Sustainability in fit outs: more than the environment

DWP Framework

When you say the word “sustainability” in the design and construction industry, many people immediately associate it with environmentally friendly solutions. While, to some degree, this association is correct, sustainability is about so much more.

Yes, sustainability aims to ensure we protect and support the environment – but two other major pillars of sustainability include supporting the economy and supporting society.

Specifically, with offices and workspaces, sustainability should be focused not only on developing environmentally friendly solutions but also on creating cost-effective, durable spaces that protect the economy as well as functional spaces that improve the lives of the humans who use them.

By considering sustainability during the fit out process, your business can demonstrate a higher corporate social responsibility that can drastically improve your reputation and prospects.

Fit out sustainability: Economical

We understand the expectations that investors have (whether a board, committee or private investor) for fit out projects – whilst many of them may have goals to achieve where it comes to environmental sustainability, ultimately, this is underpinned by value for money where the return is concerned.

Fit out solutions that initially appear to benefit the environment are also great ways to present long term cost-savings for offices and workspaces in the future e.g. solar panels help the environment while reducing how much electricity you use from your supplier that you need to pay for. Surveys have found that many of those who have invested in green construction have saved on operating costs further down the line.

Another element of cost-effective sustainability is thinking about costs now compared to in the future. While certain materials or pieces of equipment may be more expensive upfront, those with better energy ratings or longer lifespans will save your business money in the long run. I.e. more durable solutions will reduce how much you spend to replace or fix them.

When we design and fit out office spaces, we want to ensure that we’re using the best quality materials that will stand the test of time and daily use. There’s no point investing in an office space that looks great when you move in but cracks and creaks when your employees use it.

By developing durable solutions, we deliver spaces that will work not only for right now but long into the future.

Fit out sustainability: Environmental

So as we’ve said, sustainability isn’t all about being environmentally friendly – however, it’s still a big part of it. We can work with you on accredited schemes like BREEAM and SKA that are here to help you ensure you develop a workspace that is good for our planet.

Plants in a office enviroment

Advising you on the latest technology and the right industry codes of practice; we can help you to realise a space that saves energy and reduces your carbon footprint.

Fit out sustainability: Societal

The societal pillar of sustainability in fit outs includes looking after the long term wellbeing of those using the space. While the needs of a space are often heavily driven by board and management levels, your business can have no claim to sustainability if your workspace negatively impacts the wellbeing of employees.

Once again, environmentally-friendly solutions can have a dual benefit by also supporting employee health e.g. natural light reduces fatigue in employees while also reducing how much electricity is used to light your space.
Solutions that may not come up during the environmental considerations include reducing noise pollution in your space which can cause headaches and providing good spaces to collaborate to maintain personal connections that are vital to mental health.

Head office design and fit out

In the context of workplace construction, societal sustainability often relates to employee wellbeing however in the wider world it primarily focuses on the rights of the humans in society. One of the biggest workplace policy outcomes post-pandemic has been the rise of flexible working. When thinking about fit out sustainability from now on, you should also be considering how well your space allows employees to exercise the right to work flexibly. Once again, your company can say it values sustainability and supports its employees but if the space isn’t set up properly to accommodate these rights, you risk some serious scrutiny from the press and investors.

If your space doesn’t work for how your employees need it to, you’ll end up having to spend more time, money and resources changing it. A functional space will enable your team to perform at their most productive, comfortable and confident without needing to make any adjustments for the space around them so it’s best to get this right from the start.

Our team take the time to learn what your space really needs to ensure the optimal environment for your employees and visitors utilising the latest technology and intelligence around modern methods of construction.

Need help with your office sustainability?

Our technical team and project managers are involved early on in the project lifecycle to ensure that build intelligence, sustainable systems & materials, health & safety, durability, functionality and value engineering are all considered through the design stage, and not just as an afterthought.
They will work with Field, or your appointed design team to ensure that sustainable systems, durable materials and functional solutions have been considered.

Get in touch with our team today to start a conversation about your space.