LCMB Newsletter

Building Performance Insights

john o'brien lcmb

Welcome to June’s Building Performance Insights.

We’re thrilled that the British Council for Offices report “Improving Productivity in the Workplace” written by LCMB and Oxford Brookes University has been prominently referenced in BCO‘s freshly launched flagship report: 2019 Guide to Specification. The guide brings the latest thinking from leading experts about how offices should cater for today’s businesses. If you are involved in managing, or responsible for, your organisation’s premises, it’s a must-read.

We also talk biophilia – the “psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital”. It’s an oft-ignored factor in workplace design, but we should pay much more attention to biophilia in the workplace – and our homes. Scroll down to find out why.

Mike Kenny discusses whether the government emissions targets are realistic, and gives some pointers about what businesses should do to prepare for these targets.

I’ve got out of the building to make a short video about our latest tips on how to supercharge your workplace which you can view below.

We’re being asked to speak at more events such as the University Estates and Facilities ConferenceOxfordshire Greentech “Exceptional Buildings”, and the Higher Education Design Quality Forum, which we’ve summarised below.

I hope you find our ideas helpful. Do get in touch 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]


BCO 2019 Guide to Specification

This month sees the launch of The British Council for Offices’ 2019 Guide to Specification.

Significant change has occurred in the office industry since the BCO’s previous Guide to Specifications were published in 2004, 2009 and 2014.  Technological, sociological and environmental changes are reshaping approaches to providing offices, making traditional ways redundant in many cases.

The BCO’s 2019 flagship guide recognises that today’s successful businesses are driven by enterprise and compete in a knowledge-based economy.

The guide leans heavily on our 2018 report to recognise that people, productivity and well-being are the principal drivers in the value proposition of an office space. The workplace is less about property and more about how well it enhances productivity – so it must provide an environment for people to work at their best.

It’s a big and expensive read (click the button below to buy the report), so we’ll summarise the guide’s key points in the coming monthly Building Performance Insights. If you would like your friends and colleagues to get the serialised summaries over the coming months, please ask them to email us to join our mailing list.

Biophilia – Designing for wellbeing and performance


Close your eyes and think of the last place that made you feel calm, relaxed and totally at ease with the world.

When I do this, like most people, I think of a natural environment, typically a forest or a water landscape.

It is surprising, then, that when we spend less than 10% of our time outdoors, we automatically think of natural, rather than built environments, as those that are most beneficial to our wellbeing…

Click here for a relaxing read 


Government Emissions Targets – Are they Realistic?

Theresa May announced a proposal for a 2050 net-zero target (amending the 2008-agreed target of an 80% reduction by 2050), and Labour’s focus group Momentum announced a net-zero target by 2030 – just 11 years away.

In short, both plans are achievable, but they need funding, and we’re not clear where that will come from. Whatever emissions targets become mandatory, businesses should carefully prepare to hit, and hopefully exceed mandatory targets.

Read Mikes breakdown of what business should do 

Top tips to supercharge your workplace

For every £1 a typical UK business spends on buildings, it spends £200 on staff. Since we’re indoors 90% of the time, our health and productivity depends on the quality of our working environment.

Everyone deserves to work in healthy productive surroundings so every £1 needs to contribute to create that environment.

Our research demonstrates that improving the working surroundings leads to a 2-3% increase to your organisation’s output. Over its’ life, that’s more than enough to cover the capital cost of your building. And it’s not rocket science.

Get the free 7 top tips to supercharge your workplace


LCMB news

26th June, University Estates and Facilities Conference, Salford

John is a keynote speaker on Wednesday 26th June at the University Estates and Facilities Conference in Salford where he covers:

1) How is capital funding allocated to universities and what remits does this funding cover?

2) What should a university estates strategy framework look like? What are the realistic timescales?

3) How can university estates and facilities teams make the most out of university income in order to provide ‘world-class facilities’ and remain ‘modern’ in an ‘ever-changing world?’

4) Discussion involving higher education budgets and how savings and long-term investments can be made

5) Conversations regarding the demand for a government led higher education estates and facility strategy

6) The expectations, challenges and future opportunities.

Contact us if you’d like a copy of the conference presentation.


18th July, Oxfordshire Greentech “Exceptional Buildings”, Bicester

John will speak at Oxfordshire Greentech‘s event Exceptional Buildings on the 18th July, to showcase the future of innovative sustainable buildings.

Alongside John’s talk about sustainable buildings, the event will showcase the ‘Greenest Building’ in Oxfordshire – the Bicester Eco Business Centre – and the UK’s first Eco Town development, NW Bicester (Elmsbrook).

The event is subsidised by the European Regional Development Fund, so attendance is free. If you are within travelling distance to Bicester, please do register to attend.


Higher Education Design Quality Forum “What makes a high performance building?”

In May 2019, John was delighted to be invited to speak at the Higher Education Design Quality Forum event “What makes a high performance building?” about our research on productivity. You can view the presentation by clicking the image above.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more or would like a copy of the British Council for Offices (BCO) report “Improving productivity in the workplace” or read our guide to improving productivity in the workplace.

Last month most popular article

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

Our most popular item in May was Esos – What the Goverment isnt telling you.

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 576 000  [email protected] to discuss how the LCMB accelerated ROI audit can improve your organisation performance and return on investment.

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