a national profile. He is well known locally for his humour and infectious enthusiasm for the City and will act as guide and raconteur to delegates interested in getting under the skin of Birmingham as a place.

TOUR 11 | STEAMHouse

T11 24 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Originally built in 1899 as the headquarters of the Eccles Rubber and Cycle Company, in later years the Belmont Works factory accommodated the production of linen clothing, bedsteads and pianos. Following substantial fire damage in 2007, the building lay derelict in Birmingham’s Eastside area for a number of years. Brought back to life in 2022 by Birmingham City University, the reconstructed factory has been extended to house businesses and collaborative activity with the University in STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). The 100,000 sq.ft., five storey building is designed to drive business growth and overcome commercial and societal challenges with STEAM thinking and solutions. Delegates will find out more about this unique facility’s mix of space including; commercial office space, production and workshop facilities, co-working spaces and incubator facilities, as well as the community of building occupants they support.

TOUR 12 | Digbeth Walking Tour

T12 24 v2 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 The Digbeth area of Birmingham is one of Birmingham’s oldest neighbourhoods, known for its diverse built heritage, social and industrial history. A creative and industrious place that is now on the cusp of regeneration. The redevelopment of Digbeth is the latest signal of an exciting process of city-wide regeneration, building on the Commonwealth Games and the arrival of HS2 in a ‘golden period’ for Birmingham, which will see it transformed into the green, healthy, walkable city set out in Birmingham City Council’s bold and ambitious ‘Our Future City Plan: Central Birmingham 2040’ framework document. This guided walking tour, led by Howells, will explore this emerging cultural district, unique historic canal network, waterfront and warehouse buildings. Taking in some of the key development areas including the renowned Custard Factory, The Bond, River Rea Urban Quarter and Smithfield. It will also explore the wider Typhoo Wharf Masterplan which includes the re-imagining of the historic Typhoo Factory which is currently being transformed into a world-class workplace and the new home of BBC Birmingham.

TOUR 13 | Billiards Building - 134 Edmund Street

T14 24 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 Grosvenor’s regional office portfolio comprises 500,000 sq ft of office space in the UK’s core cities, including Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, and Birmingham. Since acquiring 134 Edmund Street in 2021 Grosvenor has transformed the Billiards Building to create 34,000 sq ft of new Cat A and Plug & Play space alongside a new reception and business lounge, café, gym, communal roof terrace and end of journey facilities. Set in Birmingham’s Central Business District the building uniquely integrates two Grade II listed four-storey townhouses via a three storey atrium into a modern 10 storey office environment. As part of the retrofit of the Billiards Building, it will now be electric powered, following the replacement of the buildings’ gas-powered system. This and other interventions have significantly improved its operational energy usage, improving its EPC rating from E to an A rating. It now has the equivalent energy use intensity of a 4.5* NABERS rating. This represents a 67% reduction in energy usage and will reduce the building’s carbon emissions by 52% a year.

TOUR 14 | HMRC - 3 Arena Central

T15 24 Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 3 Arena Central is a 14-storey flexible Grade A office building that formed part of the UK’s Government Hubs Programme. It houses around 3,600 civil servants from a number of government departments, including His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions. Using the Government Property Unit’s (GPU) guidelines the space has been designed to offer a high level of flexibility, and can be adapted to meet changing demands and offer opportunities for the workspaces to be shared with other departments with a view to optimising collaboration across government. The building also hosts a Business Events Centre, a modern conference facility made up of 10 rooms with the capacity to accommodate up to 100 delegates in one session, dependent on layout. Focused around six multifunctional types of space and a range of amenities, a completely fresh approach to the way colleagues spend their day is created. The project is also an exemplar of inclusivity with the Construction Industry Council awarding the HMRC their Inclusive Environments Recognition certification.

SEMINAR 1 | The Future of Offices: The human in the machine, is the future of the workplace?

Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 S1 24
  • Chair: Alex Slatter, Associate, Associated Architects
  • Mike Brooman, CEO, Vanti
  • Rachel Swann, CEO, UMA
  • Karen Warner, Associate Director, Arup
  • Steve Townsend, Director, Associated Architects
User interface design has revolutionised the way people interact with software, enabling physical technology to become sleeker and our lives more effortless. As the workplace has become smarter, has our physical environment evolved at the same pace? And how can Designers be using some of these technologies to help us better design these spaces? Smart workplaces allow buildings to monitor user patterns, optimise energy systems, and maximise digital connectivity, but is this making better environments for people, and more importantly is it what occupants want? This panel discussion will challenge the use of technology in the workplace of the future (with one eye on the metaverse), and whether designers need to think again - could bringing back low-tech environments cultivate a better human engagement with our office?

SEMINAR 2 | Culture shaped workplace, the future of the office

Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 S2 24 v2
  • Chair: Oliver Hall, Make Architects / BCO NextGen London and Southeast Chair
  • Graeme Hart, Director of Consultancy, MCM
  • More tbc
A company’s culture is intrinsic to their values and often a core part of their identity. The physical working environment we create intends to create better spaces, but do they support a positive company culture? As employees are more selective about the type of companies they work for, where they work, and how they engage; a supportive and inclusive company culture can be vital to attracting and retaining talent, but how can the office of the future physically evolve to meet the needs of individuals whilst designing for the whole?

SEMINAR 3 | Social and environmental value in development

Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 S3 24 v3
  • Chair: Guy Battle, CEO Social Value Network
  • Rachel Dickie, Executive Director, Investments
  • Selina Mason, Director of Masterplanning & Strategic Design, Lendlease
  • Deborah Saunt, Founding Director, DSDHA
Investing in communities and understanding the needs of local businesses is key to creating lasting social value and benefits. But how should businesses respond to the issues and needs of the local populus in increasingly difficult times? Whether through access to education or employment opportunities, the importance of social value in development has never been greater and the onus is on to create legacy, impact and lasting social and economic impact with every project undertaken. Through aligning investment with business strategy, numerous benefits with identified opportunities can be realised and this seminar will explore the funder’s viewpoint. It will explore how a developer’s approach to social value and environmental performance affects lenders' appetite and the rates at which they do so. We will also seek to understand an institutional investor’s stance and the impact on direct and indirect property investment; and the lessons that this might afford the forward thinking property companies of tomorrow.

SEMINAR 4 | Life Science

Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 S4 24
  • Chair: Anna Strongman, CEO, Oxford University Development
  • Colin Brown, Development Director, Mission Street
  • Seb Denby, Partner, CreativePlaces
  • Chris Walters, Head of UK Life Science, JLL
In 2021 BCO produced the paper, ‘Who is the Life Science Occupier?’. The key findings of this research was that the following are essential elements in the provision of science space: Understanding the science ecosystem. The science occupier – who they are, how they are structured and how they are funded. The need to be close to key collaborators and having a thriving science ecosystem are key to meeting the functional needs of life sciences organisations. The need to invest in the social/interactive potential between companies and neighbours to create an ecosystem, along with an operational readiness plan with the occupiers at the outset, as this will inform the investment funding metrics and the brief. Back of house operational needs in the space planning, flow and development appraisal in order to inform rental and service charge parameters. Creation space that is adaptable, flexible and agile so that it can meet other potential occupiers’ operational strategy needs. Laboratories tend to be energy intensive and have specific technical requirements that can constrain design options. Sustainability aspirations and the technical requirements should be considered at the outset to ensure alignment between the landlord and occupier. The panel will explore the report’s findings and debate what is anything has changed, along with how the BCO best advance its leading role in life science.

SEMINAR 5 | Birmingham Office Market

Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 s5 24
  • Chair: Scott Rutherford, Partner, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Charles Toogood, Principal & Managing Director, National Offices and Lease Advisory Team
  • Nick Woodward, Executive Director, CBRE, Investment Properties
  • Tim Webb, Senior Development Manager, Kier Property
The office market has been through a seismic shift following the pandemic, but through any crisis the strongest and most adaptable will survive and ultimately thrive. This session will explore; occupier trends, design, market dynamics and financing to see how the city and its decision influencers are planning to succeed through the Cities subsequent property cycles. Join our marketing leading panel for a thought-provoking discussion on how Birmingham’s office sector will drive the City forward over the next decade and beyond, retaining and underlining its second City status.

