Max Fordham and the UKGBC

By Henry Pelly

07 November 2016

UK Green Building Council's Wellbeing-Lab is a programme enabling companies in the building industry to share what they have learned from improvements made at their own workplaces.

I attended a recent Wellbeing-Lab workshop as part of the Max Fordham team. In the last two years we have opened an office in Bristol, moved to larger premises in Manchester, Cambridge and Edinburgh, and we are currently refurbishing our London office. We had a lot of ideas and solutions to share.

What was most valuable about the workshop was the opportunity to share what Max Fordham already does regarding workplace wellbeing. It also gave us a better understanding of what other organisations do to improve the health and well-being in their workplaces.

One of the central tenets of the work we do at Max Fordham is a consideration for the health and well-being of the people who will use our buildings. It's thinking that's embedded in the way we work.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of our Practice.  Across five decades, the engineering that we have undertaken has improved schools, universities, offices, homes, galleries and many more besides. Part of the success of our projects stems from maximising the opportunities for user-control, daylight penetration and natural -ventilation. Our input results in buildings that are better places to be.

A number of organisations including Lend-Lease, the Monomoy Company and Marks & Spencer presented case studies including how they had engaged meaningfully with their workforce and workplace well-being. We had presentations about the tools that we could use to measure the physical environment and workers’ perception of their environment. 

The day ended with a presentation of each team’s project to the rest of the group.  What was remarkable about the discussions was that these ideas of better places are not new. What is new is the desire to quantify the gains made by great design in order to demonstrate the value that this adds to an organisation.

The event raised a number of questions for our team which we will clarify over the next few months in a series of blog posts. We invite you to join us in our discussion as we present a variety of different perspectives on what matters to the design of better places for people.


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