Birmingham businesses triumph at BCO’s annual property awards

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The Colmore Building

Three Birmingham businesses celebrated success this week with Centre City, Energy Systems Catapult and The Colmore Building all recognised as some of the best workplaces in the Midlands and Central England at the annual British Council for Offices (BCO) regional property sector awards. The prestigious BCO awards programme recognises the highest quality developments and sets the standard for excellence in the regional and national office sector.

Centre City gained the award for Best Commercial Workplace, Energy Systems Catapult won the award for Best Fit Out of a Workplace and The Colmore Building was presented with the new Regional BCO Innovation award during a ceremony held yesterday at Birmingham Town Hall.

Following its complete re-development, the BCO judging panel agreed that the 1975 Richard Seifert Centre City building has been brought back to life. The judges’ highlighted that despite the challenging spatial legacy of the building, the project had managed to overcome this and maximise commercial appeal, with typical rental increases of 160% since the re-development. In addition, the judges said the fundamentals of access, circulation and daylighting have been achieved with simple, timeless and exceptionally cost-effective designs, and praised the building’s contemporary styling which still retains echoes of the 1970’s character.

The judges agreed that the ‘workspace lab’ for Energy Systems Catapult is a collaborative and creative space which both encourages collaboration with the wider industry and provides a centre for debates, conferences and cultivation of ideas. They were impressed that the company ethos to stimulate innovation in energy technologies is defined throughout the design of the fit-out and makes a dynamic statement to attract talent and leading academics. From a design perspective, the judges noted that the careful use of ‘earth tone’ colours found in the city and crisp detailed timber surfaces brings a warm, calm environment that ripples out from the central welcome space.

A valuable investment, the BCO judging panel praised the £3.3 million enhancement of The Colmore Building which has turned a good but tired building into a great, modern base for businesses in Birmingham. Recognising the changing demands of modern occupiers and the importance of wellness at work, the judges noted, the building now includes Birmingham’s broadest offering of facilities for any office building and sets a new benchmark for the city in terms of on-site amenities.

Judging Chairman, Matt Viall of Turner & Townsend, said: “The impressively high calibre of entries for this year’s awards in the Midlands and Central England has made the task of the judging panel stimulating and challenging in equal measure. All nominees from across the region were of a high standard again and it is always inspiring to see the variety and depth of thought that goes in to creating great workspaces. The projects continue to surpass the BCO’s benchmark for excellence in the office sector and it is particularly pleasing that great projects are being delivered in every part of the region and are also being recognised nationally.”

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, commented: “Once again, businesses across the Midlands and Central England have put forward some incredibly strong examples of intelligent and well executed workplaces. With three winners, Birmingham representatives should take pride in their pioneering position on design and creativity in the region. Each building recognised at the awards this year sets a standard of quality for future projects around the UK.”

Other workplaces across the Midlands and Central England that also received recognition include Cambridgeshire’s Alconbury Weald Club which was awarded for Projects up to 1,500m², whilst The Officers’ Mess Business Centre won Best Refurbished and Recycled Workplace. Wolverhampton also gained an award as Marston’s House took home the awards for Best Corporate Workspace.
This is the ninth year that the Regional Awards have been presented locally in the Midlands, celebrating excellence in office space regionally, before all winners go on to compete at a national level at the National Awards in October.