SEMINAR 6 | Retrofit vs Redevelopment: The New Dilemma in Achieving Net Zero

Thursday 23 May, 14:00 - 15:45 & 16:00 - 17:45 s6 24
  • Chair: Katy Lightbody, Senior Director, Heritage & Townscape, Turley
  • Alex Edwards, Sustainability Director, Bruntwood
  • Anna Hollyman, Senior Sustainability Advisor, UK Green Building Council
  • Steve Toon, Design Director, Akt II
  • Richmal Wigglesworth, Associate Partner, Sheppard Robson
Around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions are linked in some way to the built environment.  It is estimated that 80% of buildings that exist today, will still stand in 2050, therefore to achieve net zero we need to significantly reduce energy consumption and decarbonise existing building stock - commercial and domestic. Given the increasing appreciation of embodied carbon, and that these emissions are making up a growing proportion of the lifecycle emissions of a building, many projects face a retrofit vs new build dilemma.  Alongside this, we are seeing a changing sense of what is valued in our built environment, and buildings are increasingly being recognised for their ‘value’ in the broadest sense of the word. As we saw with the M&S case, there is an increasing tension between these objectives, and for those managing buildings this makes the decision about whether to demolish or refurb buildings particularly complex.  The panel will explore these complexities in detail and bring insights and best practice experience to inform the discussion.

Dav Bansal

Dav has been with Howells since 1999 and became a Partner in 2015. He leads the Birmingham studio and oversees the design of major urban regeneration projects including Birmingham’s Paradise development in the city’s civic heart, along with the Curzon/HS2 and Martineau Galleries masterplans in the east.

He has significant experience in residential and commercial sectors including award-winning schemes such as One St Peter’s Square and 125 Deansgate, Manchester and Two Chamberlain Square, One Centenary Way and Port Loop in Birmingham.

Dav is driven by a passion for developing regional towns and cities to meet their potential and to ensure they play their role in the UK, promoting healthy environments, active movement and quality of place. His integrity of exploring ideas to make places for landscaping and buildings is considered both at macro and micro scales.

He regularly sits on awards panels, including the RIBA National, International Awards and Stirling Prize shortlisting, and as a judge for the Housing Design Awards, AT Test of Time, AJ Awards and BD Architect of the Year. Dav regularly speaks on topics that are important to him and he writes a regular column for Building Design from a regional design perspective.

In his voluntary capacity, Dav is on the Board of Directors for B:Music, Vice-Chair of Open City and a member of the WM Town Centre Task Force.  In a design review expertise role, Dav is a member of Design:Midlands, the Tower Hamlets Quality Review Panel and the HS2 Independent Design Panel.

Guy Battle

Guy Battle is passionate about the contribution that business can make to improve our society. This has been one of the driving motivations behind Social Value Portal, which he set up in 2015 to provide an online solution for measuring, procuring, and managing social value.

Guy is also the creator of the National Social Value Measurement Framework (The National TOMs) that have become the most widely used methodology for measuring and reporting social value in the public sector. Outside of his work with SVP, Guy chairs the ESG committee for the British Council for Offices, focusing on environmental sustainability within office developments, and also chairs Riversimple, a zero-emissions mobility solution that builds and operates a growing fleet of hydrogen-electric vehicles.

Mike Brooman

Mike Brooman is CEO of Vanti, an award-winning creative technology company and Master Systems Integrator that designs and engineers intelligent technological solutions, transforming buildings into spaces that support, enable, and empower people.

Mike has worked across every RIBA stage (concept to in-use) on major design and integration projects for a variety of clients including British Land, Informa plc, Tottenham Hotspur, and Canary Wharf, using cutting-edge technologies and a holistic methodology to help those organisations achieve their business goals. By championing an approach that puts the user at the core of building technology design, Mike focuses on creating extraordinary user experiences within the built environment.

Colin Brown

Colin is one of the UK’s leading commercial science developers with invaluable experience in leading the design, development and leasing of innovation buildings and campuses. Since his first building for the University of Bedfordshire in 2007, Colin has built up a significant track record in development for Research and Innovation buildings.

He joined Mission Street after 10 years at the Howard Group, a leading Cambridge property company, where he specialised in master-planning, design and delivery – this included leading the development of Unity Campus, Cambridge (a new 260k sf Research and Innovation campus).

Stephen Bush

Stephen Bush is a Columnist and Associate Editor at The Financial Times (FT). Before joining the FT, Stephen wrote for the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the New Statesman.

Stephen studied history at Oxford, and was a member of the University Labour Club (where he was a supporter of Andy Burnham’s campaign to lead the party).

Together with print journalism, Stephen makes regular television appearances, including on Newsnight.  In 2015, Stephen was tipped as an outsider to succeed Nick Robinson as BBC Political Editor, a post which finally went to Laura Kuenssberg.

Hannah Critchlow

Dr Hannah Critchlow is an internationally-acclaimed neuroscientist, broadcaster, author and Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. Best known for demystifying the human brain, she has appeared on BBC, ABC and Korean TV and Radio, notably in the Great Minds Series, Tomorrow's World Live and BBC Radio 4's Destiny and the Brain.

Hannah has also experienced great success with her publications: Consciousness: A Ladybird Expert Guide was published with Penguin in 2018, and the following year The Science of Fate (Hodder, 2019) received international press coverage and made the Sunday Times Bestseller List. Her most recent book, Joined-Up Thinking, was published by Hodder in 2022 to critical acclaim.

In 2022 Hannah received an Honorary Doctorate from Brunel University for her work in neuroscience and communication, and in 2019 was named by Nature as one of their 'Rising Stars in Life Sciences'. She was recognised as a 'Top 100 UK Scientist' by the UK Science Council in 2014 and named as one of Cambridge University's most 'inspirational and successful women in science' for her work in science communication.

Seb Denby

Seb is a Partner at Creative Places, which is a specialist R&D real estate consultancy.  Seb combines his understanding of academic, research and R&D occupier needs with commercial property, place making and investment know-how to source and create demand.

Seb primarily focuses on the firm’s agency instructions working with a range of clients to aid laboratory specification discussions in the case of development or repurposing, understand the scientific, research and academic ecosystem that may exist in the locality, through to agreeing commercial terms.

Zachary Denning 

Zach Denning is founder of JLL Hank, the virtual AI engineer for the digital age building HVAC. Reducing energy consumption and costs whilst improving comfort.

Zach qualified in Mechanical Engineering from California Maritime Academy and with a decade of experience in the building controls and integration industry working with the biggest names including Schneider and Controlco & Western.

He will speak about this system and use case studies to show how it has been effective on buildings managed by JLL, including 45 Church Street in Birmingham City Centre.

Rachel Dickie

Our growing portfolio enables us to translate our expertise in making and managing mixed use urban neighbourhoods to stimulate community success and tackle climate change UK-wide.

 Rachel leads the Investment team in Grosvenor Property UK with responsibility for scaling our investment portfolio across the UK through direct investment and partnerships.  She oversees the management of existing projects including Grosvenor’s regional office investments, Liverpool ONE and residential debt strategies.

Rachel joined Grosvenor from Legal & General where she was an Investment Director leading the Urban Regeneration team. Here she was responsible for the sourcing, structuring and investment management of real estate projects and partnerships including Cardiff Central Square, Newcastle Helix, Bruntwood SciTech and a joint venture with Oxford University.

Prior to that, Rachel held various asset and portfolio management positions across the UK and Europe at CBRE Investors and Tishman Speyer respectively.

