- RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
Overbury undertook the fit-out of global architecture firm HOK’s London offices in the new Qube building in London. The office space, designed by HOK for its own use, is part of a global office expansion that will see all of its international business hubs LEED accredited. The London office earned LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) Gold certification, the first office space in the United Kingdom to achieve this distinction from the U.S. Green Building Council.
As architects, HOK recognise that the built environment has a profound affect on people’s lives. The open-plan interior layout incorporates numerous breakout and conference areas, creating an inspiring and collaborative environment that enables staff to work flexibly.
Overbury’s building services team faced considerable challenges in ensuring that the fully air-conditioned office space was as energy efficient and comfortable to work in as possible. The lighting is controlled by both movement and daylight sensors to ensure no lamp is left on when not required. The architect’s model-making room features its own special extract system to deal with noxious fumes and the entire office is fitted with air quality sensors, which activate alarms and dampers if the CO2 levels rise above a LEED prescribed level. Finally, when all of the equipment was installed, Overbury’s building services manager adopted the role of commissioning manager to check the correct operation of all the mechanical and electrical plant and ensure that it performed to the energy efficient standards specified by the client and LEED. This involved checking every aspect of the installation to make sure it was running at its optimum in terms of energy efficiency and environmental performance.
The hardest challenge that the Overbury project team faced was demonstrating the sustainable procurement and environmental status of the materials and products used, in a way that satisfies the stringent standards of the US-formulated LEED accreditation system. The US-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED) green building certification system involves a different set of criteria than the BREEAM environmental rating system, which is more commonly used in the UK, and the method by which targets were met was also very different. For example, the project team comwere being asked to obtain levels of refrigerant types in air conditioning units and prove the chemical compounds of glues used by manufacturers on their products. As a result, Overbury and all of its sub-contractors had to work together to collect and collate a large amount of data from suppliers and manufacturers to satisfy the documentation requirements of LEED.
"Everyone has worked tremendously well as a team. The complete supply chain has bent over backwards to ensure we met the client’s Gold target."Neil Chappell
Project manager, Overbury