Comments continue to be made about the need for the JIFC when there are other office developments capable of providing new office accommodation. JDC has always maintained that there should be choice in the market and to suggest that its development should not be progressed as the private sector developers can provide sufficient new accommodation could be viewed as anti-competitive.
It is also worth highlighting the design and specification of the new new office accommodation differs significantly. The JIFC is fortunate to be a blank canvas opportunity with no adjoining buildings. Furthermore, the Masterplan for the site arranges the building as standalone (detached) properties as opposed to being joined together in a terrace as the offices are on the north side of the Esplanade.
There are two major benefits to the buildings being standalone; from the public’s perspective, it allows permeability of the ground plain and from the occupiers perspective it provide natural light on all four elevations. The only other new build offices that have this level of natural light is Liberation House and Windward House at Liberty Wharf. All other news build offices are/will be compromised on natural light as a result of adjoining buildings and the shape of the plots being deep and having narrow frontages.
JDC has undertaken detailed research into the benefits of natural light on occupiers performance and studies have concluded there is a direct correlation between the level of natural light / ‘Views Out’ that office occupiers receive and their productivity / performance. A World Green Building Council publication in 2013 found that access to daylight makes workers 18% more productive. Other studies have found that absenteeism levels reduce from between 6.5% to 15% as a result of occupiers having access to natural light. These improvements become all the more pronounced when one considers that staff costs generally make up 90% of a businesses’ cost base and accommodation 10%.
‘Views Out’ is defined by BREEAM as occupiers within 7 metres of a window and BREEAM provides a credit if 80% of occupiers of an office building are within 7 metres of a window. On both No.4 and No.5 JIFC, 100% of the occupiers will be within 7 metres of a window.
Furthermore, the buildings will also provide occupiers with highly flexible and efficient accommodation as a result of regular shaped and column free floor plates. The design and specification of the JIFC buildings are in line with leading global financial services centres. Occupiers are looking for efficiencies and these buildings will provide occupancy densities that will allow them to reduce their accommodation footprint and operate in a more efficient and cost effective manner.