Alex Edwards

Alex Edwards is ESG Director at Bruntwood SciTech. In his role, Alex leads Bruntwood’s response in driving performance of the business’s existing portfolio while implementing and overseeing decarbonisation and energy reduction strategies as part of the firm’s broader goal to reach net zero by 2050. As ESG Director Alex recognises the importance of broader environmental and social sustainability, supporting Bruntwood SciTech’s purpose of ‘Powering Economies through Innovation in our Cities’.

Alex embodies Bruntwood’s holistic approach to developing and enhancing the way workspaces operate more sustainably. He focuses on creating ultra-efficient, low carbon buildings while also providing end-to-end solutions for customers, such as water and waste management, biodiversity and sustainable transport.

Alongside chairing Manchester’s Climate Change Partnership Commercial Retrofit Task Group, Alex is also a member of the UK Green Building Council's Commercial Retrofit Task Group. Alex’s commitment to a sustainable and fair future is driving change in the commercial property sector, and in Bruntwood’s mission to create connected communities that allow cities to thrive.

Maggie Grogan

Maggie joined Muse in 2020 and having launched the Midlands office in 2022, Maggie secured Muse as regeneration partner for the £3.2bn Arden Cross project – one of the Midlands most important regeneration opportunities.

Maggie has also led a ground-breaking deal between the English Cities Fund – a partnership between Muse, Homes England, and Legal & General – and the City of Wolverhampton Council to regenerate City Centre West, one of Wolverhampton’s most important projects.

In less than three years Maggie has risen through the ranks, blazing a trail for women in property and becoming the first female regional Managing Director at Muse, delivering the company vision to create new places across the Midlands.

Oliver Hall

Oliver is a Partner at Make, joining in 2017 to deliver 80 Charlotte Street, a major mixed-use scheme in Fitzrovia, comprising commercial, residential, and a small public park. Designed as Net Zero Carbon it is the first All-Electric building for developer Derwent London.

In 2019 Oliver established and led Make’s internal sustainability team and associated working group, Make Neutral. The group includes a dedicated sustainability team focusing on materials research, environmental and regenerative design, and has defined Make’s sustainability roadmap including our transition to B Corp.

He remains a practicing architect running projects across multiple sectors; from masterplanning to workplace as well as laboratories and a garden bridge.

Oliver is the BCO NextGen London and Southeast Chair.

Graeme Hart

Graeme is MCM’s Director of Consultancy and an experienced leader with 20+ years in workplace strategy, change management and transformation. Graeme brings deep expertise and skills in cultural and behavioural change, workplace transformation, transition management, communications, and employee engagement.

Graeme’s expertise lies in enabling a company’s vision and strategy by delivering improvements in organisation effectiveness, culture, ways of working and people performance. He is passionate about building workplaces that inspire and bring the best out of employees, clients, and stakeholders. Graeme has worked across the Workplace spectrum from strategy and vision development through cultural assessments, change and transition support, and post implement reviews.

Prior to joining MCM Graeme has held Partner and Practice Director level roles for global firms in Europe and the US.

Anna Hollyman

Anna is a Senior Advisor at UKGBC working across the Advancing Net Zero (ANZ) and Learning & Leadership (L&L) teams. She is currently leading UKGBC’s work on Commercial Retrofit, exploring the challenges and opportunities of closing the gap towards net zero carbon offices, while building an evidence base around the cost, carbon impact, and co-benefits of retrofit.

Anna’s has over 20 years’ experience practising as an architect across the UK, China, and HK, leading the design and delivery of diverse projects from bespoke interiors to city-wide masterplans.  Anna is passionate about place-based approaches that help communities thrive, and reconnecting our natural and urban environments.

Leah Jones

Leah has had an extensive career delivering transformational change in challenging environments. Change portfolios Leah has led have included digital, legislative and workplace transformation.

Leah has been with the Government Property Agency since 2019, joining as the Programme Manager for the cross-government Smarter Working Programme and is now responsible for the Workplace Experience team, a collaborative, empowered and customer-focused team who are making a tangible difference to Civil Service ways of working.

Leah is based in Cardiff and is a trained coach and mentor who is passionate about supporting and enabling others to succeed.

Richard Kauntze 

Richard Kauntze is a graduate in government, politics and modern history, subjects in which he has maintained a keen interest.

Richard started his career as Parliamentary Officer at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), moving on to become Director of Policy, and then Deputy Director-General, at the British Property Federation (BPF). In 1999 he was appointed as Chief Executive of the BCO and has steered the organisation to its position as the leading UK authority on office-related matters.

Alexandra King 

Alex King is lecturer on the BA Interior Architecture and Design course at Birmingham City University. She has a MA in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh, a Part II Graduate Diploma in Architecture from the University of Westminster, and is a Fellow of the HEA.

Alex has worked within architectural practice and interior design across various locations including London, New York and Birmingham. The majority of her time in practice was spent working on heritage and educational projects for international practice Hawkins\Brown, and within the hospitality sector for StudioIlse.

She has worked in academia for the past 7 years and is currently year lead for second year Interior Architecture and Design. Her academic research revolves around theories of service and experiential learning. Working in partnership with Birmingham Youth Services, she is currently running multiple research-led projects with BCU design students and local manufacturers. Her field of enquiry explores how exposure to live clients and disadvantaged community groups can improve student engagement, development and success.

Kris Krokosz

Kris is a designer and strategist with particular expertise in the application of workplace analysis to commercial interior design. As joint managing partner at workplace design consultants, Squaredot, he has grown the business into one of the key consultancies in the Midlands.

My philosophy on work and the workplace is that the work environment can play a key role in helping people feel a greater sense of belonging, purpose and engagement with their organisations. A theatre of innovation, creativity, activity and enjoyed productivity. Just following a fad or fashion is not sensible design, instead it should be based on evidence that is pertinent to that particular businesses interests, aims and aspirations.

He has had the honour to have worked for organisations such as Birmingham City Council, Network Rail in the UK and Kimberly-Clark globally and be rewarded with a host of BCO awards, which is public recognition for top quality design and functionality and provide a benchmark for excellence in workplaces. WOW...without the but why?

Katy Lightbody

Katy is a senior director in the heritage, townscape and landscape team at Turley.  She has over 20 years’ experience as a town planner and heritage specialist and specialises in the provision of strategic and detailed advice on managing change within the historic environment.

Katy is experienced in dealing with the challenges presented by the reuse, adaptation and alteration of existing buildings, development within the setting of heritage assets, heritage led regeneration and the integration of new development, including tall buildings.   She takes a positive approach to problem solving and engagement and provides clear strategy advice to de-risk complex projects.

Andrew Martin

Andrew joined Google's real estate team in May 2014 and is based in London. He leads a team that is responsible for the design and delivery of capital projects across EMEA and India, including the ground up construction project in King’s Cross.

Andrew started his career in the industry as a construction manager before moving into project management consultancy, then corporate real estate. Andrew has been involved with Google since 2011, firstly via CBRE as a project manager before joining Google directly in 2014 as a Project Executive. Andrew has a BSc in Construction Management.

Selina Mason

Selina Mason is an Architect and masterplanner who is responsible for delivering high quality design and masterplanning across Lendlease’s UK and Europe urban regeneration portfolio. Currently she is also Development Director on Smithfield Birmingham.

Selina also has an Honorary Fellowship from RIBA and she is a Design Council Ambassador and was recently appointed by the Government to the Urban Centre Recovery Task Force.

Tim Oldman

Tim is the Founder and CEO of Leesman – the world’s foremost authority on employee workplace experience.

He started his career in 1991 as a designer in the gritty world of transport design but by 2003 had developed a greater interest in the business strategy of workplace.

In 2009 while working as an independent advisor supporting several leading global organizations on the alignment of their workplace strategies, he spotted an opportunity to develop a new and technique that would properly test the ability of an organization’s places to support its employees. 10 years plus later, the Leesman Index is used by industry thought leaders around the world to measure, benchmark and improve the experience of their employees.

