VIRGIN MANAGEMENT LIMITED
3rd FLOOR, PORCHESTER ROAD
SKA RATING ASSESSMENT & SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTING
7,000 sq ft
Project Management: Virgin Management Limited
Design & Build: Thirdway Interiors
Design input: Jupiter Drawing Room, Cape Town
We were appointed by the Virgin Management Limited (VML) property team to support their efforts in delivering an environmentally responsible office fit-out project to house the Virgin Start Up and Virgin Sport business teams.
Virgin’s renewed promise of ‘Changing Business for Good’ includes a responsibility to ensure their own properties and spaces they occupy meet this objective. The property team needed a credible way to demonstrate how the brand meets their environmental and social responsibility in the interior fit-out of the office space they were taking over.
The SKA rating assessment method was identified as the most appropriate to use for this project. Additional sustainability advice was requested as both the client and D&B teams did not have prior experience with SKA rating.
The D&B contractor was already appointed at the time we were brought in and welcomed our support. After the initial meetings, it was clear they did not have enough sustainability knowledge or experience to deliver a SKA rating project, so the VML property team boosted our service to offer expert sustainability knowledge and resources to support the wider project team and up-skill through the process.
We supported the project in two key ways:
- through the process by attending meetings, steering design and facilities workshops, one-to-one conversations with the various team members, researching products and materials that would meet the required standards, and by
- monitoring the overall project performance against the SKA rating good practice environmental criteria.
In meetings, discussions on the sustainability factors of the design approach were steered by us towards creating a more sustainable operation and workplace, which would support staff and visitor wellbeing. Through questioning how the spaces would be operated and used, we were able to develop an approach that would ensure the spaces were fit for purpose and at the same time reduce or eliminate environmental impacts.
Some of the environmental and wellbeing solutions adopted include:
- appointment of an acoustician to ensure good practice on staff wellbeing
- an excellently recycled and completely recyclable material was used for the bar counter
- flooring with full environmental transparency
- tiling with cradle to cradle certification
- responsibly sourced timber
- waste that could not be avoided through ‘designing it out’ was diverted from landfill for energy recovery
- 98% of generated waste was recycled
- a full energy, water and air quality monitoring system has been installed, enabling the facilities and management team to make year on year efficiency improvements. Monitoring the CO2 & VOC air quality is core to enabling high productivity and wellbeing.
A big insight gained from this project was the continuous integration of standards and alignment of industry good practice with the very distinct ‘Virgin’ culture and operation. Excellent progress was made and improvements have been adopted and integrated into VML’s project delivery procedures.
Initially, the project was targeting a Silver rating. As the efforts progressed and the teams became increasingly conscious of the opportunities, the Gold SKA rating was targeted with increased fervour. After an exemplar effort made by the VML property team, together with our guidance, the Gold rating was proudly achieved!
A cost saving greater than £10,000 was made in procuring furniture in an environmentally friendly way. Significant cost saving was made by utilising existing materials, glazing, doors, partition layouts and flooring. The metering installed is also expected to drive energy savings.
Staff and managers were consulted along the process to ensure the workplace would meet their needs and support their wellbeing. Up-skilling of the delivery teams was integrated into the main project delivery, improving general knowledge which will impact future projects. Furniture was supplied from numerous micro-suppliers. Targeting the Considerate Contractors Scheme measure meant other tenants in the building were consulted on any delivery impacts, so that project works were responsive to their needs. The team made enquiries on the existence of diversity on site and sub-contractor apprentice programmes.
The project achieved a Gold SKA rating. Some of the environmental facts include: 78% of measures were achieved, high re-use and purchase of second hand furniture, doors were reclaimed and repaired for re-use, the bar worktop cover was made with 100% recycled & recyclable material, the majority of glazed partitions were re-used through adaptation of existing pieces, the A/C system was procured from products on the Energy Technology List and damaged raised access floor tiles were replaced with reused tiles.
Grigoriou Interiors were bought in during the design phase of our office fit out at Porchester Road to initially provide advice on the environmental accreditation SKA and the benefits of integrating it into the project both for its environmental and sustainability advantages, but also importantly for employee well-being in the space. Their role progressed into full integration in the project team throughout the design and fit out phases, up-skilling us as a client, the contractor and the rest of the consultants, designers and supply chain. Elina, Angeliki and the rest of the GI team’s drive and enthusiasm helped us achieve a Gold Rating, which contributed to the successful delivery of the office space to two Virgin companies.