A business strategy based on the whole-life approach

A whole-life business strategy — Mark Andrews.
Mark Andrews explains why the whole-life approach forms the cornerstone of NG Bailey’s business strategy.Never before has the construction industry been so focused on the long-term future of the built environment. And with sustainability, in every sense of the word, remaining high on the agenda, the onus is on building-services professionals to provide customers with an approach that will meet the environmental, economic and social needs of their buildings today and for the future. As one of the UK’s leading building services providers, NG Bailey sees this increased focus as an opportunity to deliver a ‘whole-life’ approach to construction — so much so that it forms the cornerstone of our business strategy for the next 10 years. Joined-up approach We want to work more closely with our customers and their clients to encourage a more joined up approach to building development, where activities are coordinated from the outset based on reducing whole-life costs through innovative specification and ongoing maintenance, rather than simply concentrating on the short-term build cost. We adopt a complete ‘cradle-to-grave’ responsibility, and all the work we do is focused towards better environmental efficiency and creating a better life in buildings for occupiers. We consider not only cost minimisation and emissions reduction, but also take into account the cost to run a building and maintain its value throughout its lifespan — instead of just focusing on the initial capital expenditure. Frustrating In fact, we employ 70 full time members of staff in our design team who achieve lifecycle savings on all our construction projects — that is provided we can get involved with a project at an early-enough stage to contribute. With services such as this in place for the benefit of our customers, it is frustrating when a fixed design specification prevents us from implementing such sustainable measures. Mechanical and engineering costs make up as much as 30% of a total building cost in the commercial market, and it is forecast that this figure could rise by as much as 2% in the future, because of the increased focus on cleaner buildings. To enable a successful whole-life approach it is essential that the planning and design team of a construction project involves companies such as ours at the earliest possible stage. So can this approach really benefit clients? We have been putting the whole-life value approach to the test — not only for a number of clients but also in some of our own offices. Work has just started, for example, on NG Bailey’s brand new Scottish headquarters, which should be ready for occupation by 130 staff in Autumn 2008. The project at Strathclyde Business Park will see the sustainable development of an existing commercial design to achieve the highest ever BREEAM rating in the UK. The 2-storey, 1828 m2 standard-plan building will demonstrate how our investment and engineering expertise can deliver a building with first-class green credentials. Once occupied, the site will become a showcase for the very best in sustainable products, services and innovations from the NG Bailey Group. Strathclyde HQ will feature sustainable technologies such as solar thermal collectors to heat water, photo-voltaic glass and a ground-source heat pump for heating and cooling. We will be assessing our initial investment in green technologies against payback to demonstrate the achievable return on investment. We have also recently completed a number of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rated projects for clients. These projects include The Scottish National Heritage building in Inverness, which achieved a rating of 84%. Another such project is the Home Office’s Vulcan House in Sheffield, which has also achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating from BREEAM — the first for any building in Sheffield. It will operate as a HFC-free environment with no ozone-depleting gases and is considered a benchmark in sustainability and energy management. Strategy Projects such as these really do underpin our forward-thinking business strategy and prove that as a leading building-services specialist, we are not afraid to put our money where our mouth is! Mark Andrews is chief executive with NG Bailey.
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