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Work productivity and wellbeing

EMPLOYERS traditionally did not place much emphasis on the probability that buildings affect the health, wellbeing and productivity of their workers.

It is something that architects have been saying for decades, but their pleas have usually fallen on deaf ears.

There are signs however that even the most hard-bitten employers are starting to wake up to the fact that someone’s place of work needn’t be an austere replica of a factory from a dystopian novel.

If for no other reason than they will get an enhanced performance (i.e. more work) from their employee– well it’s a start.

Good employees are unquestionably happy employees.

And good indoor air quality, thermal comfort, high quality views, daylight, good acoustics and location and amenities – all play a crucial role in creating a healthy, productive workplace.

On air quality, a meta-analysis in 2006 of 24 studies found that poor air quality lowered performance by up to 10% on measures such as typing speed and units output. Short term sick leave has also been found to be 35% lower in offices ventilated with greater supply rates of outdoor air.

Neuroscientists have also suggested that workers with offices that have windows receive 173% more white light (daylight) exposure during work hours and sleep an average of 46 minutes more per night.

Given these and other factors employers are starting to behave with greater environmental responsibility. If we accept Gordon Gekko’s infamous ‘Greed is Good’ maxim from the film Wall Street as being indicative of the 1980s. Perhaps ‘Green is Good’ resonates acutely with businesses today.

Wall Street director Oliver Stone created Gekko and his cohorts in the shadow of one of the world’s most famous buildings, The Empire State Building in New York. Now it has undergone a $550million renovation,

the building’s environmental upgrade is the largest of its kind to take place in the US and helped cut its annual energy use by $4.4m. In the next 15 years the changes are expected to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 105,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road.

And the feelgood factor for workers and visitors keeps growing.

In the UK One Angel Square is the home of The Co-Operative Group’s headquarters in Manchester. The distinctive 15-storey building, which boasts a double skin façade, has its own source of heat and power generation courtesy of a CHP (combined heat and power) plant located within the building. It also has an intelligent heat recovery system that takes heat generated by the IT systems and reuses it to heat the building.

Alongside more complex systems, the building also implements more familiar technologies including low energy LED lights and IT systems, greywater and rainwater recycling systems for toilet flushing and irrigation as well as high efficiency passenger lifts. The building is designed to save 40-60% of the current energy cost incurred by a standard head office building and it achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating under the BREEAM environmental rating scheme.

And in the public sector, during last summer work to improve the main façade of Bristol’s Royal Infirmary (BRI) – once voted the ugliest in Bristol – was completed, transformed by the addition of an elegant aluminium and glass skin. The redesign which formed part of a £92 million redevelopment of the hospital, also included works to create a new Ward block, Welcome Centre and Helideck.

Back to New York where a company named Delos promotes ‘building wellness‘ and it published a revolutionary manual on office design that improves human health, encouraging the use of specially filtered air and water when designing buildings as well as lighting that is tuned to the body’s circadian rhythms. The company’s ‘The Well Building Standard (WELL)’ is styled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard which has been awarded to buildings that are as green, sustainable and supportive of its users as it is possible to be.

The company’s set of rules guide the construction of buildings that aim to make people happier, healthier, and more productive. The plan banishes bad lighting, stale air and lifts that promote inactivity from office design and set out to make buildings that ensure workers remain healthy just by being inside them.

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Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business.  They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far.  Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school.  We are delighted with the results.  You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

We will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

Mark Healy - One Facility


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