Friday, February 8, 2013

Trouble At The Beeb's New HQ

Further to my earlier post about the meeting rooms and other facilities at the BBC’s new headquarters building, I note with interest this article in today’s edition of Broadcast magazine: 

More microwaves and meeting rooms: BBC reacts to NBH complaints 

8 February, 2013 

By Balihar Khalsa 

Additional meeting rooms are being installed on the sixth floor of the BBC’s New Broadcasting House, as part of a number of changes that have been made to the corporation’s new building. 

The new meeting rooms as intended to provide extra private space for BBC Vision management, and are one of a range of changes being made following feedback from BBC staff now based at New Broadcasting House. Complaints have included difficulties around hot desking and poor quality catering, plus overcrowded lifts and an insufficient number of microwaves. 

One source said: “The hot desking has been ruthlessly enforced. You cannot create a space that is your own. And most people are used to being able to finding meeting space for 15-20 people and that has been difficult in the new building.” 

Andy Griffee, project director of W1, New Broadcasting House’s other name, said one of the main drivers was getting value for money from the building. 

“We are 90% full and we have eight weeks to go before the end of the project. By that stage we will have moved 6,000 people from seven different buildings. 

“Across the building as a whole we are working to a target of 15 people to 10 desks, but it varies in some places we would have a ratio of 10 desks to 30 people. 

“I do not believe anyone has had a problem finding somewhere to work. If you take into account people being away on holiday, filming or who are off sick then it would be very wasteful to work on the basis of having one desk to one person.” 

Meeting rooms 

Griffee said there were 56 meeting room of different sizes that anyone could book, as well as additional spaces where people can have “semi-private” meetings without booking. 

“In regards to the sixth floor there was a fairly late decision at the end of 2011 to respond to the additional savings [DQF] needed. One of the ideas was to accelerate the exit from W12 and moving BBC Vision to W1 was one of the ways of doing that. BBC Vision factual, scheduling and commissioning are now going to be based there and it meant we have had to change the design of the 6th floor to accommodate them”, Griffee continued. 

He admitted that the planning team had underestimated the number of microwaves needed, which was the point that staff had been most vocal in their feedback. There are now 14 microwaves instead of six and catering opening times and quality has been improved as more people are working in the building overnight. 

Information about where lifts are located around the building has also been circulated, so the central eight lifts are not as busy during peak times. 

Griffee said the move was expected to finish on time and under budget

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