In March 2020 Leesman launched new tools that would also evaluate the experience of employees working from home and today sits on the largest employee home working experience benchmark dataset of its kind, positioning Leesman at the epicenter of the future of work debate.

Scott Rutherford, Partner, Cushman & Wakefield

Scott has 30 years’ experience of the provincial office leasing and development market. He advises clients on the acquisition and disposal of offices and sites throughout the wider Midlands region.

Scott relocated to Birmingham to head office leasing and development in April 2006 and joined Cushman & Wakefield in June 2007 and was appointed as Head of Cushman & Wakefield Birmingham in February 2008 into 2015.

Scott is responsible for Office Agency in the Midlands and was appointed Chairman of The Birmingham Market Office Forum in 2020.

Deborah Saunt

Deborah is a Founding Director of the architecture, urban design and spatial research studio DSDHA. Blurring the boundaries between infrastructure, landscape, and architecture, the studio’s work is the result of extensive dialogue with communities, as well as stakeholders and collaborators, to deliver projects that have the broadest impact.

Recent and ongoing projects include the Hickman, an office-led mixed-use retrofit in the Whitechapel High Street Conservation Area which achieved WiredScore’s first SmartScore ‘Platinum’ rating, the refurbishment of the iconic Grade II* listed Smithson Plaza complex in St James’s, an exemplar retail and office building on Piccadilly for The Crown Estate, alongside a number of life sciences and commercial developments across London. Recent urban scale work includes the public realm framework for the West End including the reimagining of Tottenham Court Road, the landscape-led masterplanning of Central Somers Town and Exchange Square – a new park for the City of London above Liverpool Street Station. Deborah set up the Jane Drew Prize in Architecture, is a Founding Director of the London School of Architecture, and continues to be active in the democratisation of the profession.

Dale Sinclair

Described as a pragmatic futurist, I'm driven to transform project delivery through innovative use of digital technologies and offsite manufacturing. By integrating artificial intelligence into interdisciplinary workflows, I aim to revolutionise how we approach design complexity and future challenges including net zero. My global team is actively engaged in delivering cutting-edge projects, collaborating with clients and contractors to harness the advantages of progressive manufacturing methods including kits of parts and platform approaches.

Having qualified as an architect and with over 35 years of experience, I've played a key role in shaping industry standards, including being the lead author of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 publications. Recently, I’ve contributed to the field with the publication of the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 Overview and the Security Overlay and contributed to the 2nd Edition of the DfMA Overlay. I've also authored multiple books emphasising design management and the crucial role of the lead designer in the digital age.

I’m involved in many forums to help stimulate and drive change in the built environment industry. I am chair of the UK Construction Industry Council (CIC) Digital Forum, sit on the digital committee of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), chair the CB/1 committee for the British Standards Institute (BSI), and am an adviser on the Bridge AI steering committee.

Alex Slatter

Alex is an Associate at Associated Architects based in Birmingham, working at the practice for 7 years. Alex has worked across multiple sectors, predominantly on commercial and education projects. She has considerable experience in the refurbishment and conversion of commercial buildings, with extensive involvement in mixed-use commercial, residential and luxury residential developments.

The current Chair of the British Council for Offices (BCO) NextGen Committee for Midlands and East Anglia; Alex has led BCO tours of numerous projects. She acts on behalf of Associated Architects on the RIBA Future Architects Mentoring Scheme and is a previous recipient of the BCO Rising Star Award.

Anna Strongman

Anna Strongman is CEO of Oxford University Development (OUD), a joint venture between Oxford University and Legal & General set up to build Innovation Districts and subsidised accommodation for graduate students and the university workforce.

Anna was previously Managing Partner of Argent LLP in London, where she spent 12 years executing a range of asset, development, and business planning projects. Highlights included leading the Asset Management of King’s Cross, developing Coal Drops Yard, and setting up a BTR portfolio with JV partners Related.  Anna was instrumental in building the business from 40 people to a team of 200 over a ten-year period and led the corporate side of the business as Managing Partner.

Before joining Argent, Anna worked in the planning and economic development team of Arup, worked for DTZ in Scotland, and lived for 18 months in Japan, where she studied Japanese and conducted research at the Japan Productivity Centre as a Daiwa Scholar.

Professor Aleks Subic

Professor Aleks Subic joined Aston University in August 2022 as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive.  Prior to this he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Science, Engineering and Health, and Vice President for Digital Innovation at RMIT in Australia. He also held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) at Swinburne University of Technology.

Professor Subic is a recognised global leader in technology and innovation in higher education, leading on Industry 4.0 strategy and digital transformations across the university sector and with industry and governments both in Australia and internationally. He has received a number of prestigious awards for his work, including the Australian Business Innovation Award and the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame Award.

He is a passionate and lifelong advocate for multiculturalism, equity, diversity and inclusion, leading through clear actions and strategic initiatives at enterprise level. These include creating and appointing the first Dean of STEMM Diversity & Inclusion in Australia, establishing Women in STEMM Fellowships and mentoring scheme, Indigenous Research Fellowships, scholarships and internships programs, and creating an innovation precinct with start-up accelerators and industry incubators focused on founders from diverse backgrounds and access.

The Vice-Chancellor works with the executive and senior leadership teams, staff and students at Aston University to create and deliver an outstanding experience for over 20,000 students, and for thousands of SME’s and corporate employers through mutual business and research interests.

Rachel Swann

Rachel has 30 years of commercial and leadership experience, starting in export sales and marketing of British-based manufactured products, moving into digital and tech.

Always focusing on mutual benefit and a solution-based commercial approach, she has been involved in steel, lingerie, hot air balloon fabric and packaging, joining a tech start-up which grew into the leading FMCG loyalty business, and from there to tech and SaaS focusing on gamification, user engagement, behaviour and data.

In June 2022 she joined UMA in Halifax as CEO, to support the founder, Stephen Milner, to expand the fast-growing proptech SaaS business.  She’s inveterately curious, loves to meet people and introduce her network to each other.

Professor Adam Tickell

Professor Adam Tickell is Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham. Adam took up the post in January 2022 after five years as Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex.

Prior to this he served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer), and then Provost, at Birmingham and has also worked in leadership roles at the University of Bristol and Royal Holloway, University of London.

Adam trained as an economic geographer at the University of Manchester, and, amongst other things, his research explored the political economy and regulation of finance, English regionalism, and the economic ‘common sense’.

Charles Toogood

Charles is a Principal of Avison Young and Managing Director of the National Offices and Lease Advisory Team, with overall responsibility for the operation and strategic direction of the UK service line.

Charles’s principal client focus is city centre transactional work largely in the office market, alongside development consultancy in office led mixed-use development and place making.  He has 25 years’ experience in the transactional, office and education sectors in the Midlands.

Charles’s skills include site acquisition and disposal, marketing, sale, letting, lease restructuring, building refurbishment, acquisition of commercial property, master planning, development strategy and financial modelling, providing advice to occupiers, landowners and landlords.

Some of his key clients include MEPC, Praxis, Federated Hermes, Hines, Birmingham City University, Rathbones, DLA Piper, and Eversheds Sutherland and AXA.  Key disposal projects include Brindleyplace and Paradise in Birmingham.

Steve Toon

As Design Director, Steve offers 20+ years of design experience at AKT II, who as a practice have led the charge of many re-invention projects, including the Angel Building, 100 Liverpool Street and HY-LO.

Steve has broad experience working across London, and the wider UK office sector, and is currently pioneering AKT II’s adaptable and low carbon structural typologies for commercial office and mixed-use projects. As a former BCO regional judge, he has visited 100+ shortlisted and award-winning office developments.

