Written by Munish Datta, Head of Facilities Management and Plan A at Marks & Spencer and Judge of the Building Performance Awards 2015.
When I reflect back on the night Marks & Spencer Cheshire Oaks was announced as a winner at the 2014 awards, I am overcome by a great sense of pride, elation and gratitude. Proud that the project topped such a high calibre shortlist, overjoyed that our efforts were recognised and grateful for this very meaningful honour.
For us, this accolade is significant as it recognised the building’s actual operational performance, and in doing so the very reason why we built it in the way we did. Two years since Cheshire Oaks opened to the public, it continues to exceed our expectations in terms of environmental performance, users continue to express high levels of satisfaction and it has become an iconic benchmark against which we measure our global property estate. It has inspired us to try and replicate its success in our existing and new properties, from Heswall to Hyderabad.
The legacy of Cheshire Oaks lives on in our teams as we look to extend Plan A further to new levels, in new areas, across the M&S global property estate. We are retrofitting its most successful features into our existing buildings and deploying post occupancy evaluations in new buildings. We are striving to achieve a better balance of effort in the design, construction and operation of our buildings. This is a challenge not just for us, it’s one of the biggest for the building industry and one that the CIBSE building performance awards are helping raise awareness about.
The success of Cheshire Oaks is a great compliment to its design, construction and maintenance teams and their investment in leaving a legacy that goes beyond their responsibility, bringing comfort and efficiency to users for the buildings entire life. This ‘operational use legacy’ is exactly the kind of thinking that, as a judge, I will be looking for from entries in the 2015 awards. For me, winning buildings will live up to leaving a legacy of operational excellence and not failed design and construction promises.
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For more information about the Building Performance Awards 2015 visit www.cibse.org/bpa