Sunday, February 23, 2014

World’s Tallest Buildings of the near future – By 2020! – In Pictures



It is staggering to think that by 2020 only one of the current top ten buildings in the World will still remain in the top ten!

I published an article in February 2013 which illustrated in pictures the top ten tallest buildings in the World at that moment in time.  You can view the article from the following link: 10 Tallest Buildings in the World - In Pictures’.  It is staggering to think that by 2020 only one of the ten buildings highlighted within that article will still remain in the top ten!

I thought that it would be interesting to show you (in pictures) how the 10 tallest buildings in the World will look in 2020 as detailed on the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), database. When you look at these images consider the fact that 2020 is only six years from now and demonstrates our human desire to stretch the boundaries of engineering and construction to a point where we can make what may appear to be impossible, into a reality.

The top 10 highest buildings in the World in 2020

Number 1

Kingdom Tower  - Jeddah - Saudi Arabia  - 1000 Metres  - 3281 Feet - 167 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2019 

Source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/
Number 2

Sky City  - Changsha - China - 838 Metres  - 2749 Feet - 202 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2014



Number 3

Burj  Khalifa  - Dubai - UAE  - 828 Metres  - 2717 Feet 163 Floors - Completed 2010 


Source: Google Images
Number 4

Suzhou Zhongnan Center  - Suzhou - China - 700 Metres  - 2297 Feet - 138 Floors - Estimated Completion - TBC

Source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/
Number 5

Ping An Finance Center  - Shenzhen - China - 660 Metres  - 2167 Feet - 115 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2016

Source: http://www.skyscrapercenter.com/
Number 6

Burj 2020  - Dubai - UAE - 660 Metres - 2167 Feet - 115 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2020

No image currently available
'Construction of the world’s tallest commercial tower, Burj 2020, will begin in Dubai in 2015, the executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority revealed.
Ahmed Sultan Bin Sulayem said that the project had been put out to tender, with the architect to be announced this year. 
“Construction will start in 2015,” said Bin Sulayem, who was speaking at the Destination Dubai 2020 conference held at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.He said that the building — which was first announced in July 2013 and named Burj 2020 after Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid was announced on 27 November — would be the world’s tallest single-use tower'                                   Source: http://arabianindustry.com/ 
Number 7

Signature Tower Jakarta  - Jakarta - Indonesia - 638 Metres - 2093 Feet - 113 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2020


Source: http://skyscrapercenter.com/
Number 8

Wuhan Greenland Center  - Wuhan - China - 636 Metres - 2087 Feet - 125 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2017

Source: http://inhabitat.com/
Number 9

Shanghai Tower - Shanghai - China - 632 Metres - 2073 Feet - 128 Floors - Estimated Completion - 2015


Source: http://skyscrapercenter.com/
Number 10

Lanco Hills Signature Tower - Hyderabad - India - 604 Metres - 1982 Feet - 112 Floors - Estimated Completion - TBC


Source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/
Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and colleagues who you think would be interested

Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Party Wall etc. Act 1996 – Service after work has commenced can prove to be futile!



Unless there is damage caused to or on an Adjoining Owners land, when works are nearing completion, there is little benefit in appointing and paying for surveyors and issuing party wall notification at this point.  This is because the works ‘have already taken place’, (or mostly), so the remaining provisions that can be included in a Party Wall Award, at this late stage, will be extremely limited

Source: http://www.martinsurveying.co.uk/
The requirements of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 often come as a surprise for those who propose to undertake works to domestic buildings as well as those who propose works to commercial buildings in England and Wales.  Given that the provisions of the Party Wall Act have now been in existence for the best part of 18 years it is equally surprising that there still seems to be a general lack of awareness of the requirements of the Act, something that I considered in last week's article (link)The amount of Building Owners (a term used under the Act to describe the party who is undertaking the work), who choose to ignore the Act, whether through ignorance (which is no defence in law!) or a genuine desire to cut corners to save on time and expense, never ceases to amaze me. If the main purpose of the Act is to prevent and resolve disputes it seems a contradiction in terms that many of my appointments under the Party Wall etc. Act, were usually made when a dispute had already occurred! (at this stage the dispute was a dispute in general terms and not a Party Wall dispute).

For the purposes of this article I will refer to the domestic client, someone who in most cases (but not all), will have very little construction knowledge and will rely on others to point them in the right direction.  For many in this situation the first port of call may be to contact a Contractor to come a long to give them some initial advice as well as an indication of likely costs, a ball park figure if you like. I can remember a number of situations where I had been appointed by a Building Owner as Party Wall Surveyor after works had commenced, where for whatever reason they had been made aware that they should have notified their Adjoining Owners (a term used under the Act to describe the party who is affected the work), but had not been advised of this by their Contractor.