His project experience includes a multitude of commercial buildings at King’s Cross, emerging projects at the Canada Water development, and schemes for Edge which are both on-site and on the drawing board. As well as new build, Steve has notable experience with re-use and re-invention projects, including South Bank Tower where the 30 storey tower was extended by 11 storeys, the recently completed Norton Folgate project in Shoreditch and 334 Oxford Street which is currently undergoing an extensive re-invention.

Steve Townsend

Steve Townsend is an architect and a Director at Associated Architects, where he has focused on delivering environmentally responsible buildings for 15 years. Steve has recently completed Birmingham’s largest commercial retrofit project and is currently working on several low and zero carbon office, residential and education buildings, including one of the Midlands’ first NABERS certified buildings. Steve heads up the Practice’s ‘Green Team’ and is responsible for the development of its in-house carbon analysis tools and workflows, to support responsible design and client decision making.

As the Practice’s commercial workplace sector lead, Steve has led high quality commercial schemes in many of Birmingham’s most prestigious office addresses. Steve has been an active member of the BCO and Urban Land Institute for many years and applies the latest thinking and innovation shared by these bodies to his work. Many projects within his portfolio have been recognised by bodies such as the RIBA, the BCO, Constructing Excellence, and others.

Chris Walters

Chris leads the UK life science group at JLL that focuses on the science, technology and innovation sector. Through experience working with NHS Trust’s, academic and research institutions, local authorities, and a diverse set of private sector clients covering private equity, institutional capital and sovereign wealth, Chris is recognised as an industry leading expert in both the UK and European markets.

Chris’ responsibilities are focused on providing strategic recommendations on a range of development and investment opportunities comprising development consultancy, appraisals and transactional advice. In addition, he works closely with all aspects of the occupier business to find tailored solutions to their needs across the full spectrum of science and technology industry.

Karen Warner

Karen has background in building control systems design and building performance evaluation, she has worked in a variety of project sectors.

She specialises in smart building (IoT) interoperability.  Her focus is on realising value by leveraging data to help owners and occupiers enhance user experience and optimise their buildings’ performance, by providing secure and scalable solutions while avoiding vendor lock-in.

James Watts

James is Arup’s Birmingham Office Leader and a Director in the Midlands Property Team. He leads Arup teams on regeneration projects including Paradise, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Stadium and Shrewsbury Riverside.

He is also the Midlands Growth Director, engaging with clients and collaborators to bring the breadth of Arup’s skills and experience to the local market.

Caroline Wheeler

Caroline Wheeler is the Political Editor of the Sunday Times. In over 17 years of parliamentary reporting, she has broken numerous agenda-setting stories including coronavirus lockdowns, Theresa May’s snap general election (that would ultimately wipe out her parliamentary majority) and exposing Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s secret contingency plan for a hard Brexit. She holds a fascinating insider’s view into government and Whitehall.

Her work in Westminster began as the Parliamentary Correspondent for Local World Media, reporting on political events for a string of regional newspapers. Working in the heart of the action, she interviewed Cabinet Ministers, including the Prime Minister and MPs which helped her build impressive contacts with senior politicians, leading business figures and civil servants. She then went on to work as the Political Editor at the Sunday Express before moving to the Sunday Times and working her way from Deputy to Political Editor.

Her investigative roots began when she covered the NHS contaminated blood scandal for two decades as a reporter on the Sunday Mercury in Birmingham. It was her research that led May to launch a public inquiry into the worst treatment disaster in NHS history. More recently she triggered a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into modern slavery by exposing details of how textile workers in Leicester making clothes for the fast-fashion giant Boohoo were being paid as little as £3.50 an hour.

Caroline is a frequent political commentator for the BBC and Sky and has also appeared as a guest analyst on the BBC Andrew Marr show and Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4.

Tim Webb

Tim has over 25 years-experience in the development sector, managing at senior level large scale and complex regeneration projects across the office, retail & F&B and residential sectors.

 Tim is responsible for running development activities on several large-scale office-led projects in Birmingham as well as new building business opportunities in the wider West Midlands and South West of England.

Richmal Wigglesworth

Richmal is an accredited Conservation Architect with a passion for creative reuse of historic and existing structures. With a deep understanding of historic and mid-century construction methods, she has delivered multiple heritage reuse schemes across the North West and beyond. Her expertise lies in reuse and retrofit, working mainly within the office and retail sectors. Richmal's work within the NOMA area of Manchester has earned several awards, including a national BCO award for Hanover Building for Recycled/Refurbished Workplace.

 Richmal's portfolio includes complex refurbishments of some of Manchester's most loved buildings, showcasing her skill in balancing the preservation of historic elements with the need for modern functionality. Richmal is known for her innovative solutions that respect the past while meeting the needs of the present and future. She is an active member of the RIBA NW steering committee on Heritage and Sustainability and has been a conservation judge for RIBA NW in 2019.

Nick Woodward

Nick is an Executive Director in the Investment Properties division, based in Birmingham, and Head of the Midlands and South investment team.

Nick provides strategic investment and development advice to a range of UK and overseas investors, specialising in disposals and acquisitions across the Midlands region.  Nick covers all sectors, with a particular focus on Birmingham city centre offices.

When: Wednesday 22 May 2024, 18.30 – 20.00

Where: Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND

The Library is the cultural centre of Birmingham and a fitting venue for the conference welcome drinks reception. Meet up with old colleagues and new, whilst enjoying the view of Birmingham from the outdoor roof terrace.


When: Thursday 23 May 2024, 20.00 – Midnight

Where: Luna Springs, Digbeth Arena, Lower Trinity St, Birmingham, B9 4AG

 Luna Springs is Bimingham's largest venue set outdoors. Enjoy an evening of networking, a variety of street food, drinks and a live music.


The BCO’s NextGen community is growing fast. Numbers have increased up more than a quarter over the past year to more than 1,200 members, making the NextGen contingent a third of the total BCO membership. This vibrant community will play an important role in this year’s conference. This year’s offering includes a series of events targeted at NextGen members, as well as several networking opportunities.



10:30 - 12.30: Networking Brunch for NextGen Early Arrivals

We are delighted to welcome anyone who will be arriving ahead of the conference to join us for an informal networking brunch. Hosted at Medicine Bakery at The Mailbox, it will be a fantastic opportunity to meet people and make connections before the conference begins. We encourage all NextGen members to come together, mingle and chat over brunch that will set you up for the rest of the day. More details to follow.

13:00 - 15:00: NextGen Walking Building Talk & Tour

Colmore Row (St Philip's Cathedral)

Ahead of the conference, get to know Birmingham’s civic and business heart with a walking tour of the city’s Colmore Business District. Focussed in and around Colmore Row, nestled in Birmingham’s heart, explore the city’s rich history and architectural legacy. Initially a residential haven for the affluent in the 18th century, Colmore Row transformed into a thriving business district during the Industrial Revolution.

The street’s architecture mirrors Birmingham’s evolution, showcasing a blend of Georgian, Victorian, and modern styles. These structures, each with its unique story, have played a significant role in Birmingham’s history, symbolising the city’s economic and cultural development. Details on meeting points and times will be shared soon.

18.00 - 18:30: NextGen Mentoring

The mentoring programme is a unique opportunity for NextGen members to be paired up with experienced mentors and benefit from their knowledge on how to excel in the office sector. At this drop-in session held at the Birmingham Library before the Drinks Reception, you will be able to link up with your mentor face to face in before the conference starts.

20:00 - 21:30: NextGen Networking Drinks & Food

This informal drinks event gives NextGen members the chance to catch up after the first day of the conference and connect with new contacts ahead of the Post Dinner Drinks, hosted by the NextGen. Meet at the Distillery ahead of the post-dinner drinks.

21:30 - 24:00: Post Dinner Drinks Hosted by the NextGen

All are invited to join the NextGen community for an evening of drinks and discussion. This drinks reception will provide the chance for all BCO members to mingle and meet with colleagues and friends. Held at the same bar as the NextGen Networking Drinks, this will be a great chance to explore the night life on offer in Birmingham.




