Creating value in changing spaces

by | Aug 24, 2022 | Building design trends, Building industry trends

How MBC Group adds value for our clients in what was once ‘the humble fitout’, which has become a substantial sub-set of the overall construction market and forms an important workflow for our business.  

MBC Group business purpose 

Our purpose is to ensure a better built environment for all, linking MBC Group to the process of design and construction, and putting building compliance at the intersection of regulators, investors, planners, architects, developers, builders, and users. However, it is one thing to articulate a purpose and another to deliver on it. We make sure that ours underpins the business strategy and every project we embark on. There are three key components to our strategy, each of which enables us to ensure a better built environment.  

  • We are focused, carefully managing our resources, and delivering on our promises, with a strong emphasis on our client deliverables
  • We are diversified, our capabilities span the retail, office, industrial, health and education sectors
  • We are agile, with our end-to-end approach and dedicated project teams, we can guide clients through the building compliance process for the concept, design development, construction, and occupation phases of high-quality assets, leaving a lasting legacy for future Australians 

Since 2014 we have developed our compliance expertise from small to large scale construction projects, but for this discussion we will focus on fitouts, however the same approach governs all projects we are engaged for. Generally, fitouts are extremely time sensitive so we always begin with the end in mind, ie the handover date, and work back from this to develop an appropriate approval pathway. With a depth of team to support clients, years of experience and over 2500 projects completed in this space, it means that we have a well-rounded knowledge of how to exceed client expectations and meet critical project timings. 

Key trends in fitouts – the workplace of the future 

As the impact of COVID-19 still echoes through daily life, businesses are recognising that workplaces are no longer a place that you must be, it is a place you must want to be, or a minimum of somewhere to interact. Team collaboration, motivation and the synergy that comes from working together in a connected space will define the new workplace. However, with so many of us able to work from wherever we want, whenever we want, the workplace needs to be much more than the latest in technology to keep staff happy and engaged. There is no doubt that both new technology and the global pandemic have dramatically changed the way we all work and the future of fitout design. 

MetLife’s annual Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021: “Redesigning the Employee Experience: Preparing the Workforce for a Transformed World” identified the top three factors that will affect the workplace of the future. Employee wellbeing is predicted to have the greatest impact (74%), followed by the ability for employees to work remotely (71%), and employee mental health, stress, and burnout (70%). Nearly three-quarters (72%) of employees rank work life programs among their top five desired benefits to improve wellbeing.   

Somewhat dependent upon the location in Australia, there are signs of an arms race to recruit for workforce shortages, with businesses offering a multitude of enhancements to make their workspaces more attractive and create a competitive edge. Companies are taking measures such as upgrading to new or more luxurious buildings with gyms, showers and modern decor because it helps them attract staff. Fitouts are now including brand new end-of-trip facilities, that didn’t exist on the same scale before, with towel services, dryers, hair straighteners, ironing boards, and greater security for employee sports and cycling gear. The demand for luxury buildings is forcing improvements to lower-tier office spaces and any vacancies that come on to the market, that are older than five or seven years, must be refitted. It’s a must because anything that is presented as just four walls and empty space will be left behind, everyone wants lighter, brighter, fresher and collaborative spaces. 

Through instruments such as the NCC and WELL Building Standard, we can see that regulators are finding better ways to position happiness and wellbeing at the heart of policy making. WELL sets pathways for better health and wellbeing across 10 concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community.  Our clients are embracing quality of work life, technology integration and collaboration to achieve internal building compliance. The key trends we are seeing through our engagements are connected workspaces and wellbeing through better design. Increasingly, we work with fit out businesses across all our market sectors who realise that there are opportunities for producing a better built environment when they work with building surveyors from the design concept onwards.      

Upon reflection 

When considering workspace fitouts any later reflection will mostly be a staff experience and if we feel well when we get home, we feel connected with our workplace, better motivated and more loyal. Emotional intelligence is thought to be higher in Gen Y than other generations and with Millennials set to comprise three quarters of the Australian workforce by 2025, we should expect reflection and emotional connection to a workplace to become more important. 

The quality of fitouts will define the attractiveness of employers, with more amenities and facilities required than ever before. The time criticality of handover will not disappear so a building compliance consultancy that understands the mission and can deliver an appropriate approval pathway is an asset in achieving project deliverables. Having the right mix of experience, knowledge and access to town planning can be the difference between a hit or a miss for any project stakeholders.  

In terms of the benefits that MBC Group offers we reduce project risk by following clear protocols when assessing documentation and ensuring all information we assess is complete and accurate. Our team optimises the efficiency of the design process, minimising redesign and reducing costs by establishing NCC compliance parameters at an early stage. We understand the commercial demands of the property construction industry, and pride ourselves on offering the most responsive and straightforward service to our clients. Lastly, we help to avoid time delays and add value by understanding state legislation and anticipating the potential difficulties our clients could encounter. 

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