Our Covid-friendly Birmingham office refurbishement6 October 2020
Just two weeks after announcing his back to work message, the prime minister has asked us to “work from home if you can” once more, as part of a package of new measures designed to combat the second wave of coronavirus
It will be interesting to see how many people continue to work in an office, at least, part of the time, as the feedback I have received from those who have managed to return to the office has been overwhelmingly positive. And the prime minister did acknowledge that many roles cannot be performed from home and, in this instance, people should return to workplaces as long as they are following Covid-secure guidelines.
The return to the office, of course, assumes that most staff can travel safely to the office without using public transport. That is unrealistic in major cities like London. However, in the major regional areas, where we invest, driving, cycling or, even, walking to work without using public transport is the norm. That gives us a big advantage. Our key consideration now is safety – providing the safest environment possible for our tenants.
In my last blog on 30 July (“Planning for a safe return to the office”), I talked about the list of measures that our asset management team was in the process of implementing at our buildings.
Today, I can announce that we have completed the refurbishment of Unit 2620 at Kings Court, Birmingham Business Park, which has been designed to ensure that workers in that 11,701 sq ft building will have minimal touching of surfaces..
The refurbishment, which cost £0.5 million (contractor, Inco Contracts; building surveyor, Powell Williams; letting agents, Savills and KWB), has a number of Covid-friendly features, such as:
- sensor taps and flushes in the WCs
- PIR operating lighting (no need to touch switches)
- state-of-the-art air conditioning
- easy-to-clean surfaces
- one-way system with multiple access points
As well as being good for the tenant, the changes will be kinder to the environment, with LED lights throughout, a reduction in water usage, an energy-efficient AC system and recycled materials where possible. We have also installed shower rooms and cycling storage to enable those wishing to cycle in to work.
We are determined to provide the best infrastructure we can for out tenants, so that they can return to the office with a positive mindset.