10:45 - 11:30: NextGen Coffee break

Take some time out from the morning’s proceedings by coming along to the NextGen Breakout area for a coffee. You will also be able to catch up with the NextGen committee and learn more about how to get involved. Hosted in the ICC, refreshments will be provided.


18:30 - 19:30: NextGen Pre-Party meet up 

Before the party kicks off, join us for a drink and a chat at Cosy Club. Another opportunity to make new contacts before walking together to the party at Luna Springs, enjoying some of Digbeth’s best street art along the way.




10:45 - 11:30: NextGen Coffee break

Take some time out from the morning’s proceedings by coming along to the NextGen Breakout area for a coffee. You will also be able to catch up with the NextGen committee and learn more about how to get involved. Hosted in the ICC, refreshments will be provided.


Sunday 19 May - Wednesday 22 May


The Annual Cycle Challenge will take place from Sunday 19 May to Wednesday 22 May 2024, arriving in time for the start of the BCO Conference being held in Birmingham.

Assembling in Newcastle on the Sunday, riders will depart Newcastle on the morning of Monday 20 May. With distant views of the North Pennines, day one of ride will showcase the best the northeast has to offer before heading further south through gently undulating countryside offering distant views to the Yorkshire Dales in the west and North York Moors and Howardian Hills in the east. On the final day riders will skirt the edge of the Peak District before arriving in Birmingham on Wednesday afternoon.

Covering a distance of approximately 270 miles (430km) over 3 days, the ride is varied in terrain and very accessible to a wide-ranging ability of riders.

The ride is fully supported. We ride as a single group or “peloton” of a maximum 60 riders, with the emphasis being on completing the challenge together, whilst networking and socialising with like-minded people from the industry. Nobody gets left behind, and stronger riders will always be on hand to support.

The true spirit of the BCO ride is about inclusivity, helping one another and making new friends and contacts. If you’re looking to race or cycle at a brisk pace, then perhaps this ride is not for you!

On Friday 17 May there will be a bike drop available in advance of the event at Club Peloton’s offices in Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ. Participants of the Cycle Challenge will need to then ensure they are at the start location in Newcastle for Sunday night. We will be arriving at the conference for a planned welcome and arrival drinks on Wednesday 22 May.

Bikes will then be transported back to a Central London by Club Peloton for collection no later than Tuesday 28 May at 18:00. (NB The Monday is the Spring Bank Holiday).  

The Route

Cycling approx. 270 miles over 3 days, from Newcastle to Birmingham. Final Route planning is still ongoing.

Rider Jerseys, bike and luggage labels will be provided when you check in either at the start or during bike drop on Friday 17 May.


On Wednesday 22 May the ride will arrive in Centenary Square, Birmingham, at approximately 16:00 to a welcome reception. Bike storage/racking at the Conference will be arranged, and riders’ luggage will also be stored in the Conference prior to the ride arriving.


The ride is fully supported with a Lead Car, Medical Support, Mechanical Support (but not spare parts), physiotherapist, luggage transfers whilst on the event, Hotel check inand catering/ride snacks available at each stop.


The cost of the Cycle Challenge for 2024 will be £1,299 +VAT and we encourage all riders to raise £500 sponsorship for the conference charity, The Brain Tumour Charity.



Donate here. Donations should be made to The Brain Tumour Charity via the BCO’s Just Giving page.

What’s included

The cycling fee includes the following;

  • Lead Car
  • Medical support
  • Mechanical Support (but not parts)
  • Sports Physiotherapists
  • Luggage transfers each day
  • Hotels (Sun & Mon and Tues night)
  • Meals for the duration of the ride (Sunday evening meal, through until and including Lunch on Wednesday)
  • Refreshments and snacks whilst riding
  • Ride jersey
  • Medal
  • Bike transfer from London to the Newcastle and from Birmingham to London

What’s NOT Included

  • Travel to and from the Start/Finish
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any spares required for your bike (inner tubes etc)
  • Alcoholic refreshments
  • Bike Hire (if required)


The cycling is non-refundable, delegate substitutes will be accepted at any time.




Forest of Arden – Arden Championship Course set in 10,000 acres of woodland

Located in the heart of the Midlands, the Forest of Arden is set in 10,000 acres of Warwickshire parkland and ancient woodland and is recognised as one of the premier golf destinations in the UK with two fantastic 18-hole golf courses offering unparalleled opportunities for golfers of all abilities. Play amongst the Black Fallow wild deer that freely roam on this unique golf course and setting.

The Arden Course, designed by Donald Steele in 1992, has played host to a succession of international tournaments, including the British Masters and the English Open. The par 72 course, measuring 7,213 yards, is a true test of golf designed to make golfers play a wide range of shots. A variety of different tee boxes, water hazards, trees, which neatly line the fairways, and thick rough make the Arden Golf Course long and challenging but still a very enjoyable test of golf for golfers of all abilities. 


  • Full handicap stableford for individual prizes BCO Cup, 2nd & 3rd
  • Team prize, stableford
  • Longest Drive competition for Men and Ladies
  • Nearest the Pin competition
  • Straightest Drive competition


The cost of the Golf Cup for 2024 will be £197.50 +VAT.


07.30: Coaches leave from the Birmingham ICC.

08.00: Arrive Forest of Arden Golf Club – registration and tea, coffee and breakfast rolls.

08.30: Welcome and briefing on tournament format followed by warm up opportunity on driving range/putting green.

09.30: Shotgun start on the Arden Championship Course.

15.00: BBQ lunch on the terrace at The Marquee followed by prize giving.

16.15: Coach return to the Birmingham ICC.

Buggies, electric trolleys and golf hire, if required, can be booked direct with the club.


AECOM is the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, delivering professional services throughout the project lifecycle – from advisory, planning, design and engineering to program and construction management. On projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, new energy, and the environment, our public- and private-sector clients trust us to solve their most complex challenges. Our teams are driven by a common purpose to deliver a better world through our unrivaled technical and digital expertise, a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, and a commitment to environmental, social and governance priorities. AECOM is a Fortune 500 firm and its Professional Services business had revenue of $14.4 billion in fiscal year 2023. See how we are delivering sustainable legacies for generations to come at and @AECOM.

Hoare Lea is an award-winning engineering consultancy with a creative team of engineers, designers and technical specialists. We provide innovative solutions to complex engineering and design challenges for buildings providing a full range of MEP, environmental & sustainability and specialist engineering services.

We have in-depth knowledge through our wealth of experience in the commercial market and understand the changing requirements across the sector. People-centred design is key to unlocking new and better ways of working; we are problem solvers who care how a space makes you feel when you step inside. We overcome every challenge with ingenuity, determination, and pride.



Troup Bywaters + Anders LLP is a high-performing building services engineering Partnership with 280 people in eight offices, delivering projects in the UK and Europe across all sectors. We are a carbon neutral business and frontrunner in the ‘Race to Zero’ taking positive action in everything we do. Our whole life approach provides advice and support with the design, construction, operation and ongoing management of our client’s property and assets focussing on sustainable, smart and healthy spaces. We work with many of the leading financial, legal and corporate clients on a range of projects throughout the UK and Europe.


WSP is a leading multi-disciplinary professional services consulting business, providing engineering and environmental services from strategy and planning through to design and delivery. As a worldwide community of built environment experts, we are driven by a passion to change the world for the better. Through powerful partnerships and multi-disciplinary collaboration, we design places to deliver social, environmental and financial value for clients around our changing world.


WSP takes pride in leading the way we collectively tackle the climate emergency and in October 2020 we announced our commitment to halve the carbon footprint of all designs and advice provided to clients by 2030, a first in the engineering consultancy sector.


Associated Architects: as our name suggests, we know the value of bringing people together, believing the most exciting and meaningful buildings are created through dialogue and collaboration. Working across studios in Birmingham, Leeds and Oxford we are a vibrant architectural practice with a demonstrable track record in workplace and commercial office design.

