Demand For a Sustainable London Office Refurbishment Surges Following Property Boom

As a London office refurbishment company, we’ve seen work life trends fly in and out of fashion and the most significant has undoubtedly been the upsurge in working-from-home, spurred on by the pandemic. 

While many of us believed that working-from-home was here for good, it seems the tide is changing once again – and in a relatively short space of time. A recent commercial property boom in central London has highlighted an upsurge in demand for sustainable and social workplaces. This comes as companies strive to entice their workforce back to the office, and attract new talent.

Working From Home Fails to Deter London Commercial Property Market

The property market tells us many things about the way companies operate, which allows us to predict trends for London office refurbishments.

For example, in 2020 and 2021 we witnessed big corporations downsize their London office space to reduce their overheads and make way for a new way of working. As an office fit out company, we saw an increase in meeting room requirements, hot desking, and social work areas to plug and play. 

This was at a time when hybrid-working and working-from-home arrangements appeared to be the future. While it remains a popular arrangement for employees and employers, the trend to get back into the London office is firmly afoot. 

As we enter a New Year, the London commercial property market suggests a new trend; more businesses are looking for quality offices that are centrally located to attract a richer talent pool and client base. Sustainability is high on the agenda too, as businesses strive to improve their ESG targets.

The London Office Property Market is Booming

It appears that the commercial property market made significant head-way in 2022 following the pandemic.

According to an article in City AM, BNP Paribas Real Estate saw the London commercial property market rise by 63% in central London during the first nine months of 2022, compared to 2021. That’s the sharpest incline for any European city. 

In the article, Ben Thomson, head of tenant representation at BNP Paribas Real estate, said, “Despite the hybrid working revolution, and some occupier consolidation, overall demand for office space has been incredibly robust this year.

“Occupiers are clear in what they want in a post Covid-19 world: amenity rich spaces to retain and attract talent and clients, sustainable buildings which support their ESG ambitions, and prime locations close to transport hubs.”

Likewise, property consultants Knight Frank, also saw a rise in office space uptake: 24% in 2022 compared to 2021. Although this is a vast improvement, the letting figures per square footage have not yet met the pre-pandemic figures – indicating a continuation of hybrid working and a lower headcount of constant office workers.

Reasons Behind the Boom

The determining factors in this commercial property boom include demand for:

  • Better quality buildings
  • Sustainability credentials 
  • Energy efficient space (demand up 27%)
  • Wellbeing amenities 
  • Close to public transport
  • Leases expiring

We also suspect that the increase in the cost of living – particularly the energy costs for heating your home – will see a return to the office benefit the workforce as a whole.

Addressing the Sustainability Factor

One of the most prevalent reasons for the boom in the London commercial property market is the sustainability factor. 

The government’s zero emissions targets for 2050 and the soaring energy prices are causing companies to review their eco-credentials. So, as the lease on an office premises ends, companies are exploring their options for occupying an environmentally friendly workspace.

Underpinning the demand for sustainable serviced office buildings is TOG’s new Black and White Building, which has been branded, ‘the most sustainable office in London’. It is expected to have 40% occupancy on day one of opening and be filled soon after.

We wanted to share details of this development, as it shows the lengths landlords, architects and developers are taking to build sustainable commercial property in London. 

The Shoreditch development is the tallest mass-timber office building in central London, designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects for workspace specialists, TOG. The building replaces an outdated property that did not meet changing demands, even with a refurbishment. The decision to take the old building down was not taken lightly, as the project had to be sustainable. 

The architect designed the new building with an entirely timber frame, with concrete used only for the foundations. The glazed-clad façade provides an endless flow of natural light and timber lourves protect the windows from solar radiation, thus preventing the need for solar coatings. I also means the windows can be demounted and recycled without further processing when replaced. The TOG property is expected to receive the highest BREEAM rating once it has been completed.

Why a Surge in Sustainable London Office Refurbishments?

Properties like the TOG building are bound to be an instant hit with companies that want to operate from a sustainable office space. However, many companies are realising that to improve your sustainability credentials, you don’t have to occupy a state-of-the-art sustainable development. In fact, refurbishing an existing property is often the most sustainable solution – especially if you consider it a form of upcycling. 

As a direct result of the central London commercial property boom, we have seen our own surge in demand for London office refurbishments. Our experience tells us that companies are opting for a central London location and require quality design and build.

Meeting all Your Environmental and Social Needs with a London Office Refurbishment

A London office refurbishment can tick all the environmental and social boxes for a modern workspace. By implementing new technology with sustainable office design, it is possible to create a fresh interior without making a huge impact on the environment. 

At JBH Refurbishments, we are committed to delivering our Sustainable Action Plan. We aim to approach new projects differently by looking at carbon savings, reducing waste materials and improving the building’s energy performance. 

Some of our methods for delivering a sustainable London office refurbishment are listed below.

HVAC Upgrade

Upgrading or replacing your HVAC system can instantly improve the energy performance of your building. From updating your air conditioning units to installing alternative energy sources, such as air source heat pumps or solar panels, can vastly improve the eco-credentials of your London office refurbishment.

Biophilic Design

Biophilic design can improve health and wellbeing. This design concept connects natural planting with urban environments. It offers a source of natural ventilation and is known to improve physical and psychological wellbeing in the workplace.

Smart Building Technology

Smart building technology detects when a space is unoccupied, and automatically adapts the necessary heating, cooling, and lighting accordingly. Therefore, reducing any unnecessary energy consumption.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting technology is an efficient means of using rainfall for wastewater in washrooms, preventing unnecessary water processing.

Eco-Furnishings 

Creating a stylish and sustainable office space is top of the agenda, and believe it or not, it’s easier than you may think. There’s a vast range of office furniture manufacturers that create stylish pieces using responsibly sourced and recycled materials. They are not always EPD rated, due to a back log in the system, but the market is abundant with sustainable office furniture. Bamboo is a particular favourite material of ours, as it is tough and grows quickly, thus reducing deforestation – it looks great too!

Reconsider, Reconfigure, Reuse, Repair, and Recycle 

When refurbishing a space, initially we all want to strip out the old and fit the new, but that’s not always necessary. By reanalysing the existing layout and fixtures, it is possible to reduce waste and still deliver a fresh new office space. 

Take for example, wooden panelling, reception desks, shelving, and office partitions. There are ways to give these fixtures a new lease of life using paints and vinyl. We can upcycle upholstered items and recycle carpet tiles directly with the original manufacturer. 

While designing the workspace, we must also consider the overall lifecycle. At some point in the future, your office will undergo further refurbishment works. Whether that’s because your company moves, or you update the interior yourselves. The fact of the matter is, we must consider whether the fitting and fixtures we install now can be reused, recycled or repaired in the future. This circular approach is intended to prevent unnecessary waste in the future.

By reconsidering the way your office is refurbished we can achieve a fresh workplace using a fresh approach.

Discover Your Sustainable London Office Refurbishment

If you are making moves, contact us at JBH Refurbishments. We can provide dilapidation works on your outgoing property, plus design and office refurbishment services for your new property. With our support, your move will go smoothly and efficiently.


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