Source: http://www.mnasurveyors.co.uk/
The impact of the dealing with the Party Wall Act retrospectively (after work has already commenced) can vary for the Building Owner depending on whether any damage has occurred on the Adjoining Owners land (which is one of the main reasons that brings the Party Wall Act to the attention of the Building Owner), and how advanced the works are.  In the first case of damage occurring before party wall notification has been served, an Adjoining Owner will need to rely on common law rights and may seek an injunction in the County Courts to have the works stopped. The Adjoining Owner will not be able to rely on the provisions of the Party Wall Act at this point because the Act has not been initiated, which only happens when notification is served.

In the situation where works are well advanced and sometimes nearing completion, it is worth thinking about the benefits of issuing party wall notification as well as the production of a Party Wall Award (sets out the terms and conditions for the proposed works, including costs/fees).  One of the key reasons for the introduction of the Party Wall Act was to enable Building Owners to undertake work and give Adjoining Owners confidence that the works would be carried out in an appropriate manner and any damages caused on the Adjoining Owners land, in respect of the notifiable work would be rectified. Unless there is damage caused on an Adjoining Owners land, when works are nearing completion, there is little benefit in appointing and paying for surveyors and issuing party wall notification at this point.  This is because the works ‘have already taken place’, (or mostly), so the remaining provisions that can be included in a Party Wall Award, at this late stage, will be extremely limited.  An Adjoining Owner should not be given the impression that they can solely use the provisions of the Act as a way of disrupting the Building Owner and making them incur excessive expense (the Act also provides for the Building Owner to meet the reasonable fees of an Adjoining Owners Surveyor, if appointed), unless of course damage has occurred as a result of any works that may be notifiable.

If it is realised that a Building Owner has failed to serve Party Wall notification and works have been completed and an Adjoining Owner is not satisfied with the standard or quality of the works then they can scrutinise Building Regulations and Planning Permission requirements (if applicable) to confirm that these have been complied with and also consider areas of common law such as negligence, nuisance and trespass etc, if they have suffered damage or disruption. I have previously been approached by a number of people in this very situation where they have been told to insist that their neighbour issues Party Wall notification, after work had already commenced.  For the reasons explained above, this is a pointless exercise and very poor advice. Once works are complete an Adjoining Owner should seek a common law remedy if they feel they have a justified grievance with their neighbour. They cannot rely on the provisions of an Act that has not been initiated in the first place!  

It is worth noting that for the purposes of this article I have used the terms Building Owner and Adjoining Owner throughout.  Whereas these roles only exist once the Party Wall Act is initiated through the service of notices, these terms have been used to explain the relationship between those who may have work undertaken and those who may be affected by these works.

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and colleagues who you think would be interested


Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Party Wall etc. Act 1996 – Much more than just Party Walls!



It is easy to see how the Party Wall etc. Act can be mis-interpreted, particularly by members of the public, just by the nature of it's title.  For those who work in the property professions and interact with the Act on a regular basis there will be generally less confusion, however in my experience this is not always the case! 

Source: http://www.cwcpartywalls.co.uk/
Although there is a lot of information available about the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act), and its implications, it appears that there is equally as much misunderstanding or even ignorance about the Act, particularly from members of the public in relation to if and when the Act may apply.  This article is therefore primarily aimed at those with little to no knowledge of the Act, however others may also find it of interest. 

Awareness of statutory approvals such as Planning Permission and Building Regulations approval seems to be improving, however, the existence let alone the requirements of the Act, often comes as a complete surprise to many. If you are proposing certain types of work on your land or too your property then you may be required to ‘notify’ your neighbour under the Act.  It is worth pointing out at this point that the requirements and procedures within the Act are completely separate to other statutory permissions such as Building Regulations and Planning Permission.  On a number of occasions I have been informed by householders that they were either not made aware of the requirements of the Act by their advisors or that they thought that they had obtained all of the relevant permissions because they had Planning and Building Regulations Approvals, which is completely incorrect.

If you are proposing any work to your land or property it is worth undertaking a little research to establish if the work falls under the scope of the Act and therefore will require notification to your neighbour/s (something referred to as Adjoining Owner/s under the Act).  As you would expect, I would always advise you to seek professional advice to confirm whether notification under the Act is required and if so help to guide you through the process, however, nowadays, with the raft of information available on-line, there is no reason why you shouldn't undertake your own research to give you a better understanding of the Act.  The Department for Communities and Local Government have produced an excellent explanatory booklet, which explains the Act in a clear understandable manner and provides a really good starting point, particularly for those with little or no knowledge of the Act.  You will find a copy of the booklet by clicking on this (link).