Involved in workplace design since our inception we have completed over 2.5 million sq. ft of office space for a wide range of developer and occupier clients, both private and public sector, with our sustainable, smart and people orientated workplace designs being recognised with nine British Council for Offices awards.


Cundall is a global, independent, multi-disciplinary consultancy delivering sustainable engineering and design solutions across the built environment. We go beyond global industry standards to design agile workplaces that are sustainable, cost-effective, flexible and people focussed. Our multi-disciplinary team has extensive experience working with developers, owner occupiers and flexible workspace providers. With more focus on hybrid working practices, we balance the pressures of flexible space and sustainability with the health and wellbeing of occupants.


Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 50,000 employees in over 400 offices and approximately 60 countries. In 2021, the firm had revenue of $9.4 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. To learn more, visit the Cushman & Wakefield website or follow @CushWake on Twitter.


Shaping the future of the built environment with an ethical, sustainable and socially conscious mindset. Gleeds is an independent property and construction consultancy, specialising in Cost Management, Project Management, Building Surveying, and Strategic Advisory. With upwards of 2,500 people in more than 75 offices around the world, we have built our reputation by collaborating on meaningful projects with our ambitious and forward thinking clients. We have existed for over 135 years, and our impartial intelligence and drive for innovation is key to delivering real estate and infrastructure projects in budget, on time, and to an exceptional standard.


At the forefront of the construction industry, John F Hunt Limited is a specialist contractor undertaking all aspects of tailored, complex demolition, civil engineering, and structural sequencing. Our highly experienced team satisfies the growing demand for pre-construction advice to de-risk projects from inception, detailed guidance on repurposing existing buildings, and undertaking more substantial packages, ranging from demolition to entire concrete frames and cores. While building robust and transparent client relationships in the commercial office sector, we remain focused on minimising our environmental impact and creating cleaner, sustainable solutions to innovate and transform our industry.


NDY, a Tetra Tech Company, is a global firm of building services engineers. With a legacy stretching back to 1959, our success is built upon our mission of ‘Making Spaces Work’ for our clients. We do this by delivering sustainable, innovative engineering design and consultancy borne out of dedication, exceptional client service and above all else, technical excellence.

We’re Overbury. The UK’s leading fit out and refurbishment specialist. Passionate people, exceptional projects, precisely as promised. We deliver exceptional fit out and refurbishment projects that provide outstanding offices, higher education and life science spaces. Collaboration is key. Our reliable teams are easy to work with and consistently deliver the highest quality. We have six regional teams in London, Bracknell, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. Each has strong roots in their region and a robust supply chain of local businesses to deliver projects ranging from small change-and-churn, one-off projects, to large-scale capital projects values up to £500m.



Established in 1982, Robert Bird group is a global consulting engineering firm with over 600+ staff across eleven offices. A member of the Surbana Jurong Group, we are committed to delivering each client’s vision through the relentless pursuit of engineering excellence across all projects. We offer consulting engineering services across five disciplines, drawing upon our international expertise:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Construction Engineering
  • Virtual Design & Construction

These services are offered either separately or combined to suit each client’s precise needs and for projects of all types and size within most building and infrastructure sectors. We seek to communicate early design thoughts that engage with the client design team and project priorities.



This competition has now closed. 

DUBLIN: Resilience and Inspiration

7 - 9 June, Dublin 2023

What we learned from the BCO Annual Conference 2023

The BCO’s 30th Annual Conference attracted over 800 key players from all parts of the office industry to the thriving city of Dublin. The three-day event included an exciting programme of keynotes, plenaries, seminars and tours. The programme emphasised the importance of harnessing the new role of the office to support resilience and provide inspiring places for people and society to thrive. Here are our key takeaways…

Dublin: a city transformed

“Dublin, with its rich architectural heritage, and its remarkable transformation over the past two decades, serves as the perfect backdrop for our conference this year,” said Despina Katsikakis, Conference Chair and Senior Vice President of the BCO. Davina Saint, Director of the Irish National Assets Management Agency, has witnessed the phenomenal growth in the Irish market first hand, and her opening speech focused on how this transformation has impacted corporates. Saint also commented on the value of the office environment in enabling people, particularly more junior employees, to build the ‘social capital’ needed to progress in their careers.

The value of placemaking

Place has always defined the economic value of real estate, but there is now a real recognition that placemaking is essential for offices, cities and communities to thrive. Three major developers – Kevin Nowlan, Hibernia; Brian Moran, Hines, and Niall Gaffney, IPUT – discussed how they have addressed the challenge of balancing the cost of delivery with the investment in creating an experience and generating social value. “You don’t just need money, you need vision,” said Gaffney. Nowlan added, “As a landlord, you must also be a curator.”

Navigating business and politics

Guiding delegates through the maze of recent political and economic upheaval, two expert commentators: Pippa Crerar, Political Editor of The Guardian and Simon Jack, Business Editor at the BBC. The upside? According to Jack, “The good that business can do has finally been recognised.”

Reworking the workplace

Andy McBain, Natwest; Paul Casey, IBM, and Vernon Blunt, Ericsson, formed a panel of occupiers to explore the purpose of their offices within an ecosystem of wider places to work. They discussed how to balance new priorities: attracting and engaging talent, leveraging new technology and data, and delivering ESG targets. Casey commented, “Flexibility has allowed us to recruit people we wouldn’t otherwise be able to hire.”

A new world emerging

Indy Johar called for a radical redefinition of value for real estate, along with fresh approaches to ownership and regulation. “We need to transform the nature of what we think are assets and how we finance them,” he said. He pointed to New York’s High Line as potentially the best real estate deal ever done. A park, that cost £184m dollars to build, and generated £3.48 billion in land value uplift.

The BCO’s response to current challenges

Reflecting the uncertain times in which we are living and working, this year’s seminars took a slightly difference approach. They provided a forum for more intimate exploration of the future BCO research agenda to address the key challenges of the economy, business, technology and ESG and how they impact all aspects of the office sector. Early thinking on each of these themes will be published this summer.

Silicon Docks and beyond

Delegates also had the opportunity to explore the city’s rich architectural heritage, the regeneration of the historic docklands and the headquarters of innovative global companies such as Meta, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Salesforce. We partied at the Guinness Storehouse, which brings to life the history, heart and soul of one of Ireland’s finest exports.

Investing in young talent

The BCO’s fast growing NextGen community played an important role in this year’s conference. The BCO was thrilled to welcome 140 NextGen members – all under the age of 35 – to the event, where they enjoyed a series of dedicated events and networking opportunities, alongside the core programme.

A focus on mental health and wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing remain front of mind in the world of work, and the wider office sector. Throughout this year’s event, the BCO chose to represent Samaritans. The charity provides free support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Annual Cycle Challenge saw riders cover 280 miles in over 3 days, raising £21,967 for Samaritans. They surpassed the £20,000 fundraising target, thanks to the support of more than 300 individuals.

For more conference highlights, check out the hashtag #BCOconference on the BCO’s Instagram and Twitter feeds. You can view the official photo album here.

Next stop, Birmingham

Next year’s BCO Annual Conference will take place in Birmingham, in Spring 2023. The UK’s second largest city is set for a bold reinvention over the next 20 years. Offices have a pivotal role to play in its growth. Chairing the 2024 Conference will be Peter Crowther, Property Director at Bruntwood SciTech, current Junior Vice President of the BCO.

Tickets will go on sale for BCO members in November 2023 and will be available to the general public in January 2024.

MANCHESTER: Our Time is Now

14 - 16 June, Manchester 2022

What we learned from the BCO Annual Conference 2022 

For the first time since 2019, the BCO’s Annual Conference returned to an in-person event, attracting over 800 key players from all parts of the office industry to the thriving city of Manchester. The three-day event included an exciting programme of keynotes, plenaries, and site tours which informed our discussions. Here are our key takeaways…  

Manchester: one to watch 

With this year’s conference taking place in the vibrant city of Manchester, which has transformed itself into a real cosmopolitan powerhouse, it was important to acknowledge the significance of our host city during the conference’s opening session.  

