CHAIRMAN'S OVERVIEW

The large number of schemes submitted for this year's BCO Awards shows development is not dead. But perhaps more telling was the wide variety, reflecting a satisfying ingenuity in meeting a wide range of demands and budgets.

People have overtaken bricks and glass as the prime directive, and the first design demand is now to attract and hold skilled staff. At one extreme, that involves vibrant spaces geared to interactive teams or fast-moving mobile workers dipping into touch-down desks. At the other are calming, informal, breakout areas to relax or work quietly.

Some of this year's entries were too eager to be different; some just tried too hard. The best are always the simplest.

This year's entries show an increasing understanding of open-plan office working, touchdown space, hotelling, reverse hotelling, breakout space, cost-in-use and flexibility. But designs must be adaptable to a way of working and to an ever-changing market.

Buildings are increasingly being used to change company cultures and our Award winners show there are many different ways to achieve this. The enthusiasm of occupiers shines through in the way businesses have been re-energised. Buildings that do not perform will be cast aside like last year's fashions. The short lease has become an open door to the unhappy occupier.

The BCO Awards bring together a raft of new thinking and we can all learn from the good, the bad and the ugly.