You may be surprised by the range of different types of work that are notifiable under the Act, which you will see are not just restricted to a party wall itself. The Department for Communities and Local Government booklet defines a party wall as, ‘a wall is a "party wall" if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owner’. The booklet then provides some illustrations to demonstrate this point.  It is interesting to note that the definition of a party wall is not just restricted to a wall inside a building, but can also relate to external walls also, such as boundary walls.  The Act uses the term ‘Party Fence Walls’ to describe walls that are not part of an actual building itself, however may still require notification under the Act for works to, or in close proximity to them. 

Source: http://www.mypropertyguide.co.uk/
The term ‘etc’ in the title of the Act is also significant. Three innocent little letters (etc.), however the implications of the term denote that the scope of the Act is much wider than just party walls.  In fact some works that require excavations near neighbouring buildings may also require notification under the Act. Section 6 of the Act requires notification of excavations within 3 metres (refer to diagram above) or within 6 metres of a neighbour's building or structure based upon the following criteria: 

‘excavate, or excavate and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where that work will go deeper than the neighbour’s foundations;

or excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where that work will cut a line drawn downwards at 45° from the bottom of the neighbour’s foundations’

The six metre ‘rule’ is a little more complicated to understand (see the diagram below) than the three metre ‘rule’ and usually relates to deeper excavations such as piled foundations and the like.  It is also worth noting that the six metre rule can affect more than one adjoining owner, depending upon the depth of excavation and the proximity of adjacent buildings and structures.  In order to establish how many adjoining owners may be affected in any instance by the six metre ‘rule’ it will be necessary to take measurements and produce a section drawing which will detail the depth of the proposed excavation and the location and proximity of adjacent structures and buildings.  Professional expertise is highly likely to be needed to take measurements and further investigations such as trial holes to establish existing foundation depths, to be able to produce a section drawings. This will help to establish if and how many adjoining owners will be affected.

Source: http://www.mypropertyguide.co.uk/
Another term used within the Act is ‘Party Structure’.  This again suggests that the Act does not relate exclusively to party walls.  In fact there are a number of notices that may be issued under the Act, one of which is a Party Structure Notice.  The reason the notice is not entitled a Party Wall Notice, is that this would be misleading and not account for any works other those to Party Walls.  Party structures are generally party walls however can also be defined as dividing structures such as floors and other partitions, however it is very rare that these structures are subject to party wall notification.

In summary it is easy to see how the Act can be misinterpreted, particularly by members of the public, just by the nature of it's title.  For those who work in the property professions and interact with the Act on a regular basis there will be generally less confusion, however in my experience this is not always the case!  As notification under the Act may be required for a whole range of different types of work, as defined in section 1, 2 & 6 of the Act, all construction professionals, regardless of discipline should have a good understanding of the Act including it’s procedures.

In next week’s article I discuss retrospective party wall notification and in future articles I will consider different types of notifiable works in more detail, as well as tackle the thorny issue of fees under the Act. 

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and colleagues who you think would be interested

Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Planning for Offices - Space Rationalisation



Guest article from Joe Malone BSc(Hons) ICIOB 

Understanding the existing core data for the building you inhabit may well highlight that it is not fit for purpose or space inefficient; critical information if you are reviewing plans for future accommodation that may well fuel your appetite for a move

Source: http://www.sven.co.uk/
Many organisations, particularly Government organisations are currently reviewing their office space requirements with a view to rationalising and making efficiency savings but how should you approach this exercise? Many organisations see this as a simple exercise in reviewing their ways of working and you will commonly hear of organisations looking to reduce their desk to staff ratio but organisations looking to build or rent new office space have a unique opportunity to fully consider how their buildings can contribute to space efficiency and the starting point to this is first ensuring that your organisation has a robust space standard. It consistently surprises me that so few organisations have a space standard in place.

The Space Standard

Essentially the space standard will contain ideal core data drawn from best practice guidance produced by The British Council for Offices and the Office of Government and Commerce.

The National Audit Office recently published this report which again placed emphasis on government organisations to start the space rationalisation process (Link)

The simple table below shows ideal data drawn from best practice guidance and provides a template for space planning. If you were planning to inhabit existing rather than new office space then the Net Internal Area (NIA) of 10m² should be increased to 12m² and the table should review actual core data for the building you inhabit. In fact understanding the existing core data for the building you inhabit may well highlight that it is not fit for purpose or space inefficient; critical information if you are reviewing plans for future accommodation that may well fuel your appetite for a move. 

