EC Harris’ Simon Rawlinson looks ahead to this year’s British Council for Office’s conference and the 240-mile cycle ride to get there

Simon Rawlinson

It’s BCO week and by Thursday, the great and good of commercial property and construction will have descended on Manchester for this year’s conference.

We have pulled together a team of bloggers to keep you in the loop on all BCO news, announcements and issues as they unfold. Simon Rawlinson is one of 42 cyclists who have set off from London on a sponsored 240-mile ride to Manchester to arrive at BCO on Wednesday, raising money for children’s hospice Francis House. Today, he shares his views on what’s in store at this year’s conference.

Simon Rawlinson, head of strategic research at EC Harris

This years’ BCO conference is themed the Phoenix Effect. Competing cities, landlords and tenants and inevitably money are the focus of the main plenaries.

As a delegate I’m hoping for insight into how our industry is adapting to the continuing challenges of demanding occupiers and fragile markets. As the chair of a seminar I’m anticipating a lively debate and plenty of audience participation.

I’m looking forward to the opening session - examining a wide range of themes associated with regeneration - planning and politics to name but two which combine to influence whether a city can succeed and grow. With some growth occurring outside of the traditional office locations, does the property industry have a role in promoting growth? Insights on how tenants and landlords can work together to enable development to be funded should deliver immediately applicable insight.

No BCO conference is complete without its’ tours and there has been huge interest in MediaCityUK - possibly the ultimate TMT development, and the Co-operative Group’s Noma - what promises to be an inspiring example of high organisational values can be embodied in a bespoke, high-performance development.

It’s not just about new build and in a city with a proud industrial and post-industrial past, there is a strong focus on performance of existing buildings, and emerging refurbishment trends - in tours and seminars.

No conference is without it’s networking opportunities and this year’s inaugural cycle-ride has proved to be as popular as the golf. It’s a great route and with the weather looking as uncertain as economic recovery, sponsorship will be certainly be well-earned. I’ll let you know how we get on.