PwC building wins presitigious BCO Test of Time Award

PwC, One Embankment Place, has been awarded the prestigious BCO Test of Time Award for 2019.

The award was open to BCO winners from 2014, with nominees having to demonstrate how their project had met a number of criteria - adaptability, savings in use, increased staff retention and reduced staff absenteeism – five years on.

One Embankment Place originally won the London and South East BCO Refurbished or Recycled Award. Then BCO (British Council for Offices) judges said: “This building will help PwC in its quest to deliver a truly agile workplace that is capable of meeting the changing needs of PwC and its people in a rapidly changing business environment.”

Building services and engineering consultancy, Chapmanbdsp, was the mechanical and engineering (M&E) consultant on the project and was given a brief of refurbishing PwC’s existing office to provide a modern, flexible, sustainable, collaborative, and intelligent workspace.

The ‘in-occupation’ refurbishment involved a complete plant replacement scheme in the basement areas, roof and terraces and the fit-out of the commercial office space on floors one to nine – all without interruption to the PwC business.

The entire base build M&E systems installations were removed, the plant rooms were remodelled, and a new base build engineering infrastructure was installed, including tri-generation plant which was particularly innovation at the time.

It produces combined cooling, heat, and power (CCHP) from a biofuel that is produced from used vegetable oil collected and refined within the M25 area.

A key challenge to the project was Charing Cross station, located between the building’s ground floor entrance and the office space on floors one to nine. This was managed through early detailed survey works, and a two-stage contract that ensured the logistical challenges were addressed early to maintain the programme.

The project achieved the highest BREEAM score recorded at the time, as well as an ‘A’ EPC rating while also improving the net internal area.

The building was one of the first workplaces to remove partners’ private offices - allowing for a more collaborative and integrated working environment - and was designed with 3,150 desks for 4,500 people. Five years on its workspace utilisation is 3,133 workplaces for 5,225 people.

“This substantial leap in efficiency and hug increase in use was made possible thanks to future-proof design inbuilt to enable and support the flexible and ergonomic working practices that have thrived there,” the BCO said after awarding the project the Test of Time Award. 

“[The project] demonstrates perfectly how a building can be adapted and evolve, while supporting its primary function and that of the business and people who work there. Over time, One Embankment Place has driven a positive cultural shift in PwC’s business,” it added.

The architect on the project was tp bennett, with Arup providing structural engineering and Overbury providing contractor services. Turner & Townsend provided project management and quantity surveying services for the scheme.