LCMB Newsletter

Building Performance Insights

john o'brien lcmb

Welcome to January’s Building Performance Insights. Is it now too late to wish you all a Happy New Year!?

This month, we throw our cards on the table with our predictions of 2019‘s important issues.

We also take stock of the retail sector – where profits traditionally depend on December’s trade – and search for clues about what the forward-thinking retailers are doing.

We continue our series on productivity heaven – you can read how to run projects that will improve your building conditions.

Finally, we focus on recent news about air pollution and health. Employees are starting to take their employers to court over air quality. This is important, especially if you’re responsible for buildings or employee wellbeing.

I hope you find our newsletter and ideas helpful. Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can help you improve the performance and productivity of your people, buildings and estates.

John O’Brien
Founder and MD
t: 01295 722823
e: [email protected]


2019 – a year to decide the UK’s future?

Reflecting on 2018, we saw major shifts in markets, behaviour, technology and politics which will continue to impact 2019 and beyond. The important themes in our opinion are outsourcing, people productivity, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technology, and of course, politics!


  • Outsourcing companies will make huge efforts to overhaul thanks to eroded trust and financing.
  • In the scrabble to remain competitive, UK PLC will wake up to the issues of worker productivity, innovation, output and wellbeing.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology will continue to evolve, tracking not only health markers but also environmental conditions.
  • Politics – what can we say?.. Keep Calm and Carry On!

Click here to read more


Five steps to productivity heaven

Five steps to productivity heaven

Our three year research programme provides clear measurable evidence that if you don’t get temperature, light, CO2 and humidity levels (among other factors) right, your staff productivity is dramatically compromised. Our research shows that offices rarely have the optimal levels.

We’re serialising our step by step process for companies to measure and improve the working environment, to improve productivity and wellbeing.

To get all the steps immediately, download the full guide for free here, otherwise, follow the links below for each step..

1. Engage stakeholders
Covered in October.

 2. Collect data
Covered in November.

3. Analyse and Plan
Covered in December.

4. Run projects
Scroll down to read.

5. Monitor, evaluate and improve
To be covered in February 2019.


Productivity Heaven Series 

If you’ve followed our monthly series, you should now be ready to deliver the projects you planned in the previous steps. You can run the projects either concurrently or phased – your choice will depend on a number of external factors. We recommend you split projects into:

1. Quick wins – low or no cost. For example, Buildings Management Systems (BMS) tweaks or simple improvements to indoor environmental conditions.

2. Short term, medium cost. These are projects with a clear return on investment (ROI) that will be easy to get approval for, and will show immediate improvements to building performance and staff productivity.

3. Longer term projects with deeper benefits. These are larger capital investment projects such as changes to plant and services.

We recommend you trial short, medium and longer-term projects to validate and measure the real return on investment before scaling across whole organisations.

Download the complete guide here.


In the news

Spot light on retail

The High Street slumps in December, online gains ground
The retail sector saw increased retail growth in November, before the December 2018 slump compared to December 2017. As a proportion of all retail, online sales in grew from 17.9% in December 2017, to 20% in December 2018.  This may indicate that shoppers might not be tied to traditional shopping seasons, and are swayed by out-of-season Black Friday discounts.

People splashed out on luxury and saved on the basics
Barclaycard said spending in pubs rose by 12.9% and at restaurants by 9%. Meanwhile, clothes sales fell by 3% and department store sales fell by 6.3% compared to December 2017.

Customers bought some luxury goods but were frugal on the basics. Consequently Selfridges and Aldi both saw good holiday sales, while the middle was squeezed. John Lewis said that demand for fashion and beauty products was strong – but they may just have been looking hard for the silver lining.

What next for retail?
Innovation and customer service are at the heart of improving results and we’ve seen some interesting developments:

A. Merging online with bricks and mortar
Next has found interesting ways to make retail complement their online sales, but be wary – most retailers would need to be careful to prevent online from cannibalising bricks and mortar business.

B. Understanding shopper behaviour
Retailers are increasingly using technology to better understand and optimise the in-store retail experience – using shelf sensors, and sophisticated tracking tools to glean similarly detailed insights to those possible online.

C. Improving the store environment
Rest assured, the High Street won’t disappear: 85% of shopping in the US is still done in person. Retailers are investing to improve the shopping environment – paying close attention to light, space, noise temperature, humidity, CO2 and particle levels that improve not only shoppers’ experience but also staff wellbeing, alertness and ability to provide great customer service. And stores like Stella McCartney’s shopwith the “cleanest air” in London, are getting news coverage.

D. Using tech to improve customer experience – and efficiency
Technology firms are devising new ways to personalise, speed up, add interest, and convenience to shoppers’ experience in-store. This includes in-store tech to suggest complementary products, smart trolleys so customers can leave without queueing to pay, and tech for shoppers to customise their products on site. Just as important, is warehouse automation and other technology to drive efficiency behind the scenes.

Read more:
2018 the worst Christmas since the financial crisis a decade ago
Can tech save bricks and mortar retail?


Toxic Air In the Workplace


The tragic story of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine year old South London girl suspected to have died from air pollution induced asthma, should be a wake up call for all of us.

Already by January 5th, London breached the  European Union’s annual permitted limit. And the air quality in the Tube is even worse.

We’re starting to see legal claims over exposure to toxic fumes by workers at Royal Mail and Christchurch Borough Council. Unite’s assistant general secretary for transport Diana Holland said: “If it can be proved that the health of workers has been damaged due to exposure to diesel fumes, Unite will consider taking legal action on behalf of our members.”

Office spaces are not off the hook. Office air comes from the outdoors and if poorly filtered, can be rife with particulates, VOCs and unacceptable CO2 levels. Air quality monitors like this are easily available and in our view it won’t be long before office staff, armed with evidence, will make their concerns known to employers.

Our advice? Monitor your office environment, and develop a strategy to improve it. Download our guide here, or get in touch to find out what you can do at your workplace.


Last month most popular blog

LCMB blogs cover a range of building performance and related issues.

Our most popular blog in December was:  Productivity Heaven Series


LCMB Workplace Optimisation

Whole Life Performance Plus (WLP+) is a LCMB innovation to improve workplace productivity by 10% and reduce energy use by 30% by optimising ventilation, light, noise and other indoor environmental factors.

LCMB are proud to work with partners Innovate UK, EPSRC, Argent, King’s College London, Emcor UK, British Council for Office, Constructing Excellence, Oxford Brookes University to develop an indoor environmental quality model to maximise worker productivity. Contact Tom Cudmore, Senior Consultant on t: 01295 722823 e: [email protected] or visit to find out more.

Case Studies

LCMB's accelerated ROI audit

Too many organisations spend large sums of money on the wrong initiatives that generate a poor return or even a loss.

This is why we created the LCMB accelerated ROI audit. It cuts through the noise and quickly, clearly identifies the untapped performance improvement areas within your buildings.

The audit uncovers operational inefficiencies such as under-utilised space and facilities, as well as cost and energy reduction opportunities, and then provides a clear plan for realising potential.

By implementing the plan, we guarantee the audit pays for itself within 6 months and thereafter generates a positive return.

Contact John O’Brien on 01295 722823  [email protected] to discuss how the LCMB accelerated ROI audit can improve your organisation performance and return on investment.

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