Aside from best practice guidance there are some subjective issues based on the organisations culture and aspirations for team working. Is there an aspiration to remove the perceived management hierarchy by having managers share the same open plan floor space as staff?  Undoubtedly, open plan office space is more efficient and encourages collaborative team working but are there issues of business privacy that would prohibit this working arrangement? Privacy is often the given argument for individual staff retaining their own office space but it is seldom justified when shared but limited cellular space can be booked by all staff members at suitable times. 


Office Ideal Core Data (New Space)

Headcount
190
Minimum legal requirement for office space provision per staff member
11m³
Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and British Council for Offices (BCO) standard for NIA per person (Average public sector = 24m² per person)
10m²
Business aspiration for efficiency savings
30%
Ratio of workstations to staff
7/10
Number of workstations to achieve 30% space efficiency
133
Cellular space
≤ 10%
Meeting Room provision
Typically 1.2 m² per staff member
Primary circulation space as a percentage of total NIA (Normal range for efficient buildings = 10-15%)
≤ 15%
Floor plate efficiency (NIA:GIA)
80-85%
Flexible partitioning
Yes
Local Support Space
≤5% of Total NIA
Central Support Space
25% of Total NIA
On Site Parking Space provision standard
1 space per 25m² of GEA
Required number of staff parking spaces
100 (0.8 ratio spaces/desks)
Ideal GEA Required for staff parking
1900m²
Number of single user offices
6
Number of Meeting Rooms
8

Efficiency Savings on Existing Office Space

You are of course limited on efficiency savings that can be made on existing space, your floor plate efficiency is generally fixed and you may be limited in changes that can be made to cellular and primary circulation space etc. Those who inhabit more modern buildings with flexible partitioning have a greater opportunity to make physical changes to the floor space and therefore rationalise how they use that space.

In general terms organisations will look to review their ways of working and introduce clear desk policies, increased working hours or mobile working so that they can reduce their desk to staff ratio. The average cost of a work station is circa £4500 per staff member so if you reduce the number of workstations by 30% then there are some immediate and on-going savings in not providing or supporting these work stations. If the object of this exercise is to free up space to achieve a headline figure of  say 6m² per staff member then the question I would ask is, ‘What do you now intend to do with the free space you’ve created?’ I come across this anomaly many times, organisations want to achieve this headline figure but have no real plans for the space created, moreover they have these hypothetical ideals of space per staff member in mind without understanding the wider context of additional space required for circulation and support.

If you rationalise and free up space then make sure you can generate income from that space otherwise what’s the point?

Efficiency Savings on New Office Space

I’m currently involved with the planning a new build office and if we use the ideal core data in the table we see that we have 190 staff and a guide for 10m² of NIA per staff member. This means we have to build an office with a net internal area of 1900m², or do we?

The reality is that we are still looking to reduce our desk to staff ratio by 30% and it follows that we can reduce the size of our building by 30% leaving a total requirement for only 1330m² of NIA. At our anticipated build cost of £836 per m² then this space reduction would save around £550k on the cost of development. Whilst these savings are incredibly attractive I should issue a word of caution… organisations that take full advantage of these space savings can lose business flexibility! Are you absolutely sure that there will be no future requirement for additional space? It’s a fact that many public sector organisations have a continuous downward trend in terms of the number of staff they employ but private sector businesses looking for continued growth should bear in mind future space requirements.  

By rationalising and freeing up space, organisations can create the opportunity for the co-location of services. Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council recently took the opportunity to  relocate staff from geographically dispersed premises throughout the Rochdale area into a single Municipal Office providing a single point access service to a mixed use development containing offices, library, restaurants and caf├ęs. They were fortunate in appointing an architectural firm who are fully conversant with BCO guidance and best practice and I’m sure that this was a critical success factor in their excellent new office design. (Link)

The concept office design I created in Sketch-up had a greatly reduced footprint and reduced development cost due to the space freed in the adjacent building and the glazed link provided to utilise that space.

Source: Joe Malone
Concept Office Design Utilising Free Space Created in Adjacent Building

For cash strapped public sector organisations looking to review their accommodation, identifying space efficiencies for shared accommodation or co-location can be the critical factor in gaining approval for new office development.

Joe Malone BSc(Hons) ICIOB 

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and colleagues who you think would be interested

Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.