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council delivered an inspiring keynote speech, expanding on the opportunities that exist in Manchester – be that through science, culture, education, or industry – all affecting the world of offices and relevant infrastructure.   

According to Roney, Manchester has been identified by government as one of three UK innovation acceleration hubs. Delegates heard how 100,000 people are expected to reside in the city’s centre by 2026, with engineering, science and digital jobs expected to be a major driver of that growth. This growth and development will naturally impact the city’s requirements for office space.  

But Roney also acknowledged the challenges that exist for the industry, specifically creating workspaces that respond to the growing needs of occupiers, where the quality of our commutes and surrounding infrastructure become just as important as the quality of our office space, and where high standards of technology and connectivity have become truly essential.  

In Roney’s words: “To create offices that work for collaboration in a thriving city, we have to have to right infrastructure in place - be that through connectivity, digital infrastructure or transport.” 

Future-gazing solutions 

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the office sector because of the breadth of what we have to deliver in the near future,” said Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive of Bruntwood as he addressed hundreds of delegates from the main stage during a session about transforming office occupancy.  

Regardless of their profession, background or expertise, delegates agreed that, following the pandemic, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to readdress the role of the office in our lives. But one focus area remains top of the agenda; how can our buildings encourage innovative and fresh thinking, while introducing greener and more sustainable solutions?  

While the pandemic dramatically changed the way we use our offices, and indeed the requirements occupiers now have for their workspaces, the issues of climate change and sustainability remain a key focus for the industry, leading to increased scrutiny of the office’s environmental impact.  

As we look to the future, the entire sector has an important role to play in providing buildings and working environments that are better for our planet. 

The BCO’s response to recent disruption 

In response to the recent disruption across our industry, the BCO kicked off the conference by releasing a position paper proposing updated key design criteria, as part of its most recognised publication, the BCO Guide to Specification.  

To reflect the BCO’s industry observations so far, these new design criteria for the office sector reflect the acceleration of recent trends, following the pandemic, changes in ways of working and occupancy rates and the ongoing climate crisis and drive to net zero carbon. 

One key element which was discussed, and reflected in the BCO’s recommendations, is office occupancy. With hybrid working, the peak office occupancy in most offices has changed when compared to the most recent BCO occupier density research, carried out in 2018. As a result, the BCO has issued its proposal for a base level occupancy criterion of 10m2 per work setting and a space utilisation of 60% for typical office use. 

The paper was well-received by delegates and external audiences who discussed the BCO’s recommendations throughout the various sessions, including the popular session ‘Debate: Fit for the Future’, hosted by Neil Pennell, Head of Design Innovation and Property Solutions at Landsec.   

These will be included in the next edition of the BCO’s Guide to Specification, expected later this year. 

Investing in young talent  

As we drive innovation and change throughout the office sector, the younger generation of talent will be key to bringing fresh ideas to life for the workplace of the future.  

The BCO is committed to investing in young talent through its NextGen programme and was thrilled to welcome over xx NextGen members – all under the age of 35 – to this year’s event.  

Alongside a dedicated programme of sessions and activities targeted specifically at younger members, this year’s conference offered well-awaited opportunities for face-to-face exchanges and knowledge sharing which left delegates inspired and motivated to drive more change within the sector, across sustainability, technology and wellbeing to name a few.  

Next year, the BCO will host a second event alongside the national conference, specifically for its NextGen members and young industry talent.  

A focus on mental health and wellbeing 

Throughout this year’s event, the BCO chose to represent two key mental health charities, Shout 85258, and CALM.  

With the challenges brought on by the pandemic, including prolonged periods of lockdown and isolation, mental health and wellbeing remain front of mind in the world of work, and the wider office sector.  

As part of this, workplace wellness has become a key focus area as we consider offices of the future. This naturally became a prominent topic throughout the conference, especially as office designers, builders and occupiers explore how our work environment can encourage healthier lifestyles and act as a magnet for the best and brightest talent. 

COPENHAGEN: Arbejdsglæde

5 - 7 June, Copenhagen 2019

What we learned from the BCO Annual Conference 2019

This year, the BCO Annual Conference was hosted in a very sunny Copenhagen. Conference Chair Paul Patenall, founding member and director of U+I, invited BCO members to join him in the happiest city in the world to explore the theme of Arbejdsglæde – the Danish concept of ‘Work Life Balance’. 

1. Less is sometimes more: Day One reminded us that less is sometimes more when it comes to office design. The world of work is far from what it was 30 years ago, where tall rise buildings were filled with rows of grey desks and basic canteens. Offices today aim to amaze and inspire but Paul’s introduction to the concept of ‘Work Life Balance’ highlighted that the UK market should be careful not to lose the high-quality execution of the ‘basics’ that have earned it a world-class status. Set in Copenhagen, home of the open floorplan and the atrium, we were reminded of the value in creating workspaces with ample space and plentiful access to natural light.

2. Collaboration is key: Managing Director of By & Havn, Anne Skovbro, opened our eyes to the transformative powers of collaboration between local and national government. She reminded us that Copenhagen in the 1990s was a city struggling to keep up with a post-industrial world. The City has since managed to recondition the harbour from a polluted site to one where locals can swim and relax - something delegates saw in action thanks to the city’s heat wave. Who knows, perhaps some delegates donned their own trunks and dived in?

3. Waste not, want not: We were inspired by Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG. The 44-year-old ‘wunderkid’ told delegates how BIG’s work with the likes of Google and LEGO put the focus on offering solutions to the challenges of climate change. Google’s San Francisco campus, for example, wastes not even ‘a photon of light’ by converting daylight into energy.

4. A place for community:
 Ingels’ spoke powerfully about creating a place for community within private spaces. For example, BIG’s Copenhagen Power Plant development features an all-weather ski slope on its roof, allowing workers to step away from their desk, come together and slalom away their stress. Denmark’s architecture policy quite literally ‘puts people first’ and Bjarke’s plenary, alongside the City tours available to delegates, demonstrated time and time again how commercial office space can be shared with the public for communal benefit.

5. Forgive, don’t forget: A journey through time with futurist Thimon de Jong taught delegates the value of workplace ‘alumni’ at a point of ‘trust crisis.’ It’s more important than ever, he warned, for businesses to get personal and build real relationships with people. At a point when the average European worker spends less than five years with one company, de Jong suggested treating those who leave as ‘alumni’ not ‘traitors’ and even letting them work from their old desk.

6. “We reached peak slide three years ago”: In an incredible closing panel between Carissa Kilgour (Founder, Co.Lab Workplace Advisory), André Spicer (Professor, Cass Business School), Alexander Kjerulf (Founder and Chief Happiness Officer, Woohoo) and Michelle Marwood (Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Services for EMEA & India, Blackstone), delegates were reminded that happiness at work doesn’t come from gimmicks. Bean bags, slides and ping pong tables might look fun, but don’t generate genuine joy.

7. Purpose, focus, progress: Throughout the conference, it was clear there is no one silver bullet to delivering joy at work. However, Spicer felt it came from people finding purpose in their work, being allowed to focus on it and then seeing it progress. Spicer also said workers should have access to shared and private spaces so different working styles and needs can be catered for. Arbejdsglæde it seems, depends on the individual.

8. Brace yourself for a new world order – beyond the workplace: 
No account of the BCO Annual Conference 2019 would be complete without a spotlight on the Hague vs Verhofstadt Brexit debate. Barely a seat was left empty as the former Belgium Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, and the former leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague ran delegates through our new political realities. While Verhofstadt lamented the use of the referendum as ‘a bullet in a weapon between the parties,’ Hague warned against the ‘imminent collapse’ facing Britain as politics moves steadily towards smaller, more focused parties. The lesson? Prepare for anything. 


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