Hear Tim Oldman of the Leesman Index at the Forum on 15th November

Our biannual events in June and November 2017 once again proved to be a huge success, attracting Property Directors from a variety of industries and organisations. The insightful presentations, panel debates and animated round-table debates, uncovered some important issues that impacted occupiers throughout 2017. The November event also identified interesting trends and challenges that are likely to have an impact on the commercial real estate sector in 2018.


Current drivers and initiatives in sustainability – Property Directors Forum on 8th June 2017

The events of 2017 gave a new meaning to the notion and importance of sustainability for commercial real estate.  Climate change, new environmental legislation, increasing rental and other costs, rising access to alternative energy sources, and so on – all contributed to moving the need for a sustainability strategy from “nice to have” to essential.

This was clearly reflected in the sustainability trends and issues uncovered by the June Forum:

  • Technology has a big role to play in turning inefficient buildings into sustainable buildings 91% of the Forum’s members introduced LED lighting to their property portfolios. Other key improvements undertaken, included A/C plant upgrades, introduction of smart meters and Building Management Systems.  As a result, 38% have seen their energy bills and overall building costs reduce.
  • Budget issues could be driving a decline in activity 88% carried out sustainability work in the last 12 months but only further 56% were planning to invest in sustainability in the next 12 months.
  • 62% of businesses were not ready for The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) and thought that Government had a role to play in helping occupiers get up to speed with the new requirements – Property Directors thought that Government should intervene by providing financial incentives, forcing landlords to make buildings MEES compliant and introduce fines for non-compliance.
  • Poor quality building stock is possibly being left unsustainable – While 68% prefer to improve a building to hit sustainability targets, a quarter (24%) would rather dispose of the building.
  • Lack of employee training and involvement may be a problem in waiting 55% of Property Directors do not currently train employees on how they can make the building they work in more sustainable.

You can download the results of the survey in a pdf Infographic format here.

Or to download the full Survey Report please click here.


The complete line-up of speakers and panellists:

  • Alastair Mant, Head of Industry Engagement at the UK Green Building Council – Keynote speaker and panellist
  • James Thackrah, Hospitality & Workplace Lead at Schneider Electric– also a speaker and panellist
  • Jason Sibthorpe, UK Managing Director at Avison Young – Chair
  • Richard Jackson, Sustainability Director at UCL – panellist
  • Martin Rymer, Director of Building Consultancy & Project Management at Avison Young – panellist.


The presentations and discussions were summarised in a form of an Executive Summary – download here.


The Innovation Savvy Business and what 2018 has in store for Occupiers? Property Directors Forum on 16th November

The U.K. is on course to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.  Brexit negotiations are in full swing now but there’s still a lot of ground to cover.  While the full impact of Brexit on UK commercial real-estate is still an unknown, one thing is certain, businesses will need to prepare to deliver “more with less”.  To do this, many are turning towards high-impact innovation to reduce the operational costs and environmental impact of their properties.  But innovation alone won’t be enough.  More focus needs to be given to employee engagement and wellbeing initiatives to help them embrace the change.  This and increased collaboration within the occupiers’ community should help move the UK up the productivity league table, as long as landlords’ lack of proactivity doesn’t cause delays.

The November forum uncovered some interesting issues and trends that affected occupiers in 2017 and could impact occupiers in 2018:

  • 2017 was not as bad as expected for 53% of Property Directors but Brexit will have some impact in the future 40% thought Brexit will cause a decrease in demand for commercial property in the UK.  Increasing costs, and other economic factors, will put pressure on cash and the need to have more flexible space in 2018.  In fact, 80% of Property Directors thought the space per person will continue to decrease.
  • Innovation initiatives will be essential to help property deliver more from less 83% of Property Directors have carried out property innovation initiatives throughout 2017 and a similar number (77%) is looking to invest in innovation in 2018.
  • Sustainability initiatives lead the way – Energy efficiency and wellbeing dominated the 2017, with 62% investing in energy efficiency improvements and 52% in innovations relating to the health, safety and wellbeing of employees.

    This has also brought to light some innovation challenges.

  • The benefits of property innovation will need to be sold to Boards to move it up the strategy list – Only 7% of Property Directors said that innovation was one of the companys core objectives and two in 10 organisations do not have a property innovation strategy. 27% of organisations have also not yet secured a budget for innovation.
  • “We can achieve more together than we can apart” seems to be the innovation motto – 50% of Property Directors are thinking of collaborating with other organisations to enable innovation in their portfolios.
  • Property innovation and collaboration could help move the UK up the productivity league table, but landlords are slow to embrace it – Only 3% of Property Directors think their buildings are innovative enough, while none (0%) have had their landlord approach them first to discuss property innovation. Almost half (40%) reported their landlord being reluctant to innovate. 

As the UK’s productivity rate has returned to its pre-crisis level, and since occupiers see innovation as a productivity facilitator, landlords’ lack of proactivity may further hamper moving the UK up the productivity league table.






You can download the results of the survey in a pdf Infographic format here.

Or to download the full Survey Report please click here.

The complete line-up of speakers and panellists:

  • George Bromfield, Investment Director at Brooks Macdonald – Speaker
  • Henry Majed, Director, Partnerships, Innovation Gateway – Speaker and Panellist
  • Tim Golding, UK Property Director, Tesco Plc – Panellist
  • Jo Saunders, Innovation Project Manager, RBS – Panellist
  • James Tiernan, Group Energy & Environment Manager, Unite Students – Panellist
  • Piers Leigh, Principal, Avison Young – Chair



The presentations and discussions were summarised in a form of an Executive Summary – download here.


The Property Directors Forum – helping you collaborate to innovate

The Property Directors Forum (PDF) is an exclusive, invitation-only community that was created to provide Occupier Property Directors with a stronger VOICE in the market. Since 2013 we have run several successful and well attended events with industry leading speakers and experts on the most current topics affecting the occupier community. Each event has used participants’ contributions to create value-add content on the topics concerned.

The Property Directors Forum provides Occupiers with: 

  • A collective VOICE
  • FORESIGHT to identify current trends and challenges


“I find the Property Directors Forum really well organised, with topical issues on the agenda supported by well-informed external presenters. This coupled with the presence of Property Directors across various sectors leads to good insights and debate.”

David Fry, Head of Property, Vodafone Limited


The Property Directors Forum is sponsored by Avison Young (www.avisonyoung.com), the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Avison Young is a collaborative, global firm owned and operated by its principals. Founded in 1978, the company comprises 2,600 real estate professionals in 82 offices, providing value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial, multi-family and hospitality properties. Avison Young has 5 UK offices located in the West End, City of London, Thames Valley, Midlands and Manchester.


The next Property Directors Forum will be on Thursday, 7th June 2018.

For more information about – or to join – the Property Directors Forum please contact Gail on

01494 540 010 or gail.wickes@propertydirectorsforum.com.